- Network, network, network! The single most important thing for a recruiter is to network. Do this every day, and not just on social media sites. Take time out of your day to call people who have an interesting or impressive background. Even if you don’t have anything for them. You may one day have the perfect position for them or they may have referrals for you for your current openings. After the first call, follow up. Stay in touch. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the current hottest position you are working on and be very near-sighted but wouldn’t you rather get a new position and know right away of a few people you can call?
- Find a Mentor.When I first started recruiting, I was lucky enough to have a great mentor. I listened to her making calls, conducting interviews, interacting with clients etc. She took time in training me, supporting me and believing in me. She taught me all she knew, and although she is not a colleague of mine any more, we still collaborate on a professional level (and on a personal level, she is a great friend of mine). This is a necessity for any new recruiter. If your company doesn't provide you with a mentor, there is bound to be someone who would be happy to help you, so reach out.
- You can recruit any profile. Don’t get too wrapped up in the technology or skill set. If you have never heard of the technology, do a quick search online to make sure you know what you’re looking for. But the best way to really learn about a new skill that you don’t quite understand is to ask the candidates you're calling. Who better? They live the technology every day and if they can explain it to you in a way that you understand, it will also ensure that they are truly an expert.
- Get on the phone!Those first few calls can be a little scary. You aren’t confident that you will know what to say or how to answer their questions. At first, you may want to make a document with all of the important information you should gather from each candidate you speak with (what they’re looking for, what they did and why they left their last few positions, pay history, commute, etc) so you don’t miss anything. Remember that if someone is looking for a job, they will be happy to hear from a recruiter. Don’t spend too long analyzing a resume because you aren’t sure if they’re a fit, call them! Ask them! They will tell you if they have the skills to do the job or not. Pick up the phone!
- Learn by doing.If you are lucky enough to be in a company that gives you the possibility to train and try things out – take advantage of this! As with most careers, the best way to learn is by doing. Don’t worry if you make a few mistakes in the beginning, from the mistakes you will learn – and trust me you will never make the same mistake twice. So don’t be afraid, but take the leap and start being a recruiter.
- Find your own style. Everyone has to know their own personality and will have a different way of recruiting. Don’t script it too much because you will end up sounding practiced and impersonal. When leaving a voicemail for example, ask yourself why you are calling this candidate. Do they have a skill set that you have a job for? A certification that is really impressive? You see that they just ended a position and want to find out what they are looking for? Whatever it is, use that in your voice mail in your own voice. Be genuine and be yourself.
- Follow up.The number one complaint about recruiters is that they call and tell candidates about this awesome new position, get them excited about it, tell them they’re submitting their resume and are never heard from again. I’m going to be honest and admit that I have also been guilty of this. It’s a huge mistake and a lesson I had to learn quickly. Make it a point to call the candidate and tell them as soon as you have any updates. Even if you haven’t heard anything and especially if the position was cancelled or they were disqualified. It can just be a call at the end of the week to tell them that you haven’t heard. They will appreciate the follow up regardless of if it's good, bad or no news.
- Don’t take it personally.In this industry there are going to highs and lows. There are going to be days or even weeks where you are on top of the world; you are finding the best candidates for the positions and you are putting people to work. It’s an amazing feeling! But there are also going to be times where you can’t seem to find anyone for the positions you have, or when you have found the right person in the end they don’t accept the position. Don’t take any of it personally. Remember why you are in the business of recruiting and that your job is to help your clients fill a need. You are in the business of people and people can change their minds. Just move forward and do what you can.