There is no doubt that the recruitment sector plays a prominent role in our economy. There are an estimated 8,000 + recruitment businesses operating in the UK currently. Recent research has shown that there was a 2.9% rise in the number of people employed within this industry in the last year and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) predicts a 9% rise in the total industry turnover in 2015/16.
So with more and more people employed in the industry, what are the essential skills that build the foundations of a modern recruiter?
Principle and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte, Josh Bersin believes that a modern recruiter “must be a marketer, sales person, career coach, and psychologist all in one.” This epitomises the increasingly common mindset that there is an expectation that an effective modern recruiter needs to be many things all in one.
Arguably, the modern recruiter needs to adopt two important, but often perceived as opposing, sets of character traits; one routed in ‘art’ and the other in ‘science’.
The art behind a modern recruiter
So before we put on our white coat and get out the magnifying glass, what is involved in the more ‘artistic’ or ‘fluffy’ side of being a modern recruiter?
- Think like a marketer. Marketing is a central influence throughout all our lives. We are all exposed to it constantly. At its core, marketing is about understanding the needs and wants of your target audience and satisfying them. The modern marketer needs to understand their client and engage them in a way that is significant and effective. Creating stories, crafting copy and communicating meaningfully, requires creative thinking and innovative implementation.
- Sales – is it an art or a science? There are strong arguments for both. We’ve erred on the side of arts because anyone who has experienced a great sales person will appreciate what an art form it can be. Sales skills, as you would expect, are vital for any modern recruiter. Selling yourself to clients and roles to candidates, in a way that doesn’t make you come off like the stereotypical ‘used-car salesmen’, is critical.
- A social chameleon. A slightly unusual trait you might think, but one that is essential for modern recruiters. Having the ability and confidence to engage with all types of personality, in all types of scenario, is an invaluable tool for the modern marketer. In these globally connected times, you will be exposed to all different manner of cultures, nationalities, languages, interests and customs. You need to be able to navigate through this eclectic social landscape and make meaningful connections.
The science of the modern recruiter
Enough of the fluffy stuff you might say, it is time to get more analytical and explore the more ‘scientific’ elements that are incorporated into the modern recruiters day.
- Research keeps you ahead of the game. Nowadays, with the amount of competition across the industry, ever modern recruiter is looking for what will give them that edge. We say: ‘Research, Research, Research!’ Don’t rely on assumptions you’ve made. Research your competition, industry trends, job roles, potential clients, candidates, new technologies and more. Do it methodically and thoroughly and never rest on your laurels. Things change so quickly these days, so ensure that research is a constant activity on your agenda.
- Embrace new technology. There is no end to new apps, websites, platforms, cloud-based tools and analytics coming onto the recruitment market. It can feel overwhelming the amount of data we now have access to. Instead of ignoring these developments, the modern recruiter needs to embrace them and quickly identify what is worth investing time and money in and what is just a passing fad, soon to be forgotten. Those that placed LinkedIn all those years ago in the ‘Passing Fad’ category should quickly reassess the criteria they use to do this! Developments like social media and the internet before it (yes it hasn’t always existed believe it or not!) continue to change the face of the industry and there will no doubt be something along soon enough that will represent a further new epoch for recruiters. Make sure you are ready and open-minded for when the time comes.
Shedding light on what a modern recruiter really means, the Managing Editor of recruitingblog.com, Matt Chamey says “To me, being a modern recruiter means being a business generalist, not a functional specialist. It’s no longer about matching candidates to jobs – it’s about aligning your talent and organizational strategic objectives to ensure your employer recruits and retains the talent necessary to stay competitive”.
All the indications show that the modern recruiter needs to be open-minded and comfortable wearing many hats. If you have a taste for hats, then the modern recruitment industry might just be for you.