Really great recruiting leaders have a few traits in common, and a few specific tricks for keeping their recruiting teams operating at their most effective.
The challenge to do so is more pressing than ever, with recruiting teams working to fill what is now close to a record amount of open jobs, while also fighting the talent gap.
America had 5.75 million job openings in March. That’s just short of the all-time high, 5.78 million openings, set last July, according Labor Department data published in earlier this year.
“Employers are having a tougher time finding qualified workers,” Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group told CNN.
So how do you produce an awesome recruiting team with the ability to fight this talent gap, fill open roles fast, and impress hiring managers and business leaders every time?
While general leadership rules still apply, here are some recommended leadership tips from the experts – specifically for recruiting and talent acquisition departments.
Remain connected to the process.
Sourcing candidates is a competitive job at the moment, which means acquisition leadership needs to foster a supportive environment so that recruiting teams can flourish under the pressure.
They can do this by remaining connected to the actual recruiting process, according to Jeff Vijungco, VP of Global Talent Acquisition & Development at Adobe.
“Even though things go well 80 percent of the time, 20 percent of the time they don’t” Vijungco told LinkedIn Talent Solutions. “It’s tough when searches don’t go as planned, and I always make a point to understand where my team is coming from.”
Staying connected with the process means that when things go wrong, you can be more informed in figuring out how to fix them.
But being connected to the process doesn’t mean micromanaging. The best leaders can be part of the process in helping to drive a team, while still letting their recruiters take charge in sourcing and finding candidates.
Inspire your team to learn more.
Before managing a recruiting team, one of the things you’ve probably learned as a recruiter is that it’s very important to establish trust with candidates.
Maria Martinez, Chief Human Resources Officer at HSN, encourages her recruiters to learn as much as they possibly can – including inspiring her team on how to get candidates to trust them.
“Recruiting leaders may assume that if positions are being filled according to predetermined ‘time to fill’ metrics, all must be in good shape,” Martinez told Ritika Puri.
“While this is certainly a sign of a healthy recruiting team, I believe that recruiting leaders should ensure that teams are spending time networking, learning, sharing best practices with each other, and creating efficiencies in process.”
Martinez’s number one lesson for her recruiting team is to get their candidates to trust them, but yours might be different.
Every recruiter has had a candidate interaction that helped shape their success – pass that knowledge onto your team and watch them flourish.
Have a AAA approach.
Talent managers can rely on one tried and true leadership approach – AAA. This approach breaks down a leadership strategy into three categories; attributes, association and application.
Attributes like flexibility, commitment, consistency and a strong focus are the general skills that set leaders apart.
This is particularly important when managing recruiting teams, which according to Mike Nale, managing, partner of The Brand Management Group, LLC, are often full of ‘type A’ personalities.
“Type A personalities are highly competitive, so it is important that you develop effective attributes in order to successfully manage your team and common behavior patterns associated with it,” Nale suggests in an article for ERE.
Beyond your own personal attributes, it’s important to create the right environment for your team. Association is the aspect of leadership that allows you to network and communicate with your team effectively and openly. Application is how you apply your systems and skills to achieve success.
Viewing your leadership plan in these three parts will help you build a more effective recruiting engine, and start to close those hard to fill roles that are often business-critical.
Remember that recruiters work for the ‘love’ of their hiring manager.
Recruiters don’t just work for the love of their hiring managers, but impressing the hiring manager with a great candidate is very motivating for a recruiter.
Offering some help facilitating these relationships can drive success. Jeremy Eskenazi, managing principal of Riviera Advisors, Inc., has had some experience doing so.
“I once had a recruiter who worked on my team. She was always dragging her feet on some of the requisitions she had in her portfolio and she wouldn’t be motivated by long “days open” or time-to-hire metrics. Some of her hiring manager clients loved her, while others didn’t,” Eskenazi published in ERE.
After noticing that some hiring managers favored her while others didn’t, Eskenazi noticed that the ones that did like her had taken her into their fold – inviting her to team events, meetings, and keeping her in the loop on projects. He encouraged the hiring managers that didn’t love her to do the same. She gradually built up stronger relationships with them, and then felt more motivated to boost her performance.
By understanding that this recruiter didn’t just work for him, Eskenazi helped to build a more efficient recruiting team – and supported one of his team members in the process.
Help your team ask stakeholders the right questions.
Because of the competition in today’s environment, recruiters need very clear benchmarks in order to identify the right talent. The problem is that the stakeholders in these open roles don’t always know the best way to communicate these benchmarks.
It’s up to the recruiters to ask the right questions. As a recruiting leader, encouraging your recruiters to ask the right questions is key to your team’s success.
Rich Thompson, Chief Human Resources Officer at Adecco, is constantly reminding his team to ask questions.
“It’s very basic, but it goes a long way,” says Thompson. “Recruiting managers need to empower teams to treat every stakeholder conversation as a learning opportunity. Managers can help teams identify the right questions to ask,” Thompson told LinkedIn Talent Solutions.
Asking the right questions isn’t just a mechanism to help your recruiters fill a role faster, but it helps them to grow and learn more about their industry. The bottom line – there are no stupid questions.
There’s a flip-side to this piece of advice – in the event that your recruiters are sending job to search, they need to know how to effectively communicate these benchmarks to their partnering recruitment agencies.
Teaching your recruiting team to effectively communicate these benchmarks, as well as to ask the right questions to obtain them, will ensure a smoothly operating recruiting team, no matter the candidate source.
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