Who Makes a Great Recruiter

As the skills shortage persists, so does the demand for recruiters. The increased demand has put a further strain on an already over-tapped pool of experienced talent. More and more organizations are turning to people without any recruiting experience to stem the shortfalls.

Problem is, hiring people without experience can be hit or miss. But some roles consistently transfer exceedingly well, because of the nature of those jobs, and more importantly, the types of people drawn to those professions.

In reviewing recruiting teams in 1,100 organizations, six roles have shown up consistently in producing transferable talent who become great recruiters … great in how quickly they’ve ramped up, fit in, and gone on to meet or exceed expectations.

Not everyone from these six roles becomes a stellar recruiter. There are no absolutes, especially in hiring. However, the consistency among these six makes them top contenders for your next recruiting hire.

Role #1: Commercial Collection Agents

The skip-tracing skills of commercial collectors help them efficiently research the whereabouts of top talent. Since persistence is the name of the game when collecting debt, they tend to have better-than-average abilities at following through and staying in touch. Add this to the B2B focus of their work, and you’ve got a potent combination that’s made this a favorite hire of recruiting leaders.

Role #2: Professional Fundraisers

You hear lots of “no” when selling people on an idea to get them to part with their hard-earned cash. The thick skin of professional fundraisers makes them well prepared for handling rejection and savvy at selling top talent on the idea of parting ways with their current employer.

Role #3: Retail Managers

Managers in retail spend long hours and many weekends dealing with difficult customers. The typical weekday schedule in recruiting is a welcome change as they apply their customer service and problem-solving skills. Retail managers are particularly successful in organizations where recruiters spend more of their time in face-to-face meetings with candidates.

Role #4: Political Campaign Staff

The fast-paced high-octane environment of a campaign prepares these prospective recruiters with important skills. These include managing competing priorities, dealing with challenging expectations, and achieving difficult deadlines. A recruiting opportunity offers them many of the adrenaline-filled opportunities without the career interruption that comes at the end of campaign.

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Role #5: Professional Organization Staff

People from trade associations, chambers of commerce, and other membership organizations often have superior networking skills and extensive contacts. Selling opportunity is second nature, as is building rapport. The income potential in recruiting frequently exceeds the compensation ceiling in their current line of work.

Role #6: Call-center Managers

Recruiting teams seeking people who can create a positive candidate experience over the phone are having success with call-center managers. Their background helps them effectively compete for top talent and efficiently make and receive a high volume of calls.

As you consider people with these backgrounds take steps to ensure their fitness for the unique needs of your team. Here are three methods that will help.

Define Cultural Attributes

People who come from transferable roles don’t always fit. The most common reason is culture. Cultural fit on a recruiting team can be quite different from fundraising, retail, politics, and the other roles. Look for patterns among the backgrounds and personalities of the people who’ve succeeded on your team. These attributes codify your culture as it relates to hiring. Make these attributes a requirement for every person you hire.

Show Instead of Tell

The verbal skills of people from these six roles tend to be above average. Don’t let them talk themselves into a job on your team. Leaders who do frequently regret these hires. Instead have candidates show you (by performing sample work in an interview) that they possess the transferable abilities and traits required for success.

Do a Reality Check

Nothing kills a new hire more quickly than unclear expectations. Required daily activities is a repeat offender. Too many people coming into recruiting don’t understand the sheer volume of work required on a daily basis. During interviews make clear the amount of calls, documentation, interviews, e-mails, paperwork, and other activities that come with the job. But don’t leave it at that. Include these expectations in writing and have the candidate sign-off their acknowledgement. This will scare off some people, but better that a glimpse of reality end a future bad hire than having to terminate someone for real.

As president of the Wintrip Consulting Group, Scott Wintrip has helped thousands of companies improve their ability to hire talent on demand. He helped these organizations to grow faster, increase revenues, improve profitability, and expand market share. In the process of advising, educating, and coaching his clients, he has created more than $1.3 billion in positive economic impact for them. An astute strategist, he is respected for his strong leadership and practical advice. He is also the author of High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant (McGraw-Hill, April 2017). You can learn more about him and his services at WintripConsultingGroup.com.

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