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The Secret to Being a Great Recruiter

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It’s not the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last time. But, for the last few days, I have been battling a severe case of writer’s block. You see normally when this happens, I default to the same routine. I read some industry blogs, check out my favorite Facebook recruiting groups, and usually start typing furiously away until I find the perfect sentence that the rest of the words seem to practically write themselves.

But, that’s not what happened this time. Nope, not at all. Instead, I found myself watching a video. What video you might ask? Well it was from LinkedIn’s TalentConnect conference, and it featured Stacy Zapar, LinkedIn’s most connected woman. If you don’t know Stacy, she is a force in the recruiting world, a dynamic public speaker, a published author, and the list goes on.

In Stacy’s presentation, she shared her favorite tips and tricks to be a better recruiter. When you have some time, go check it out. My initial takeaway was that to be a great recruiter you must proactively manage your time and then use that time in a meaningful way.

It seemed so simple. In fact, it is. It is a common trait shared by some of the most successful people in the world. There was even an article this week that described about how Elon Musk manages his time in five minute increments.

It got me thinking. Is that really it? Is that all it takes to be a great recruiter?

But, then it struck me. Yes, time management is important. There’s no denying that. But, Stacy’s real message was right there. It was written on the podium on the stage, and she must have said the word at least 20 times in 45 minutes. I couldn’t believe I didn’t get it sooner.

It’s all about connections. Yes, it’s really that simple, even simpler than my first impression.

As Stacy was talking about ways to manage your calendar, favorite questions to ask, and ways to close the loop with candidates, it always came back to larger goal of making connections. And no, I’m not talking about LinkedIn connections.

I’m talking about going out of your way to making genuine human connections with candidates, hiring managers, and anyone else who may be involved in the hiring process.

At the end of the day, the majority of Stacy’s recommendations referenced ways she proactively manages her time. But, why?

If you look a little deeper, you’ll quickly see that she uses it to build and sustain meaningful relationships. I’m talking about relationships where transparency is key and trust is built. She builds relationships that are mutually beneficial for all parties involved.

The truth is (and to borrow from Stacy’s presentation title), there is no real “secret sauce” to recruiting candidates. Yes, there are tips and best practices you can learn and adopt in your own recruiting efforts to be more efficient and effective. But, there is no one best practice that applies to every situation. More importantly, none of them will work unless you build connections with your candidates instead of viewing them as records in your ATS.

If you want the real key to success, look at your connections. Do your emails read like scripted templates void of personality? Do you treat your follow up like a task that simply needs to be checked off? Is your goal to simply place any candidate or is it to find the best candidate for the role and the best role for the candidate?

If you focus on building stronger connections, success will come but first you must determine what those connections look like.

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