12 Skills Every Recruiter Must Master

December 17, 2014

2015 promises to be a challenging year for any company that wants to hire top talent to fill critical roles.

The problem: the rapid growth in new jobs is likely to outstrip the available talent.

The only way companies will be able to rectify this talent shortage is to recruit people from their competition. While this condition has always existed, the hiring boom promises to make 2015 one of the toughest years on record.

The solution: you need to build the strongest recruiting team possible, made up of highly skilled recruiters who are comfortable with winning over passive talent.

Here are the 12 recruiter competencies that we have established as most important, based on our performance-based hiring certification workshops:

  1. Motivated to excel. Persistent, doesn’t take no for an answer.
  2. Industry and company expert. Someone worth knowing. Trusted advisor.
  3. Influences hiring manager and hiring team on all hiring related decisions. Every candidate recommended is interviewed. Minimizes interviews per hire.
  4. Understands real job needs at technical and results level. Not a box checker.
  5. Prepares robust, insightful sourcing and branding plans to attract all potential candidates.
  6. Uses advanced social media and marketing tools to find best active candidates.
  7. Boolean and email marketing expert to find and attract top passive candidates.
  8. Has mastered the art of networking to identify and recruit outstanding passive candidates.
  9. Great organizer. On top of all issues, always. Doesn’t waste time presenting weak candidates.
  10. Leverages technology (LinkedIn, ATS, CRM) to maximize candidate quality and personal productivity.
  11. Accurate and insightful interviewer. Focuses on performance, fit and motivation. Predicted performance turns out to be extremely accurate.
  12. With passive candidates: a great recruiter, negotiator and exceptional closer.

Here’s a sample form of this competency model.

While the listed competencies are essential, how each is scored is important for both improving recruiter skills and determining who should be hired or assigned to handle the most difficult search assignments. To help with that, I have listed a scoring ranking below. Note that the ranking is non-linear. Levels 3, 4 and 5 represent the top 25% of an effective recruiting team handling the full range of positions from entry-level to senior executives.

The Performance-Based Hiring Ranking System

Level 0: Needs basic training for the factor.

Level 1: Has entry-level skills, but needs some coaching and training.

Level 2: Reasonably competent. Effectively uses the skill/factor to meet performance objectives. A 2.5 represents the overall midpoint of the peer group.

Level 3: Far exceeds basic requirements. In the top quartile. Coaches others in skill.

Level 4: Formally recognized within the department or company as a subject matter expert in the skill/factor. Top 10-15% of team.

Level 5: Outstanding. Top 5%. A role model. Formally recognized outside the company as an expert in the area.

We’ve created an online survey you can take to rank yourself or your recruiting team members to see how well they stack to the challenge of recruiting passive candidates.

As you take the assessment, recognize the importance of using evidence to justify any ranking. For example, to be ranked a Level 3, 4 or 5 on recruiting passive candidates (factor 12), the recruiter would have to had demonstrated a track record of finding truly passive candidates and worked closely with hiring managers to get them hired. For Boolean search and emailing (factor 7) the person would not only need to know and use advanced Boolean techniques to find the person, but also have a very high percent (60-70%) of these people responding to the emails. The point: ability is not what’s being measuring on this competency model, the results of using this skill, ability or competency are what’s important.

Once talent professionals like you fill out the survey and the survey results are available, I’ll use this blog to summarize the findings. Until then, keep recruiting and keep getting better.

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*image by Luke Chan

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