FEELING THE PRESSURE TO RECRUIT BETTER CANDIDATES, AND FAST? Back to basics: Slow down and focus on building deeper relationships.

Back when I was a rookie in the recruiting world, my first boss shared something I have never forgotten. She said, “Recruiters aren’t social workers, they’re sales people.”

Being green at the time, I wasn’t sure what those words really meant. And, I definitely couldn’t see how it would shape my career as a recruiter, coach and business owner. I was absolutely wrong!

The truth is that while the staffing industry has changed significantly over the past 30 years, people have not. Whether I’m working with a medical practice who needs to recruit a billing and coding specialist, a law firm who needs a paralegal or a company relocating to Atlanta who needs an army of receptionists, executive assistants and customer service professionals, the one truth they all have in common is that recruiting is a very personal matter.

I often work directly with presidents or partners to fill open positions, and even though they have little time to discuss their needs, they do expect me to care about their success. Quickly finding the right employee who fits well with the culture and has the skill set needed to reach goals is what I do every day.

So do I consider myself a social worker or a sales person? I’m both. And, I believe there’s real value in approaching clients and candidates with a desire to make long-term matches by developing genuine relationships.

The downside to relying too much on technology

I’ve been trained by some of the finest sales people, and they taught me how to ask the truly important questions and how to actively listen for the right answers. Long before technology helped us efficiently expand our networks and automate the recruiting process, the simple ability to intuit a candidate’s potential fit was arguably the most valuable skill a recruiter could have.

Developing solid relationships with employers and candidates has become more challenging, not less, with the increasing use of voicemail, email, text, social media and the web. Why? Employers often don’t have time to discuss their staffing needs and prefer to send the job description by email. It’s not until the client identifies “resumes” to interview that I have the opportunity to begin nurturing a relationship so that I can assess if there’s potential for a solid match.

Can I find more candidates and fill more positions this way? Absolutely. Is it less successful? Possibly. Assessing culture and job fit with the goal being reduced turnover and increased productivity requires us to listen to the goals and needs of both the employer and the candidates to ensure the match can stand the test of time.

Remember, a resume doesn’t tell us what a candidate values most in a career opportunity. Is it work/life balance? Is it the possibility of career advancement? What about educational assistance, a shorter commute or a healthier culture? It’s easy to find a resume with the right experience and call that person a star, but without learning about the candidate’s work and life goals, and assessing how that matches with the culture and opportunity, you risk pursuing a candidate who will never quite fit.

If you want the best candidates, invest more in your relationships. The simple things still work wonders when the end goal is connection. So leverage technology for all you can, but consider the impact a hand-written thank you card or an old-fashioned phone call can have on your ability to recruit dedicated employees.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still love when a candidate lands a dream job or a client calls tell me how great its new recruit is doing. While technology evolves to make finding candidates easier, let’s not lose sight of the one constant truth: recruiting is personal. And, finding the right candidate the first time is well worth our effort.

Need help finding qualified candidates?

Let’s talk. You can reach me at 404.822.9392 or email me at rosemary@rgstaffing.net. For 30 years, I’ve been dedicated to helping companies, medical practices, law firms and creative agencies in Atlanta thrive by staffing them with the very best talent. I fill a variety of positions including executive assistants, receptionists, medical front office billing staff, as well as legal staff just to name a few. I look forward to helping you reach your goals.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Email your resume to rosemary@rgstaffing.net.