Recruiting Is About More Than Putting Warm Bodies in Desk Chairs

When it comes to recruiting, there's an easy way and a hard way to get the job done.

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The easy way focuses on volume: Place a lot of candidates into jobs for which they are vaguely qualified, kick your feet up, and wait for the money to roll in.

The hard way – and the right way – takes more work: Truly get to know clients and roles, spend time matching the right candidates to the right opportunities, and support candidates and clients in the long term. Recruiters who know the businesses for which they recruit are the ones who thrive in this industry.

"The more a recruiter can understand the kinds of candidates the hiring managers need, the better positioned the recruiter will be to provide feedback when multiple candidates are being considered," says Daisy Hernandez, global vice president, product management, for multinational software corporation SAP.

Do the Legwork

Instead of going off of the information in the job posting alone, quality recruiters talk in depth with managers and team members in order to understand their needs. This enables them to find candidates with the correct skills and culture fit.

"Recruiters should meet with their stakeholders or the lines of business they support and understand the business directives, goals, and initiatives that are important to them," says Hernandez. "Understanding the business needs – and why the department and company are hiring in the first place – is very valuable insight that empowers the recruiter."

When recruiters better understand the big picture, they can better sell the opportunity to prospects. A better understanding of the business and its goals also helps recruiters zero in on candidates with the right skills and experience to really succeed in the role and the organization. The more information a recruiter has, the better equipped they will be to evaluate top candidates and get them into their clients' organizations.

"Recruiters should also sit in department meetings or all-hands meetings to get a sense of how a particular team works in practice," Hernandez says. "They should strive to understand how teams work together and within the larger organization to see how matrixed organizations interact cross-functionally. For example, if a recruiter is hiring for a sales position, how does the sales organization holistically work? How do they communicate? How do they share success and analyze their failures? How does the rest of the organization help the sales team to win deals? Do they come together across team boundaries, or is the representative on their own?"

When recruiters know this kind of information, they can more accurately represent the opportunity to prospects, resulting in better quality hires who truly fit the company's needs and culture.

Streamline the Hiring Process

Before reviewing candidates, recruiters should work with hiring managers to build out interview processes that provide the best experience for both candidates and the managers and employees who have a say in hiring decisions.

"Either directly or indirectly through the hiring manager, recruiters should have a brief discussion with the interviewers to ensure that in addition to assessing the candidate, they are also providing background and information on the role, team, and company," Hernandez says. "For best results, treat interviews as a two-way street. You want the candidate to feel like they are joining the team, not just getting the job."

The recruiting process shouldn't end at the hire. Recruiters should follow new hires through the onboarding process to ensure they have a positive experience that inspires them to work hard for the company.

Stay in Touch

Beyond onboarding, it's important to gather data so that the recruiting and hiring experience can be improved with each new hire.

"The first three months of the job are the most critical, as that is when the employee determines whether or not it's the right fit for them," says Hernandez. "Recruiters should connect the new employee with subject-matter experts as early on as possible so they have the right resources to help them learn about the role, team, and company."

Hernandez also recommends creating online communities where new hires who joined the organization around the same time can come together and share their experiences. In addition to giving new hires support and camaraderie, such communities would also give recruiters insight into how to better prepare future employees.

Recruiters can also choose to network with employees long after the onboarding process is behind them. This can help the recruiter fill roles down the line while aiding the employee's career advancement.

Recruiting isn't just about putting warm bodies in chairs – it's about building relationships and providing positive experiences. If you want to be good at this job, don't just hire people. Instead, become a resource they can use throughout their careers.