Set up strong calling cycles
Recruiters should get into the habit of staying in touch with candidates by setting reminders to call them regularly, such as every 30, 60 or 90 days, says Stephanie Iafigliola, Regional Talent Development Manager – Asia Pacific at the PageGroup.
“If we don’t have anything for a candidate at that time for whatever reason then we ask all of our consultants to have a calling cycle. What that means is they would leverage their CRM or leverage their very basic calendar and put in reminders to be able to call that candidate 30 days later,” she says.
“They really stay in contact with existing candidates to build that trust, to build that network, to build that relationship.”
Iafigliola cites research that shows if consultants have one interaction with a client or a candidate, there’s limited mutual respect and trust and only limited information that people will reveal during their conversations.
Make the most out of interactions
While it is true that meeting a candidate is ultimately about placing them and earning money for the agency, Iafigliola says there are instances when recruiters are so driven by that ambition that they miss out of other opportunities.
The same thing can happen with client meetings.
Iafigliola says recruiters should try to make the most out of interactions with clients and candidates, by setting multiple goals for the meeting.
For instance, the first priority from a client meeting might be to get a vacancy, but a secondary goal could be to offer a temp solution, or perhaps the recruiter might notice that the client isn’t happy in their role and so might be a potential candidate.
Ask lots of questions
Recruiters should get into the habit of asking lots of questions of candidates and clients to get a full understanding of their needs, says Nicole Gorton, Sydney-based director of Robert Half.
“Questioning is critical, it’s best-practice,” she says. “The more you understand a candidate and their skills and motivations, the better you are positioned then to find the next career move.”
It is important to dig deeper and ask questions such as ‘Explain that to me more’, and ‘What made you choose that company?’ or, ‘Why do you do it that way?’
Many recruiters live in what Gordon calls ‘Assumption Land’.
“Take away the assumptions to truly understand your candidates,” she says.
On the client side, recruiters should be asking about the company, their current situation, and their future plans, including changes and growth. “It’s taking it from face value to a whole other level which is asking the ‘why’ around that,” she says.
Structure your day
“Structure is probably one of the biggest, most critical elements to being a successful and good recruiter,” says Ella Thomson, senior manager for the business support and operations team at Robert Walters in Adelaide.
“That structure consists of understanding your diary in advance – knowing what your plan for the day and structure of your day is going to look like before you actually rock up that day.”
Recruiters should get into the habit of prioritising their day the previous evening, before they leave work, or coming in a little early to do it.
That way, if something unexpected comes up, such as a sick staff member or an email that needs an urgent response, the recruiter can fall back on their to-do list and reprioritise their day.
Thomson said she had spent the morning doing some of the work for a colleague who was on leave, “but, knowing my structure, I know what are my critical and urgent tasks today that I’ll be able to move to make sure I identify them this afternoon. This evening, I can then set those other tasks into tomorrow’s to-do list”.
Be open to networking opportunities
Recruiters should always try to make themselves available for networking opportunities, says Thomson.
“It’s having an attitude of it’s not always about what’s in it for me; it’s also about, when you’re dealing with certain stakeholders – whether that be internally or externally – it’s thinking about ‘who do I know in my network that would really benefit from knowing you?’,” she says.
“That might not necessarily, at the end of the day, have any direct relevance to yourself from a recruitment point of view but it’s incredible how, just in the Adelaide market, connecting people that you know with each other can create a drive for the networking opportunities because you see in return it comes back to you.”
Thompson says she takes the view that “conversation creates opportunity”.