In just over a month, we’ll be hosting our Global Conference for NPAworldwide members. This is our first event of the year, but we’ve got a busy calendar with events happening all over the world. While a primary goal of all of our meetings is to enhance networking and relationship-building among our members, professional development is also in the mix. Since I have conferences on the brain AND am always looking for great training, here is a list of recruitment skills you may want to sharpen:
- Sales – Recruitment is inherently a sales profession, so this is one of the recruitment skills that should be polished and practiced regularly. Not only do recruiters have to sell their services to a client, they also have to sell an opportunity to a candidate (and sometimes the candidate’s family) as well as selling the candidate to the employer.
- Marketing – For me, marketing is about positioning and promotion. These are skills that can greatly impact your business development efforts, so it’s worth spending time and money to get better at marketing.
- Communication – In this category, I’m including listening, speaking, writing, and telephone skills. My seventh-grader likes to argue that his teachers will know what he means in spite of sloppy writing. I disagree. And even though email *can* be a more informal type of writing, my guess is that most of us are doing MORE writing than we ever imagined we would. Words matter, and so do grammar and punctuation. On top of that, great recruiters are also great listeners. Listening requires its own training and practice. There’s a quote attributed to Stephen Covey that says, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Listening to understand is a skill. Speaking and telephone skills are related, with obvious importance to recruiters.
- Time Management – Everyone has the same number of hours in the day, but some people manage to get a lot more done with their hours than others. It’s so easy to get distracted from your money-generating activities. Successful recruiters have strict time management systems. If your day gets away from you more often than you’d like to admit, it might be time for a refresher course on time management.
- Negotiating – Dave Nerz, NPAworldwide president, is fond of saying that everything is a negotiation until someone says no. While we negotiate in all areas of our lives (whether we realize it or not), many of us have never received formal training for it. Or it was so long ago that the rules have changed. If you’re working across cultures, negotiating styles vary widely. It’s important to be able to adapt your negotiating style for different situations.
- Interviewing – How often do you conduct interviews? Are you good at it? How do you know? Can you objectively assess a group of candidates, certain that you’ve asked them all the same questions? If not, this is a recruitment skill that needs work. What if your best client is a lousy interviewer? Are you in a position to offer coaching? Don’t overlook this piece of the recruitment puzzle, and don’t rely on your “gut” to identify the best candidate.
- IT / Social Media – Unless you’re working in a very large recruitment firm, you probably don’t have dedicated IT staff at your beck-and-call. That means you’re paying for help when you need it. You should be competent in basic IT skills like maintenance, file back-up, software installations/upgrades, and some hardware knowledge. On top of that, proficiency in Office-style software is assumed. You may also need to be familiar with one or more ATS products. Don’t overlook social media – you should understand what it is, which channels make the most sense for your business and have working knowledge in those platforms. These may not seem like recruitment skills, but you’ll be more productive and efficient if you can competently take care of basic to intermediate-level tasks.
- Industry/Occupational Expertise – If you specialize in a particular industry, occupation, or niche, make sure your depth of knowledge is sufficient. It’s not necessarily critical for you to have direct experience as a software engineer, but you should understand the tools, technology, and terminology that are used.
Are there other critical recruitment skills you would add? Please share a comment below!