The Actions Recruiters Can Take to be Successful

Doug Horn on November 21, 2014 10:13:00 AM EST


While we’ve talked about the 5 traits that every great recruiter possesses and the 3 best tools a recruiter can have, we have yet to discuss the tangible actions that recruiters can take to be successful.

Recruiters, much like salespeople, will have to deal with a fair amount of rejection throughout their careers. Not every passive candidate they engage will want to change jobs, and not every company will want to do business with them. That’s just the nature of the beast. Yet there are very specific steps that can be taken to minimize rejection and ensure success.

While every recruiter will have their own unique way of pitching candidates or conducting business development, they should all find common ground in the steps they take to make sure they exceed expectations.

Below are some of the most important actions that recruiters can take to guarantee success.


They Embrace Multiple Roles

“The most successful recruiters,” according to Carol Schultz of ERE, “are part salesman, career counselor, consultant, advisor, fact finder, archaeologist and shrink.” Recruiters have to be prepared to be whatever they need to be at any given moment for both the candidates they’re trying to place and the companies with positions that need to be filled. In fact, the way a recruiter’s day breaks down, according to Headcount Management’s “A Day in the Life of a Recruiter” survey, shows that recruiters wear many different hats each day. The average recruiter’s workload on any given day consists of 21% client relations, 20% client organization, 18% recruiting employees, 16% employee relations, 16% administrative work, and 9% managing vendors. It is this type of malleability and willingness to embrace multiple responsibilities that enable recruiters to be successful.


They Embrace New Technologies

The death of the agency recruiter, as it turns out, has been greatly exaggerated. When job boards burst onto the scene, many figured the days of paying recruiters placement fees were over. Yet the quantity of applications from these platforms did not necessarily translate to quality. Only 17% of recruiters surveyed by Software Advice, an online resource for recruiting technology, said CareerBuilder offers “high-quality” job candidates, and a measly 13% said the same about Indeed.


Next, the rise of LinkedIn caused many to once again doubt the future of third-party recruiters, especially since 40% of recruiters said LinkedIn offers “high-quality” job candidates in that very same survey. With jobseekers so easily available to a company’s internal recruiters, a third-party agency’s value prop would have to be very strong to get their foot in the door. And yet, third-party agency recruiters are still going strong. LinkedIn has only helped them in their quest to find talented candidates, not superseded them. It is exactly this type of ability to evolve and embrace technologies that were supposed to replace them that has allowed agency recruiters to persist.



They Communicate

Not only are recruiters expected to keep lines of communication open with their candidates, they need to be constantly speaking with the companies for which they’re doing the recruiting. If a recruiter suddenly goes dark, the candidates and the companies he is responsible for take the hit, and animosity builds. The 2013 Opportunities in Staffing study found that the top complaint candidates have about third-party agencies was “too slow responding to calls and emails.” Additionally, 50% of all clients said “responsiveness” is what they value most in a third-party agency. The best recruiters will keep all relevant parties updated about the most recent goings-on, and consistently keep lines of communication open.


Not everyone has the skills it takes to be a recruiter. There is a certain type of flexibility, a “roll with the punches” type attitude that allows certain people to succeed in the world of recruiting. Even if another technology comes out that spells the end of recruiters, they likely won’t be going anywhere soon. They’re a resilient bunch with abilities that have been honed over a lifetime, and it’s that sort of resiliency that ensures they’ll be successful moving forward.