Our guest blogger is Pam Robison of J. Gifford Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. J. Gifford Inc. is a small, quality conscious firm providing highly individualized recruiting services to clients on a local, regional, national and international basis. The firm’s recruiting activities are focused on professional, technical and managerial placement, as well as contractor and international staffing for clients. Pam is the Director of the US Midwest Region for the NPAworldwide Board of Directors. Today, Pam discusses the importance of strong recruiter relationships.
I’ve been a professional recruiter for about 15 years now. My how the landscape has changed over the years! Technology is king. Today’s recruiting is currently being defined by the strongest candidate driven market I’ve ever seen. Here in the USA there is an extreme shortage of talent.
This means I’m having to play tug of war with nearly every candidate I recruit. Candidates often have at least two offers on the table to choose from, if not more! The challenge for recruiting in this market is setting one’s self apart from the multitude of calls and emails a candidate receives every week. I have sincerely asked myself, “How do I get a candidate’s attention – and KEEP it?”
The answer isn’t anything “gimmicky” or high tech. In fact, quite the opposite. Sticking to the basics can sometimes be the very best thing to do. I strive to make the candidate experience personal. I do everything I can to make a candidate feel valued during the process. That includes listening and taking very good notes so that I can play their comments back to them at the offer stage.
It also means making a point to know and understand my client’s business, their staff, their strategic goals and their culture. Then I share this information with candidates, so they can get the full picture and feel confident that I have the inside track to get their foot in the door. I don’t like surprises and am pretty sure candidates don’t either. I do what I say I’m going to do, when I say I’m going to do it.
But back to the question – how do I set myself apart from the myriad of cold calls a candidate gets? I do my research and learn as much about the candidate before I even make the first call. If I’ve sourced a candidate directly from someone I know or found them via a sharing network such as NPAworldwide, I still do my homework first. I need to understand what this candidate has to bring to my client, but just as importantly I need to know what my client’s opportunity has to offer my prospective candidate. How is this client’s position going to surpass what the candidate currently has going?
Once I have this information in hand, I make the call and share as many details as needed to get the candidate’s attention. I might not get a second chance. As recruiters in this “era” we are constantly inundated with suggestions on how to modernize our efforts with search engine short cuts, new ATS options, new email tracking, you name it. Some of these tools can increase our efficiency but they can’t enhance our relationship skills.
In my opinion, sticking to the basics still bears fruit. In this business our name, our integrity, is all we have. I’m open new technology that helps me manage data, and I’m certainly always open to new ideas for recruiting. Call me old fashioned, but I believe in the end the personal, sincere approach to recruiting and building recruiter relationships is where it’s at. That alone helps me stand out from others who are “dialing for dollars.”