Liz Ryan 16 Feb 2016 Viewed 673 Times Viewed by 463 people

I don’t know if it was ever easy to be a recruiter but it is certainly harder now. Employers are hiring but department managers can be very unrealistic in their expectations. Nobody wants to say to an eager department manager “I will find you someone fantastic, but we have to get rid of half these unnecessary Essential Requirements.”

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Department managers want what they want, but you will not succeed as a recruiter unless you find your voice and tell the manager when his or her requirements are unreasonable. That is a much better process than to post job ads and try to find people with all of the goofy requirements listed in the ad. You’ll fail and managers will get frustrated with you.

If there’s going to be a potentially sticky or awkward conversation about what’s reasonable in a job ad, why delay it?

One important way to be a better recruiter in 2016 is to tell the truth to department managers and to candidates. Here are some of the things it can be hard to be completely truthful about when you’re talking with job candidates:

  • It can be hard to talk about money.
  • It can be awkward to answer the candidate’s questions about the job, which can sometimes be very detailed.
  • It can be tough to tell the candidate why it’s taking so long to hear back from a hiring manager.

Everybody is overworked. It would be great if candidates and managers understood how hard you work and could take your heavy workload into account, but they won’t do that unless you fill them in and educate them.

If your job involves contacting candidates who haven’t reached out to you or to your firm, it’s important to remember that you are intruding on a busy person’s day and life. They have a lot of other things to do besides taking your call. The rule to remember in this situation is the Happy Life Rule, which goes like this:

The candidate you approach is already living a happy and fulfilled life without benefit of knowing you. You may feel that you have the greatest job opportunity in the world to offer this candidate, but he or she is in the driver’s seat, because you reached out to him or her. You have to sell the candidate on talking with you before anything else can happen.

In the old days, candidates would drop everything when a recruiter called them, but not now! The more marketable the candidate is, the less your pitch will interest him or her if you make the traditional “Have I got a job for you!” appeal. They’ve heard it all before. You have to sell the candidate on investing the time to talk with you in the first place, before you say Word One about the job opportunity.

The worst thing you can do when reaching out to a candidate you don’t already know is to start interviewing him or her then and there in your first conversation, by asking interview-type questions about the candidate’s background.

The candidate has no reason to answer your questions at that stage. You haven’t earned the right to ask questions yet! Here’s how you can approach candidates respectfully in an initial phone call.

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