7 Skills That Will Help Recruiters Adapt to a Changing Business Landscape

March 30, 2020

“Effective recruiters have always had a formidable arsenal of skills. But moving forward, the best recruiters will be curious and adaptable, with a learning mindset.”  —Amy Schultz Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at LinkedIn

Recently, LinkedIn’s Future of Recruiting Report predicted that the top priority for recruiters over the next five years would be keeping up with rapidly changing hiring needs. But none of us could have forecast just how fast those changes would hit. 

As a result of the recent coronavirus outbreak, the world of hiring — and the world at large — has changed a lot in the past few weeks. Recruiters may be faced with conducting video interviews from home, making offers to candidates no one at your company has met in person, or maintaining your pipeline during a pause in hiring. 

Whatever your particular challenge, you can focus on honing the skills that will help you succeed in this radically altered hiring landscape. There’s a lot you can do to improve your skills and even learn brand-new ones. Armed with these new abilities and the fresh perspectives that come with them, you will be even better set up for success.

“Effective recruiters,” says Amy Schultz, director of Talent Acquisition at LinkedIn, “have always had a formidable arsenal of skills. But moving forward, the best recruiters will be curious and adaptable, with a learning mindset.”

Below are seven skills that will help you navigate this challenging moment and assist in staying on course for a long, productive career. And to help, we’ve curated a number of related resources and unlocked access to LinkedIn Learning courses that specifically support these critical areas.

1. How to adapt to an industry that’s changing fast

In the face of uncertainty, hiring at your company may have slowed down. The type of talent you’re searching for might also be shifting as your company’s needs and the talent market evolve. Things are changing fast, meaning adaptability will be a must-have skill going forward. 

Learning to be more adaptable, however, can be challenging. After all, we’re creatures of habit, who will often retreat to our comfort zones when our work or personal lives hit any turbulence. But if you take the time to develop more adaptability, you’ll have another tool with which to tackle the increasingly complex world of recruiting — putting you in good stead to handle any other change on the horizon. 

Recommended course: 

The Importance of Resilience

In this course, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant discuss how to reimagine and rebuild your life when Option A has been taken off the table. They offer lessons for how to build resilience — which they describe as a lifetime skill set — in the face of setbacks.

2. How to effectively work and manage teams remotely

Whether or not you’ve worked from home occasionally in the past, making the move to full-time remote work can be challenging — especially right now. You may have loved ones who need you to care for them or children who are taking remote classes, making it difficult to stay productive and maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

On top of that, you may need to move your entire hiring process online, and that means learning how to conduct a seamless virtual job interview and providing a great candidate experience without the benefit of in-person interactions. You also need to determine the best way to collaborate with — and support — the rest of your team online, including your hiring managers.

Learning how to effectively work, hire, and manage a team remotely won’t just help you thrive during this period of necessity. It will also better equip you for the future of work, which had begun embracing more remote and flexible options long before COVID-19 made them essential. 

Recommended courses: 

Working Remotely

This class will show you how to create a productive working environment, use communication and collaboration tools to their full advantage, and successfully onboard remote workers. 

Managing Virtual Teams

If you’re now overseeing a remote team, watch this class for tips on how to maintain regular contact, provide structure and consistency, and manage workloads. 

3. How to influence business leaders

Challenging times can sometimes bring out the best in us. Right now, there is a real opportunity for talent professionals to take on a more strategic role at their organizations, partnering with key decision-makers to help the business navigate this moment.

As John Vlastelica, founder and managing director of Recruiting Toolbox, mentioned in his talk at Talent Connect 2019, “Just calling yourself a talent adviser does not mean hiring managers are going to invite you in to advise them on talent.” To become a trusted adviser, 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 (former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss can help with this last one). 

Taking the time to brush up on these skills will help you feel more confident making the recommendations your company needs to hear right now. 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. If your company sees you stepping up and taking a more strategic role now, when it matters most, they’ll be more likely to invite you into the conversation in future. 

Recommended course: 

Influencing Others

In this class, John Ullmen, PhD, teaches you how to influence others by applying 18 scientifically confirmed methods. You’ll learn what the best influencers do and how to choose the right steps for your situation. 

4. How to tell a good story

Storytelling is always a valuable skill. While you’re working remotely, it will be especially useful for helping candidates get a sense of your company’s culture, since you won’t be able to rely on on-site visits where they can see it firsthand. 

If you can weave a compelling narrative about the role, your culture, and how the candidate’s experience makes them an ideal fit, then candidates will be drawn in emotionally and have a clearer picture of what it would feel like to work at your company — even if they’re interviewing from their desk at home. 

As an added bonus, think about how those storytelling skills will help you outside of work. You’ll easily be able to captivate and energize everyone at your next virtual happy hour. 

Recommended course: 

Shane Snow on Storytelling

LinkedIn Influencer and best-selling business author Shane Snow shares his approach to crafting compelling stories. You’ll discover how to maximize connections with your audience and how to create a culture of storytelling for your entire team.

5. How to develop your personal brand

Although there’s an argument for letting your work speak for itself, the ability to talk about your successes shouldn’t be ignored. There are times when it’s essential to toot your own horn, if only to remind your company that their hiring needs are in incredibly capable hands. 

For many of us, 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 mean posting on social media 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 perception is the true you.

Recommended course: 

Transform Your Personal Brand

This class will help you identify your unique personal brand, overcome impostor syndrome, and select mentors to be your champions.

6. How to analyze and make sense of data

Although recruiting will always require people skills and a 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 more than doubled, growing 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 the right candidates and address larger business needs. For example, you may use your data to figure out where the bottlenecks in your process lie, helping you hire quickly and more efficiently. Or you may use it to set more realistic timelines so other stakeholders know what to expect. 

What’s more, insightful data analysis can 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 clear and compelling story about your numbers, then you will be that much more convincing in everything from requesting necessary resources to helping your company plot effective countermeasures to any external upheavals. 

Recommended course:

People Analytics

Influential industry analyst Josh Bersin hosts a deep dive into how you can use data to understand what keeps people happy at work, how to boost productivity, which employees are most likely to be successful, and more.

7. How to practice mindfulness and reduce stress

During this period of uncertainty, many of us are feeling stressed and anxious. And while you undoubtedly want to support your candidates and the rest of your team, you must tend to your own mental health and well-being before you can care for others. 

This will look a little different for everybody. You may find it useful to turn off the news when you’re working or to practice breathing exercises when you feel overwhelmed. Taking steps to ease your own stress also puts you in a better position to support others. Depending on their personal circumstances, some members of your team may be having a tougher time than others, so it’s important to let them know that you’re there for them and to offer any resources that they might find helpful. 

Your candidates may also be dealing with a lot right now. Empathy, patience, and compassion will be critical skills for recruiters now and in the coming months. 

Recommended courses: 

Mindfulness Practices

Executive coach Henna Inam shares strategies for improving focus and creativity, navigating change, and cultivating much-needed joy. She will walk you through specific exercises to change the structure of your brain to respond better to stressors.

Managing Stress for Positive Change

Learn what exactly stress is, how to assess it and channel it into a positive outcome. This class can be especially useful for people managers who want to create an environment and communication style that connects employees to the bigger picture.

Jeff Weiner on Managing Compassionately

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner shares key lessons and observations around what makes somebody a great manager. For Jeff, compassion is the foundation of a successful leader -- once you lead with compassion, this brings about greater transparency, trust, and empowerment. The class also highlights key tactics around coaching and leveraging the strengths of your team.

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