Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Typical recruiters recruit. Great recruiters support

UK businesses are currently experiencing an incredibly challenging period.

With unemployment currently sitting at 3.6% - its lowest rate since 1974 – the pool of top talent in the jobs market has dried up, leaving many organisations with important, highly-skilled positions unfilled.

Given the struggle to hire the right people – even though the number of job vacancies in May to July 2022 was 1.274 million – CEOs and HR departments can no longer rely on taking a ‘post and pray’ approach to sharing LinkedIn job ads. Being a people-centric process, recruitment has become more important than ever. This is largely because traditional recruitment is able do what LinkedIn and other software tools cannot – namely, it can adequately and accurately assess an individual’s fit within a job, team, or company, not only from a skills perspective, but a cultural one as well.

In this sense, recruiters have firmly established themselves as a critical of company’s success in the race for top talent. However, for many companies, recruitment can be an arduous and frustrating process, especially if their time to search for top quality candidates is particularly limited. This is why bosses will employ the services of a recruitment agency, so as to remove the stresses and strains of the hiring process.

Working with a recruitment agency can prove extremely valuable, but many bosses can be hesitant, wrongly believing that they can save money by doing it themselves, or that recruiters couldn’t possibly understand their hiring needs better than they do. This belief is often born from the misconception that recruiters are more preoccupied with collecting their own pay cheque than they are with offering their full support to clients.

Of course, this may be true of some recruiters – after all, not all are going to be perfect and there will always be a small minority who are connecting clients and candidates without any consideration for the needs of either. With KPIs to hit and quick commission to make, these recruiters will do the bare minimum to justify their fees, giving little thought to the quality of the candidates they are sourcing.

Building relationships that stand the test of time

What sets great recruiters apart from those who are merely taking this ‘by numbers’ approach to recruitment is their willingness to go the extra mile for their clients because they have a genuine passion for what they do.

Money is, of course, a clear incentive to pursue a career in the industry, given the opportunities to earn commission. However, those who are motivated purely by money, with no other motivations, are liable to stick out like a sore thumb, and their lack of care is likely to discourage would-be clients from working with them.

Recruiters who can demonstrate to clients that they are authentic in their desire to support them, however, will reap the rewards of their commitment.

That’s because being a successful recruiter hinges heavily on your ability to build a lasting rapport with clients. As their needs are liable to change over time, maintaining a strong relationship helps to keep you fresh in their minds, and makes you more likely to be their first port of call next time they’re looking to hire. With so many other recruiters out there ready to swipe your clients from you, being able to cultivate valuable relationships that will stand the test of time is absolutely crucial to your success in the industry. And the same goes for building relationships with candidates. Placing the right person is not a one-hit-wonder type business – that person may well advance to become a decision-maker themselves; someone who you don’t place will be more likely to come back to you next time they’re looking – but only if you’ve put in that time and effort.

It is highly unlikely that such relationships will develop overnight – no short amount of sweat and hard work must go into honing your craft. That means taking the time to get to know your clients and their business. Sure, clients buy into bubbly and enthusiastic personalities, but they also want to feel that they can rely upon you to pick up the phone at a moment’s notice. As some may be operating overseas and in different time zones, this could mean putting in the extra hours to talk at a time that work’s best for your client, rather than sticking firmly to a typical nine-to-five routine.

Quality over quantity is key

You might be the most affable and dedicated recruiter out there, but the fact of the matter is that the industry is heavily results driven. As such, those who have the ability to secure the best placements for their clients are bound to shine.

This doesn’t mean taking a scattergun approach to finding candidates – naturally, clients want quality over quantity and candidates want to know that they’re being listened to. It is far better to send across one or two exceptional candidates rather than 20 or 30 who are completely unqualified or unsuitable for the role. Indeed, the objective is not to corral as many candidates as you can purely for the sake of it – frankly, anyone could do that. The key is to carefully consider the type of person your client is looking for, and then go and find someone who genuinely fits the bill. After all, if your client is looking for a legal consultant, for example, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll want to hire someone who has no previous experience or knowledge of the sector.

Finding unsuitable candidates is not only a waste of your client’s precious time - it is also a waste of the candidates’ - and good recruiters will want to do the best job possible for everyone involved, not just those who are paying them. That means treating clients and candidates equally and placing the same level of importance in their needs. The very best connections between clients and quality candidates are made by providing the greatest surety of satisfaction from both parties.

Proving the industry’s critics wrong

With a solid understanding of the type of people that their clients are looking for, good recruiters can have confidence in finding candidates who are suitable for the role, and are therefore likely to assist the client in achieving their business goals. By placing the needs of businesses and candidates above all else, recruiters can start to answer some of the industry’s most ardent critics, and present a far more palatable image to prospective clients.