What does a typical conversation with a recruiter usually sound like to you?
A couple of days ago I was having a conversation with a potential new client who was looking to hire following the exit of a long term employee. They had since hired someone else but that had unfortunately not worked out.
In pursuit of a better hire the Director had gone out to their own personal network with no joy; candidates were not hungry enough, too stuck in their ways, and had unrealistic expectations. What he wanted was someone who was still improving in their abilities, driven, hungry, motivated to open new doors, open-minded to new ideas and able to learn yet have significant experience selling into the Fire & Security market, contacts, as well as, ideally, time spent working at another manufacturer.
“A pretty standard sales person, ” he said.
At this point the corners of my mouth started to curve; I couldn’t help but let out a small chuckle followed by a knowing smile…
Confused, the client paused for a moment and then asked: “was it something I said?”
“Well”, I told him, “Is it?”
“Is it what” he mused, not totally following.
“Bearing in mind you have been in the industry for 22 years and have met plenty of salespeople in this industry, and that you have looked for someone yourself, asked all of your colleagues to do the same, and reached out to your network for the last 2 months and not been able to find anyone that met your requirements, is it such a standard sales person?”
Finally, the penny dropped, this time it was my client who was smiling like a Cheshire cat.
“Shall we start again?”
We quickly moved into a conversation about the habits & behaviours that would be needed for the role but just as importantly why someone that exhibits these should join their company rather than any of their competitors. An hour later and we had an agreed a brief, terms and a follow-up call.
That’s what a conversation with so many new clients can sound like.
An (in)convenient truth
These conversations are important and all too often overlooked. It’s especially important for you to be honest with your recruiter, and most importantly, it’s important for them to be honest with you.
The hardest part is then taking that conversation to the next level and putting in the work to achieve the desired end result.
You may think by refusing to answer your recruiter’s questions or setting time aside to talk is a time-saving exercise on your part; I know, you’re probably extremely busy. Time spent in building and agreeing on the brief, however, will mean time saved not interviewing unsuitable candidates, time saved still trying to find the right hire, and ultimately, money saved by hiring the best as soon as possible and not having to fire them 6 months later due to mismanaged expectations.
If your recruiter isn’t asking insightful questions in the first place (tip – the best candidates should be too), then it’s time to think carefully about the decision you’ve made to go with that recruiter too.
You’ve partnered with a recruiter in order to get the best talent in front of you. If their job simply consists of taking a job spec and list of duties as a means of determining cultural fit and likelihood of success as well as the quality of the candidate, it may be time to walk away. The reality is, the wrong recruiter can do more brand damage than good if they don’t properly understand the concerns people may have on the market.
You’re looking for a wider selection of specialist qualities in your next hire; why wouldn’t you look for specialist qualities in the recruiter you choose to work with?
A pretty standard way to achieve results
The solution to most of the client’s problems I speak with is simple, however like most things in life they take a bit of effort, time, and understanding.
When you try to take shortcuts the likelihood is you’ll end up circling around and trying to do it all over again.
So next time you’re about to have a typical conversation take some time to think about it first and be prepared to offer something a little bit extra. In return, you’ll see a return of a whole lot more.
“If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got”