5 Skills Every Recruiter Should Learn in 2020
January 2, 2020
It’s officially a New Year and, for many, that means it’s time for fresh starts and resolutions. That could mean anything from hitting the gym more, eating healthier, or maybe reading a title or two from that stack of books that’s been sitting on your bedside table.
And with LinkedIn data suggesting that the top priority for recruiters over the next five years is to keep up with rapidly changing hiring needs, it may be worthwhile to add learning new work-related skills to your list of resolutions. Armed with these new abilities and the fresh perspectives that come with them, it’s a chance to become even more indispensable and valuable to your company in the coming year and beyond.
Below are five skills that talent professionals and leaders believe will matter more in the future, many of which are featured in our Future of Recruiting Report. We’ve also listed some relevant LinkedIn Learning classes to give you a head start.
1. How to tell a good story
With a tight labor market that’s showing no signs of letting up in 2020, finding quality candidates is more challenging than ever. As a result, recruiters are tapping into often overlooked talent pools and increasingly vying for the attention of passive candidates.
No matter who you’re targeting, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Generic or templated outreach messages are often ignored, so try taking some time this year to learn the art of telling a good story. Here at LinkedIn, recruiters use storytelling to attract potential candidates, and they’ve built an easy-to-follow framework that can help you tell more meaningful and emotionally-based stories.
With this skill in your back pocket, you can do so much more than provide potential candidates with a standard list of perks, benefits, and key tasks. Instead, you’ll be able to weave a compelling narrative about the role, your company’s culture, and the candidate’s past experience to show why this is the perfect job for them. Not only does this show that you took the time to really think about how they would fit into the role, but candidates will also be drawn in emotionally and have a clearer picture of what it would feel like to work at your company.
And as an added bonus, think about how those storytelling skills will help you outside of work. You’ll easily be able to fill those awkward silences the next time you’re at a dinner party — and you’ll be a hit when it’s your turn to tell a terrifying tale around a campfire.
Recommended course: Shane Snow on Storytelling — including tips on how to maximize connections with your audience and how to create a culture of storytelling for your entire team.
2. How to analyze and make sense of data
Although recruiting will always require people skills and that human touch, making data-driven decisions will be increasingly important in the future. In fact, between 2015 and 2019, the number of recruiting professionals who listed data-analysis as one of their skills on their LinkedIn profile grew by 111% — and there are no signs that this trend is slowing down.
There are plenty of ways that taking a thoughtful and creative approach to data can help you find great candidates and address larger business needs. For example, IBM used data to predict and prevent turnover, the FBI took a hard look at its numbers to improve diversity among their agents, and here at LinkedIn we used data insights to pinpoint geographical trends in how we hire engineers.
Crunching the numbers can help you spot trends and potential blindspots in your strategy to attract, hire, and retain the best people. What’s more, it can also help you get that sometimes elusive seat at the table with your company’s biggest decision makers (more on this below). If you’re equipped with data and know how to tell a compelling story about those numbers, you can be that much more convincing in everything from requesting additional resources to putting your stamp on the overarching talent strategy of your company.
Recommended course: Data Analytics for Business Professionals — including tips on how to plan and deploy an analytics strategy, make data-driven decisions, and identify when data is potentially flawed.
3. How to adapt to an industry that’s changing fast
With talent increasingly difficult to find, what worked for recruiters in the past may not continue to work in the future. That means adaptability will be a must-have skill going forward. One day you may be texting a candidate with the details of a role and offering increasingly flexible work options, the next you could be searching for passive candidates with hashtags or pivoting to a hiring strategy that finds more candidates internally. You’ll be rolling with the punches and changing your best practices continuously.
Learning to be more adaptable, however, can be challenging. After all, we’re often creatures of comfort and routine, and veering away from a path that’s been tried-and-true in the past can be difficult or just plain scary. But if you take the time to sharpen this skill, you’ll be rewarded with another tool to tackle the increasingly complex world of recruiting, including dealing with bias in artificial intelligence, choosing the right technology tools for your organization, and meeting the needs of five different generations working side-by-side in the office for the first time ever.
Recommended course: Creating a Culture of Change — including tips on how to reduce stress in the face of change, embrace transformation, and create a culture that isn’t afraid to think differently.
4. How to influence business leaders
The days of a recruiter’s job being limited to simply filling reqs and taking orders from hiring managers are long gone (if they ever really existed). Recruiting professionals are increasingly being asked to take on a more strategic role in partnership with key decision-makers, and in The Future of Recruiting Report, 82% of those surveyed believe advising business leaders will become more important to their jobs over the next five years.
But as John Vlastelica, founder and managing director of Recruiting Toolbox, mentioned in his talk at Talent Connect, “Just calling yourself a talent advisor does not mean hiring managers are going to invite you in to talent advise them.”
So in order to become a trusted advisor, you’ll need to be as prepared as possible. As mentioned above, this will involve having sound data and a good story to back your recommendations. But just as important are a host of soft skills, including being a good listener, minding your body language, taking the time to create personal connections, and negotiating (another Talent Connect speaker, a former FBI hostage negotiator, can help with this last one). If you take the time to brush up on these skills this New Year, you’ll be sure to feel more confident and comfortable when you pull up a chair at the table with your company’s leaders.
Recommended course: Influencing Others — including tips on how to identify any feelings that inhibit you from speaking your mind and encourage others to want to be influenced by you.
5. How to develop your personal brand
Although there’s an argument for letting your work speak for itself, the ability to talk intelligently about your successes shouldn’t be ignored. There are times when it’s essential to toot your own horn, not only to advance your own career and get yourself noticed, but also to benefit your team in the form of, say, additional resources or headcount.
But for many of us — unless you’re a certain self-aggrandizing hip-hop artist — talking about our successes can be hard. As he lays out in his LinkedIn Learning video, even Oscar-nominated actor Ed Norton has felt the crippling effects of impostor syndrome — where highlighting your accomplishments may feel like an opening for others to somehow find out that you have no idea what you’re doing, even if that’s far from the truth.
This is where learning about personal branding can help. Crafting your personal brand doesn’t need to entail posting on Twitter or Snapchat around the clock. Instead, take the Carla Harris approach and think of it as developing a deeper understanding of how people perceive you — online and in the real world — and what you can do to put your best foot forward and ensure that that perception is the true you. And nothing against posting constant updates on social media, but if you think of personal branding more broadly, it’s a skill that all of us could use.
Recommended course: Transform Your Personal Brand — including tips on how to identify your unique personal brand, select mentors to champion your brand, and overcome impostor syndrome.
We hope that your New Year is off to a rousing start, and here’s to learning new skills that will make 2020 productive, successful, and fun!
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