Executive Recruiting (Headhunting) is a great profession. Full cycle recruiting is challenging. There's more risk involved when one works on commission. Headhunters also enjoy flexible schedules, and high incomes.
For years I've pondered the question: Why is the turnover rate so high in recruiting? Rather than a complex discourse on turnover, here's my advice on how to be a successful Recruiter.
- Be prepared
- Develop useful skill sets
- Balance and pacing
How does one prepare for a recruiting position? 1. Get some training before beginning. Know the placement process. Recruiters get phone calls all day long. You'll talk to folks at every stage of the process. To get your bearings quickly you'll ask a few questions. The answers will tell you where you are in the process and how to proceed to the next step.
Many recruiting firms' still place new recruiters at a desk and let them sink or swim. If you're thinking of joining a recruiting firm and the extent of their training program involves 'on-the-job' lessons, walk out. That outdated, irresponsible set-up dooms 99 out of 100 people to fail.
Develop useful skill sets. Recruiters manage the placement process with questions. Information is the currency of our trade. Develop interviewing skills, sales skills, and strategic thinking. All will serve you well. As you evolve you'll save incredible amounts of time by working smarter. You'll ask fewer questions and get more information. You'll eliminate unqualified candidates sooner. You won't accept inadequate search assignments and avoid unproductive business relationships.
Recruiters fail because they lack guidance. Too many intelligent, skilled, able professionals leave the recruiting profession prematurely. They leave before they're able to pull together the skills and understanding needed to succeed. That's a shame and a waste of talent.
Successful recruiters maintain a balance and pace themselves for success. While on the job mistakes are inevitable, failure is not. It's easy to feel overwhelmed as a new recruiter. The trick is to break down the recruiting process into small steps. Follow the blueprint and focus on one small task at a time. Recruiters are called upon to multitask however initially, the key to success is to focus on the task at hand and forget about everything else.
When you're clear on what the goal is for each step, it's easy to make decisions that move the placement process forward. If you're interviewing a candidate and ten minutes into the interview the candidate says something that disqualifies them from your search, terminate the interview and move on to a prospective candidate who does qualify. You can always contact the first candidate again. Keep your eye on small objectives and the main goal; making a placement.
Successful recruiters juggle multiple simultaneous search assignments. Some make more placements because they're organized. A common mistake new recruiters make is they only work one search. They obsess about that one search and if something goes wrong, they lose a commission and have to start over.
Working on several searches ensures placements will be made on a regular basis. If one deal falls through it's okay because another candidate is hired. Juggling a few placements reduces stress, and empowers recruiters to make sound decisions based on immediate facts not fear of losing a fee.
Recruiting looks easy but it's not. Anyone can learn the rules to a game. If you want to play basketball the rules are easy to learn. Players who want to excel at basketball don't go out on the court, shoot one basket and leave the court. They practice different skills. They take shots from different angles and think about the game and their performance.
Being a Headhunter is incredibly fun and challenging. It takes preparation, skill, and a strategy to win consistently. Don't give up because it's difficult at first. Get the training you need and practice. There's room for you at the top!
Success in Recruiting begins with the recruitment process. Headhunting is challenging and rewarding. Kimberly Schenk's an expert Recruiting Coach and Executive Recruiter (20 years). Recruiters who try to wing it, fail. If you want to be a Headhunter build a stellar reputation with your first phone call.