If you're in talent acquisition in 2022 you would probably describe your experience as wild. It was absolutely wild. I have a feeling that in 2023, we will be facing another unprecedented season. Here are five skills I believe you must have in order to be able to weather the storm that is talent acquisition.
Time management and organization skills
I would like to dedicated this paragraph to a Recruiter who I supported early in my career. She absolutely nailed it with filling up her calendar with calls (automated), smashed timely follow ups with her hiring managers and candidates (also automated), and still made time to attend in-person job fairs and networking events (it was magic). She was always ON TOP OF HER GAME and I learned a lot from her. RJ, thank you!
With recruiting in a standstill for some major industries and in hyper-drive in others, Recruiters who are still manually emailing "when are you available to chat" to their candidates will be left eating dust from the Recruiters who are using auto-scheduling tools and have mastered rules and filters in their Outlook inbox. Gone are the days of "this is how I've always used to do this" and welcome to the age of "there's a better way" mindset.
It's not enough to be just good at filling roles. I take that back. You can't get away with just knowing how to fill roles. Do you know the economic trends in your region? What's the talent outlook in your specific industry? Where are you getting your candidates? Where are you not getting your candidates? In this vertical, you have to know the rules of the game, the different versions of the game, and the many different players and non-players.
When I recruited for pilots, I dove into the industry. I watched videos on flight training, read travel blogs written by pilots and flight attendants. Shadowed pilot and inflight training. Made friends with dispatchers and meteorologists. Downloaded weather apps and learned acronyms. Then I took that industry knowledge into a recruiting perspective. How is the retirement age of 65 affecting pilot fill rates? What are the ratings required to fly in commercial aviation and why are people not able to attain those? Where are the female aviators? Why don't we have enough BIPOC pilots?
Know your industry. Ask the questions and run towards them.
Sales. Sales. Sales.
In case you were living under a rock, there's a ton of talent out there looking to get hired. Even the ones with jobs are actively listening. So if for one moment you think that because the market is saturated and you don't need to sell, I'm here to shatter that misconception.
Sales is what you're doing when you're writing a job posting (how does this sound this sound to a candidate), to prospecting/cold emails (need I say more?), to engaging with a hiring manager (the purple squirrel syndrome) and to closing on an offer (pick us over them!).
Recruiters who aren't comfortable with sales tend to abandon candidates who want to reasonably negotiate compensation, can't influence hiring managers and are uncomfortable with sourcing talent. It's not sustainable being anti-sales in the recruiting world.
I have so much compassion to anyone who isn't tech savvy. Change isn't fun when you're busy filling roles and following up with candidates. What I think is dangerous is the assumption that roles and time to fill requirements will not change. Positions today are much more complex and harder to fill. With the change in technology on the daily, so will job descriptions and business needs. Compound all of this on top of regular "old" positions, you have a changing spectrum of needs a business demands. Why then can't we use tools to help us keep up with the demand?
You have to think like an owner when you're in a Recruiter role.
You are at the front of the line when it comes to business success. Your speed of hire affects business transformation, sustainability and morale. No pressure, but this responsibility is not for the faint at heart. In the ownership role, your jobs is strategy, project management, talent management, and sales. You are building reports, creating insights, putting together business cases, and guiding your organization through equitable and compliant hiring practices. It's no small feat for sure. If you're not thinking like an owner, your job as a Recruiter may be short-lived.
I want to end this post by saying that this list is just a start. They are the skills I see in the best recruiters that I aspire to be like. One final add - resiliency is a mindset you have to have in this line of work. You must absolutely have a resilient core to handle the tremendous volume and plot twists that will come your way.
What would you add to the must have skills list?