New recruiters are always worried about their technique, skills, how they come across, and whether they’re doing things right. They obsess about everything related to THEIR performance and credibility. Once one learns the recruiting process and has discovered the power of asking questions and listening, she’s on her way to making placements. In the beginning it’s important to focus on the details of every word that leaves your lips. New habits form quickly and exact wording is crucial to our success.
Our expertise is woven from our experiences.
Words can be cruel and disheartening, so choose wisely. Part of our recruiting duty is to tell good people they’re not going to get an interview or an offer. Be factual and firm but kind.
“While your background is impressive, your skill sets do not match what my client requires at the moment. When I come across a position that incorporates your experience and meets your career aspirations, I’ll be back in touch.”
We have a job to do and people appreciate the truth even if it’s disappointing. A response like this is concise yet leaves us on good terms. Six months later when we call the candidate back to discuss a new opportunity, he will be receptive.
When we handle all phases of the recruiting process efficiently, no one feels his/her time has been wasted. All parties feel respected and valued. Surprisingly, later conversations take on a friendly and familiar tone. You are colleagues and your professionalism does not need to be reestablished.
Choose words and phrases carefully
The words we choose must accomplish what we wish, which is to move the process forward or shut down a candidate or client who is not sincere. When people are ambivalent, they give mixed messages. We all do. Our job as a headhunter is to stay on track so we serve our corporate clients well. Everything we do is centered around how we communicate. Review and revise statements that don't work.
Word choice and phrasing should be clear and concise.
Check for understanding often. Recruiting conversations are not typical conversations. We have benchmarks to meet as we qualify candidates, prepare employers, coordinate interviews, and manage offers and negotiations to the desired conclusion.
We must be truthful and tactful. Changing jobs can be stressful and emotional for all parties involved. We are at the center of the process and those we work with look to us for guidance along the way. Our confidence and calm is reassuring. Our demeanor creates trust. We want to know what’s on everyone’s mind. When all sides are noisy, voicing ideas and opinions, this is a good sign we’re doing our job.
Don’t underestimate your ability to influence an outcome.
Use your power wisely and responsibly. People process information in different ways. Don’t take a person’s reaction personally. Consider outbursts to be a reactionary style. Remain detached. Sometimes our ‘facts’ are based solely on our experience however that does not diminish the relevance of our input. What we’ve witnessed over hundreds of successful outcomes is significant.
When we question and challenge a client or candidate who has lost site of their own objectives, we help the process by bringing the party back on track to what they have defined is their desired result. We manage by asking questions.
Speak the truth.
Part of being a great recruiter is telling the truth, which we all know can be uncomfortable at times. Truthfulness creates trust and tells the folks we’re dealing with we’re committed to doing the right thing, not the easy thing. Truth is a sign of character and leadership. Stand your ground. Ask questions until you fully understand what’s at the heart of each participant’s behavior and motivation to act.
If a candidate’s salary expectations are unrealistic, be direct. Remind him of benefits, or solutions to issues he stated mattered to him personally. Early on in the process, great recruiters uncover the key factors that matter to a candidate. If money is the single most important motivation for a candidate to make a move, you’re in trouble. Personally, if money is the primary motivation of a candidate, I’d shut down the conversation within five minutes.
During emotionally charged decisions, and changing jobs is near the top of big decisions, people can be hyper sensitive. Use that to your advantage by voicing information that may not be welcome. Speak slowly and clearly because your words will be repeated inside the listener’s head, often multiple times.
We all want to do what’s best for our family, our career, and our well-being. As headhunters we play a big part in satisfying, profitable matches between clients and candidates. Recruiting is richly rewarding emotionally, intellectually, and financially and your influence begins with solid recruiter training.
by Kimberly Schenk, Executive Recruiter, Trainer, and Author