Does Your Recruiting Manager Have AAA?

Apr 2, 2008

Recruiting is not always easy. The working hours can be long, and the stress may seem never-ending, but when you have a superb team with an excellent manager, those negatives can turn into positives.

So how do you produce this superb team? The answer is great leadership, and though it may seem simple, there is a lot more to it than just having an experienced manager. The tools to be an effective and successful recruiting or talent-management leader can be broken down into three categories: attributes, association, and application. Or put another way, this is the “triple A” approach.

Breaking Down the AAA Approach

Attributes provide you with the leadership acumen necessary to manage a specific group or team, and in our case, we are dealing with recruiting teams. Why are attributes important? Consider this example: recruiters often use the art of psychological reciprocity, which states that if you give somebody credit for his or her intelligence, they are mentally and morally bound to give you credit for yours. This is a common tactic used by Type A recruiters to probe for a close or even draw out feedback to their own accomplishments. It sounds a little like reverse psychology.

Type A personalities are highly competitive, so it is important that you develop effective attributes in order to successfully manage your team and common behavior patterns associated with it. So use the following:

  • Consistency is important when you are managing a recruiting team. You are consistent in your decisions, your attitude, and how you manage individually as well as collectively.
  • Vision matters. I remember Michael Jordan saying during an ESPN interview that he envisioned himself winning a championship, completing a shot, and reaching all of his goals before he ever did it. The same applies when you are managing the recruitment process. You must envision the success of your team first.
  • Flexibility is very important, especially when you have an office full of type A go-getters. If you provide flexibility to your team, you have essentially created trust. This goes a long way from the traditional hands-on approach, which can be taken in a negative way. You are flexible and encourage communication, not intimidation. You are flexible with ideas and strategy or you’re open to change (also called adaptability!). This attitude encourages open communication.
  • Focus keeps your team on track and whether it is a weekly production review or mentoring a junior recruiter, your focus must always be consistent so that your team will stay on track. As managers, you are always being looked at by the team above you and the one working with you. Your focus and determination is infectious.
  • Commitment will provide continuing reassurance and confidence in your ability to provide support to your recruiting team.

Association gives you the ability to network with your team in as many areas a possible. As a manager, it is important that you encourage and allow the association of your team in as many different areas as possible collectively which will not only increase your marketing but showcases your organization as a team or brand, not an individual. A great example of this would be having your entire team register online with many of the different networking sites, as well as local organizations like SHRM. Your role as a manager is to coordinate these associations in a positive way, not as an inconvenient task. Your team will soon see the value of association and the benefits because of it.

Association has a lot of branding characteristics as well. You can measure the brand equity within your own recruiting team by the total value of the brand to your team. Are they passionate and proud of their organization and eager to be associated with it? Do they feel your passion and are you able to inspire them to do better? These questions will give you an idea of your association and its brand equity.

Application is how you apply your management skills successfully in order to achieve the recruiting team’s success. How you manage your team is important because everybody on your team has a different level of skill or experience. In combination with the five attributes discussed above, you are developing your team to achieve more by focusing on each individual’s strengths and encouraging them to develop more. This is called application. Example: If you have a recruiter who is excellent on the phone but is not a strong interviewer, then you need to mentor and coach this recruiter in a positive way while recognizing their strengths as well. Sound familiar?

Successfully applying good leadership and management skills through positive reinforcement reduces stress and inspires others to do well. The best way to incorporate application is to let each member know what they can do in order for the team to be successful and how their strengths are helping everyone reach that goal. If you allow each team member to apply his or her strengths while mentoring and coaching any weaknesses, you will develop a much better team overall.

If you are having difficulty producing that winning team, then I urge you to use the AAA approach. Get your team on-board and explain what you are doing. It is easy for a manager to think he or she is doing the right thing. But if you have a plan and focus on your own attributes as a leader, your association as a group or team, and your application of your management style, then you will see a noticeable difference in your relationships at work and the attainment numbers at the end of the year.


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