Good recruiters, who can develop effective recruitment strategies and quickly build a pipeline of top talent for their employees, are becoming hot commodities. If you could trade in professional staff, then the share price for recruiters would be high and climbing for the foreseeable future. This is because of the impact of the well documented global talent shortages of US businesses – Deloitte goes as to far to suggest that there is a talent crisis in global manufacturing – which means that effective recruiters are highly prized assets. Add to this the effects of the ageing population and low birth rates of many western economies and we can expect talent shortages to remain with us for many years to come.
This all means that there has potentially never been a better time to be in the recruiting career and below we have set out ten tips on developing a successful and long-term career in the recruiting sector.
1. Embrace technology – Innovate and adopt early
We are in the grip of a technological revolution and it is reshaping the landscape of business and recruitment, year over year. First it was Internet recruiting, then cloud based candidate tracking, social recruitment, and mobile recruitment. But, what next? We don’t know, but what we do know is that each new change brings new capabilities and efficiencies that will give early adopters an edge over their laggard counterparts. Therefore, individual recruiters must embrace technology if they are to remain at the forefront of their profession. It’s time to stop being scared that technology can replace recruiters. It just won’t – embrace it as a constructive force.
2. Be able to recruit effectively across generations
We have talked about this before, but this is the first time in history that we have had four generations, working side by side in the workplace: Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. In 10 years or so time, when the post millennials start hitting the workplace, you could be facing five generations. To be successful in their profession, recruiters must be able to develop recruitment strategies that effectively target and attract individuals from every generational grouping. Developing a solid understanding of demographic based recruitment advertising and marketing strategies is a good idea.
3. Be able to recruit internationally
Globalization is no longer a phenomenon, but a fact. Western businesses need to expand into emerging market to develop new business channels and seek certain specialized and technical talent. Businesses must have effective international recruitment strategies to do this. Recruiters who want to play a big part in the future of global resourcing must be able to source talent globally and understand recruiting as the supply chain of talent.
4. Spend time working in a large organization to build a powerful network
Working in a large organization means that you will be have the opportunity to build relationships with a lot of executives who will become your network and more importantly your clients (should you move into agency side recruiting), when you leave the company. A powerful network will get you jobs, clients and candidates. Look to diversify your background with multiple types of companies: startups, big enterprises, mid-sized businesses, etc… Diversity lends expertise and creates a powerful professional network.
5. Specialize within a sector or profession
Developing a recruiting specialism in a specific sector or profession is a sure fire way to differentiate yourself from the masses. This should make you more both employable, effective and worthy of greater financial compensation. However, if you do “go specific” and pick a specialized sector or skill-base, make sure it is in an area with good prospects. Additionally, always supplement industry or professional specialization with business knowledge so that your knowledge will remain transferable.
6. Remain flexible so you can change specialization in a sector downturn
While we said to specialize above, you should also remain flexible and retain the capacity to move into other professions, just in case there is a downturn in your chosen industry. It could be that you try to specialize in two or three professional areas, therefore spreading your risk. Additionally, diversify your functional areas of work as much as possible: try to work in different capacities, such as in management, sourcing, branding, sales, assessments, and hiring negotiation.
7. Research and develop specialization in growth areas
Recruiters who are abreast of current economic and industry trends can ensure that they focus on areas, industries or professions that are showing most growth, meaning there will be always be great demand for their services and area of specialism. Keep on top of business and macroeconomic trends – you can’t always get into these trends in your actual job, but you can ensure that you aren’t in a particularly dying or anemic sector.
8. Build an independent network of both employers and recruiters.
Ensure that your are constantly building and developing your own independent network of employers and staff, separate from any employer owned network. Your network is a gold-mine and when you leave, this network can help you to establish your own recruitment agency, or to hit the ground running as an agency or corporate recruiter. It will be a key career progression tool for you. Make sure that you do this in your off hours so that it doesn’t eat into your primary job responsibilities. However, networking within the recruitment industry can also help with your current job, especially if you are in agency recruiting.
9. Develop a client-centered approach.
A client-centered approach is a more consultative approach to recruitment that focuses on meeting both the short and long term needs of the client. For example, the short-term ensures there is a ‘bum in the seat’ but the long term approach looks to hire an employee who will perform well and be retained for the long term. This cuts right to the heart of the talent shortages in the US, because although there are plenty of candidates, there are not enough suitably skilled candidates who will deliver value in the long term. A client-centered approach to recruitment can yield more suitable candidates/appointments making the client-centered recruiter more attractive.
A business or human resources degree can put you ahead of the competition. Set yourself apart from your peers by gaining additional qualifications such as recruitment or HR certifications, or even an MBA.