7 things successful recruiters do in their first year
You’ve just accepted a new job as a recruiter. Great! You’ve heard the stories of earning $100k+ in your first year and you’re looking forward to leveraging your social skills in a high-stakes environment. Yes, you have a lot to learn, but there’s no reason to doubt your own abilities.
That is, until you start calling people. After the hundredth unanswered phone call and reaching the end of the internet, the dream of building your own book of business starts to fade.
What is it that your successful colleagues are doing that you’re not?
Here’s the secret – they don’t have any special technical skills or talents that you don’t. They’ve just learned how to master the game, and you can too. This is what you need to do:
1. Own your work + get $hit done
If you come from a sales background, this concept should be nothing new. You alone are responsible for your success. Your firm exists to support your efforts – not to hold your hand every step of the way. Put yourself in your clients’ and candidates’ shoes, add value, be different and get to work.
The quickest way to make $hit happen? Spend less time with clients who are not responding and roles that are receiving limited feedback from hiring managers. Shift your focus to what’s most likely to close in the next 30 days. You can easily spot these ‘hot’ job orders by asking yourself the following:
- Do you have direct access to the hiring manager? Have you met with them?
- Is the hiring manager offering good feedback in 24 hours or less?
- Is the company committed to hiring and starting the new job seeker in the next 30 days or less?
- Have you successfully connected people with jobs at this company before?
2. Adopt a ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ mindset
Humans are naturally risk averse, which causes us to double and triple think even inconsequential behaviors – especially behaviors that might possibly bring our social status into question.
But put things into perspective: nothing you do today is likely to have a lasting, negative effect on your job or your company. Embarrassing yourself, not filling the job, losing a candidate – it’s not the end of the world. You won’t remember it a year from now. And every time you take a risk, you also risk being successful.
Stop worrying about alternate scenarios, stumbling over your words, or appearing ignorant, and instead act with conviction. Be decisive: pick up the phone, make the calls, and do what you need to do. Time spent questioning your every move is time wasted.
3. Get deliberate practice
The best way to learn is not to spend unnecessary time formulating a detailed plan – but to make a plan based on making mistakes and experience. And there’s only one way to get experience.
Once you’ve accepted and (to the best of your ability) moved past your fear of failure, it’s time to get some deliberate practice. If you’re not keeping tabs on your successes and failures, you’re not really learning. You’re just starting from square one over and over.
Keep track of your various InMail and Voicemail tactics, focusing on what gets the most responses. Over time you’ll zero-in on a specific, replicable process.
4. Spend less time on…
If you’re coming in to recruiting blind, organizing and applying your time can pose a unique challenge. After the first few months you’ll feel overworked and under-productive, without a clue as to how you could possibly be doing more – you’re already working 60+ hours a week.
What you need is a loose breakdown of how much time your tasks ought to take. That way you’ll know if you’re devoting way too much time to one thing and not enough time to another. An imbalance in time management can make or break your recruiting career. Here are some rough estimates to get you started:
- Client research: 5 minutes per client
- Sourcing: This will depend on the complexity of the job, the strength of your pipeline, etc.
- Reference checks: 20 minutes per reference
- Pre-screens/Interviews: 30 – 60 minutes depending on level/complexity
- Preparing your candidates: 30 minutes per preparation
- Write-ups/submittals: 15 minutes per write-up
If you’re spending significantly more time on one element of the job, you need to take a deep look at your method and figure out how to streamline your conversations. In total you should be working a minimum of 50 hours a week, if not closer to 60.
5. HR isn’t the only option
This might be a touchy topic, especially in light of our recent article on HR vs. Agency Recruiters. But to be clear, we’re not saying that HR should be totally circumvented. What we suggest is going to the source and building a relationship with the hiring manager FIRST.
Then, once you’ve gained a good understanding of the job, the team, and the industry, go to HR and begin strengthening your relationship there.
We know that you don’t want to appear aggressive or pushy, but HR is unlikely to advocate for you in the beginning. Until you’ve established a positive relationship, they’ll see you as the competition. And who can blame them?
6. No means not yet
Next time someone ignores your calls and emails, ask yourself – why should they respond to me? What am I offering that’s of value to this person? What, exactly, would have to be different to make this story a success?
Successful recruiters undergo this exact mindset shift. ‘No’ shouldn’t discourage you or make you feel less than. ‘No’ is an opportunity. It may take days, weeks, months, sometimes years to turn that ‘no’ to a ‘yes.’ Some relationships – especially client relationships – require a longview, and that’s okay. Just don’t take no at face value.
7. Reflect on why you’re here
Are you doing this job to help your parents, buy a house, travel the world, to pay off your debts? What has driven you to pursue this path? Reflecting on your motivations will help refocus your priorities and ease your decision-making anxiety. Trust in the process and let your long term goals guide you, even when it gets tough.
If you can’t provide a satisfying ‘why,’ then maybe it’s time to either 1. Devote more time to considering your goals and aspirations or 2. Try something new! Recruiting certainly isn’t for everyone, and if you’re wavering now it could be a sign of a deeper discontent.
Adjusting to the recruiter lifestyle is a universal struggle. It took me nearly 5 months before making my first placement. But there are strategies you can adopt and tactics you can apply to make your life a lot easier.
Let us know what works for you! Or, better yet, come join our team if you think you have what it takes. Apply here!