What they don’t tell you about recruiting

2018-09-26 | BY Nelya Sheyfer | IN Recruiting

What they don’t tell you about recruiting

Here’s what they never tell you; recruiting is not a numbers game, or a modern matchmaking service, or a sales job. Recruiting, done properly, is a matter of emotional intelligence.

Few people go to school for recruiting – probably because, despite the growing need in our global economy for recruiters, there’s no degree that can teach you how to properly measure a person’s drive, motivation, or potential. The closest such degree would be psychology, or maybe social work: anything that can help clue you into the intellectual drivers for peoples’ behavior.

A person’s resume is only the beginning of the story. It tells you if a candidate has the skills to do the job, without making any judgment about whether they’d excel at it. This is something you have to determine, and it’s an emotional dexterity that is only developed after talking with hundreds – maybe thousands – of job-seekers.

Before becoming a recruiter, here’s what you’ll want to ask yourself:

Do friends come to me for emotional support?

In the world of Search – which, if you’re a non-recruiter, means permanent (as opposed to contract) placements – you are often working with a single candidate for months at a time. Finding a job that perfectly matches someone’s skills and goals is no easy feat, and the length of time devoted to the job search reflects that fact.

Over the course of these months, you quickly become more than a recruiter. You’re a sounding board for the candidate’s anxieties, you’re a receptive ear for their goals, and you become personally invested in their success. With each interview, you prepare them carefully to identify their strengths, re-conceptualize their weaknesses, and overcome their fears.

Your job, essentially, is to be their friend and advocate.

Am I the first choice for life advice?

Though your candidate may be an expert in their field, YOU are an expert at hiring and job searches. What you have to offer is years of experience matching talented people with meaningful careers.

So when a candidate seems dead-set on one career path – but you know, from experience, that other potentially better options exist – it is your responsibility to make them aware of these alternatives. Similarly, when a job-seeker is fixated on a specific salary, it’s important that you contextualize that number within an entire benefits package.

Every scenario is different, but your role remains mostly constant. It is your responsibility to offer your entire knowledge of hiring and negotiating to each candidate, enabling them to make the right choice given their personal career goals.

How well do I know – and sell – my city? 

In the Los Angeles jobs market, moving – either from neighborhood to neighborhood, or state to state – is often necessary. Many of my candidates are out-of-state professionals drawn in by the allure of LA, or else they’re just looking to ease their morning commute by re-locating closer to their place of work.

In these instances, I become to them their boots on the ground. I advise them on the best areas, I research listings, and I help them navigate the complex world of home ownership. As a recruiter, you need to be a real-estate agent, utilities expert, homeowner specialist and city guide. 

For many of my candidates, the move is sudden; they don’t have months to carefully plan and tie up loose ends. No – instead, the company expects them at work in two weeks’ time.

That means we have two weeks to, together, figure out living arrangements, find a moving company, vet various apartments/houses, learn about utilities, etc. It’s a stressful time, and I often have to wear my ‘therapist’ hat to keep things moving smoothly.

Not exactly what you expect when you hear the word ‘recruiter’?
Me neither. But my experience as a pseudo-therapist, advisor, and city-expert has sparked something in me I never previously anticipated – it has made me fearless.

There’s nothing in this world – at least, in the normal, everyday version of it I’m familiar with – that can make me uncomfortable. Through recruiting, I’ve been the person to tell someone their dream job fell through, or their credit check didn’t pass. I’ve dealt with the most awkward conversations, and come out on the other side more empathetic and self-aware. When I started, I was scared of picking up the phone; now I’m scared of virtually nothing.

Looking for your next challenge as a recruiter? Shoot me an email at nsheyfer@provenrecruiting.com to join Proven Recruiting’s dynamic team.



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