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From HR Generalist to In-House Recruiter: 10 Tips to Improve your Recruiting Skills

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Whether you”re an in-house recruiter, HR professional or agency recruitment professional, there are always ways to improve your skills and deliver better business. This applies whether you are new to the industry or a seasoned pro and the fact remains that the best people in the business will always be looking for fresh ways to deliver additional value, raise their game and do their job better. If you”re keen to get ahead and see a measurable increase in your delivery this coming year, it”s time to assess your current skillset and recruitment methodologies and assess whether there”s any room for improvement.

The Art of Recruitment

Those with years of experience in the industry – particularly those who started before the age of social media – will generally refer to recruitment as an art form. A great recruiter needs a broad range of skills, from initial problem assessment to determine the needs, through to objectivity and analysis during the recruitment process, psychology and relationship building for client rapport and even a knowledge of organisational behaviour to understand recruitment ”fit”.

Starting from Scratch

Avoid approaching each job in a tired and templated fashion. Stay open to new possibilities. It is vital that you remain able to see candidates as complex and complete individuals, rather than simply ticking off a list of abilities and skills within the role profile. Yes, the essential attributes must be met, but you may find a candidate whose superior skill in one area compensates for an experience or knowledge gap elsewhere. Approach this as an art form, considering each individual and getting a rounded sense of them and understanding whether their character and personality is likely to fit within the client”s organisational culture. This more flexible and open-minded approach could help you to spot interesting candidates that you might otherwise reject.

Doing Your Background Work

When you start in the industry as a recruiter, you naturally want to do everything right. But as your job becomes more familiar, it is tempting to overlook the legwork and research element and rely on what you know. But a good recruiter will question this ”knowledge” and still put in the time to gather information and understand the whole picture. They will consider the current state of the client”s organisation, as well as its future and longer-term goals, with some scenario planning thrown in to consider contingencies. If the HR professional is in-house, they will mine available data sources and begin to understand emerging trends with implications for hiring. This could include a flexible or blended workforce, a call for a certain working policy or benefit or a type of under-represented employee. Such insight can truly demonstrate the value of the individual”s recruitment skills to the business managers.

Writing a Great Job Advert

When you know what sort of person you need for the role, you”ll need to work hard to create the right advert and be ready to modify it if it doesn”t get the right results. Work hard at your copywriting skills and consider catchy titles that will attract candidates” eyes. Learn about SEO and optimisation so that you include the right keywords. Learn how to write compelling advertising copy and use Google Analytics to track how effective your online advertising placement is, with specific regard to click-throughs, drop-offs, referrals and other indicators.

Learn to Ask the Right Questions

Asking hypothetical questions of your candidates can be a revealing exercise. However, if you focus on specific questions such as ”what makes you the best candidate for this role”, it will reveal a more detailed picture of attitudes and background. Make the candidate work hard and don”t ask multiple-choice questions which limit responses.

Learn to Test

You will be amazed by how many apparently competent applicants fall apart when faced with a practical test of their abilities. This is vital because you will waste time with the wrong candidates if they fail at the practical application stage. Interviews only reveal so much, so look into pre-interview tests where possible and target your selection process. Follow Up Research shows that brand perception can be damaged if candidates don”t receive follow-ups after their interviews or receive feedback on unsuccessful applications. Be polite and friendly and follow the process carefully. Candidates appreciate receiving a follow-up and will mention it to others, providing you with positive word-of-mouth benefits. Remember that even an unsuccessful candidate experience can be made positive with the right handling.

Look in the Right Places

Networking is key in the recruitment industry. Build and nurture your contacts and put your effort into offline activity. Forget surfing on LinkedIn in an attempt to do your job via social media; the real value comes in face-to-face engagement and conversations. You will get new leads, meet new potential candidates and hear about what”s happening in the industry while also giving others a sense of who you are and building trust and rapport.

In-House Recruiters Brand Development

If you work in an in-house role, there are other things to think about too. Employer brand development is one key aspect of the recruitment process and you can build this by delivering a clear, consistent and well-managed recruitment experience. Develop your ”work for us” or career pages on the corporate website, use social media judiciously, hold recruitment events and be clear about what the ”perfect” hire looks like for your organisation.

In-House Recruitment Cost Savings

Consider ways to deliver additional cost savings, such as by developing talent warehousing or database systems that hold speculative or prior candidates and allow talent matching for new roles that might appear. This can save time and money on advertising too, if a ”warm” contact is already available. Similarly, look to develop internal talent schemes and succession-planning capabilities to improve the recruitment process and reduce costs. You will certainly get yourself noticed in the process.

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