Ten years ago, the traits that separated an average recruiter from a great one included things like tenacity, networking ability and sales savvy. These attributes are still differentiators, but recruiting now also requires solid analytical skills and an understanding of a range of technology platforms. At the same time, there are things technology can’t replace or make obsolete, and those are the human elements to what we do.
It’s this ideal mix of tech-centric and empathic skills that will dictate which recruiters are still thriving in the field in years to come. For today’s recruiters to stay on top of their game and excel in a fast-evolving industry, they need to embody three crucial characteristics.
1. Harness data in everyday decision making
The role of today’s recruiter requires a firm foundational knowledge of data’s place in the recruiting process, but having a data orientation doesn’t necessarily mean recruiters need to be data gurus. It does mean they need to understand why data is important and show a commitment to data integrity in their day-to-day responsibilities, such as making an effort to maintain the cleanliness of the data in their ATS.
Recruiters should also understand the importance of having good data about themselves and their professional performance. As a recruiter, having a line item in a report that shows how you’re faring with candidates and how successful you are with various sources lets you know how to make the best use of your time. Should you focus more time on inbound tactics or outbound? Which sources work well for you, and which don’t?
Performance data can also tell you where you’re hitting bottlenecks in your processes, and how your error rates compare with others so you can improve your work. Having a strong orientation around data helps you do a better job for your company and, ultimately, advance your career.
2. Use technology to create efficiencies in the recruiting process
There was a time not too long ago when recruiters could get by just fine—even thrive—without having to really grasp any recruiting technology tools. Today, 91% of recruiters use some form of recruitment technology or software.
From social recruiting tactics, CRM software and new automation platforms to advanced search tactics and SEO skills for job content, technology is lending a new level of efficiency to the profession. As Michael A. Morell writes for Wired, “The best recruiting teams will use technology that bubbles up the right candidates, and know how to weight the data points to provide the best possible fits for a position.”
A traditionalist, or “old-school” approach to new tech tools in recruiting won’t fly anymore. Technology is upheaving workflows and skill sets for all professionals, and those who don’t adapt risk being left behind.
3. Be human throughout the hiring process
In terms of stress, the decision to change jobs ranks high among all of life’s decisions. Can you imagine making another big life decision without speaking to a human? That would probably feel illogical and might even make the decision and life event more stressful.
Imagine a candidate who is relocating from another town and has mentioned to his recruiter that his kids play hockey—something uniquely personal that no tool could have known. Will that recruiter be human enough to make sure she provides valuable, personal information to the candidate that assures him this is an opportunity his kids will still have in the new city, making the transition for the candidate’s whole family that much easier?
This human element will continue to be an integral part of a compelling candidate experience. While technology and data can inform our decisions along the way, it’s recruiters themselves who need to be able to engage candidates from the first interaction and tailor their experience around what matters most to the candidate.