A recruiter’s ability to communicate effectively determines the candidate experience and hiring manager satisfaction. Candidates expect a high-touch experience where feedback and updates are given through each step of the hiring process. Same goes for a recruiter’s communication with hiring managers. Being diligent about providing updates on whether you’re finding candidates to fit the desired profile or how candidates feel about the compensation will create a level of trust. Sounds simple, right? Hire effective communicators as recruiters and success will follow.
But, as we know, not everyone is born with stellar communication skills. Often these soft skills need to be honed. Therefore, I propose a change in mindset; let’s switch from searching for communicators to training networkers.
Here are some tips for communicators on how to network:
NETWORKERS DO MORE THAN JUST COMMUNICATE.
Imagine networking as a more active form of communicating. Those who fall in this “networker” category often have many of the communication skills your organization is looking for in a recruiter, but they deliberately take each connection they make one step further. These recruiters often have designated qualities that help them rise above the rest and succeed.
Candidates don’t want to talk to recruiters who are not enthusiastic about the company for which they are recruiting. Candidates will mirror their recruiter’s tone and enthusiasm level when speaking about a position, so you want to be sure your recruiters are genuinely excited about your company and the job opportunity they’re pitching.
And a hiring manager wants to feel like more than one drop of water in your ocean of things to do. Recruiters can build better relationships with their hiring managers by showing they are enthusiastic about and motivated to fill their role. In return, hiring managers will be more receptive to recruiter consultations. Along with this, a recruiter who has the emotional intelligence to understand and genuinely strive to meet others needs will build credibility.
Active listening is half the battle of great communication, and jumping to conclusions is a sure way to lose trust.
FIND MASTER NETWORKERS.
What better way to find effective networkers than by networking? Organization leaders should set the standard by building up an extensive network of industry professionals. Local chambers of commerce, professional industry groups and university events should all be frequented to network for potential future employees. Also, having a robust employee referral system will reward current employees who follow suit. Providing bonuses for employees who bring in quality hires will incentivize your top talent to help you expand your network.
During an interview with a recruiter, instead of asking whether or not the candidate has effective communication skills, ask instead, “How do you build and maintain your professional network?” Candidates are given the opportunity to explain their recurring habits of communication. They might discuss their social networks and use of social tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter, local networking groups and events or outline the follow-up they conduct to keep contacts fresh. If the candidate draws a blank at this question, they may not be who your organization needs.
DEVELOP AND RETAIN NETWORKERS.
There’s a reason this type of recruiter is in demand. For an entry-level employee, it’s not just important to be able to communicate your comments, questions and concerns, but also to build relationships throughout the company and industry. Networking experience can go a long way for an entry-level employee for their success over time as they seek out connections and mentorships.
It’s also important to hire proficient networkers at a more senior-level that can help develop others to further their careers in your organization. Taken one step further, a more senior employee can use their network to leverage relationships for the business and other employees’ benefit. At any level, the idea is that this type of person will never stop seeking out relationships that can help them grow both personally and professionally.
The truth is, we’re not born with these capabilities; we have to develop them over time. Any organization can develop effective communicators by creating opportunities for internal and external networking. This includes giving employees the opportunity for stretch projects in different internal departments, sending recruiters to resume building workshops and dedicating company time to volunteering in the local community. Helping your recruiters to build and leverage a unique network should be an ongoing effort to ensure growth, leadership and retention.