In the Age of Automation, Recruiting Recruiters Takes on New Urgency

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Automation is drastically changing workplaces across industries, and employers are finding many of their current employees lack the necessary skills to operate today’s high-tech tools and equipment.

Combine these hard-to-find but in-demand skills with an already low unemployment rate, and it’s no surprise that many companies are putting great pressure on their staffing partners to find qualified candidates. For recruiters working in these staffing agencies, this means more on-the-job stress, leading often to burnout and turnover.

Staffing experts take great pride in being able to find the right person for the right job — but how can they address severe talent shortages for clients when they are struggling to meet their own talent needs?

Build Awareness, Crush Misperceptions

There’s no recruiting major in college, so people learn about the field in other ways. They may have a family member or friend who introduces them to the field, or they may stumble across it during a job search. Making a more concerted effort to introduce younger generations to recruiting as a career is critical to building a robust staffing talent pool. Staffing agencies should participate in job fairs, attend college and career events at local high schools, and network at community colleges.

Staffing agencies must also ensure younger talent pools are getting the right messages about recruiting as a career. Many people view recruiting as an offshoot of human resources, and while there is some overlap, recruiting is also closely related to sales, making it a very dynamic and creative profession. Recruiting is an active job that allows people to get out in the field and work directly with clients, candidates, and community members. A dedicated staffing agency recruiter has the ability to change lives. They can put a college graduate on the first step of their career path, help a parent find a job to support their family, or transition a veteran into a second career.

Identify What Makes a Good Recruiter

A good recruiter is someone who is insightful and receptive — someone who is able to look beyond resumes and job descriptions to better understand personality traits, short-term goals, long-term ambitions, and corporate cultures. Staffing firm recruiters need to be flexible, and they should have a sense of urgency so they’re ready to jump on any opportunity.

Finally, a strong recruiter gets satisfaction from helping people but is also resilient. They understand they may not always be able to make a perfect placement, but they can bounce back from rejection easily and quickly.

Train and Retain

To ensure that new recruiters thrive in the profession — and therefore stick around — staffing firms need to focus on on-the-job training. Provide new recruiters with guidance, support, and reassurance. Help them strengthen the core traits they need: insightfulness, receptiveness, flexibility, responsiveness, and resiliency.

Mentors are also valuable, especially when it comes to helping recruiters understand clients’ unique styles, personalities, and hiring requirements. The industry moves quickly, so it’s impossible for a mentor to be there every step of the way. However, the best mentors will act as tough trainers who motivate recruiters to push through even the most difficult circumstances.

Competitive pay and benefits are important for retention, but good recruiters also want clear career paths. Give new recruiters well-defined roadmaps that show them how to advance in the organization and how to gain skills that make them more marketable. Some development opportunities to consider offering your recruiters include:

  1. Involvement with advertising, social media, and public relations campaigns
  2. Formal training through outside conferences and seminars
  3. Cross-training that moves employees into different vertical markets or geographies
  4. Connections with local professional organizations and community groups
  5. Exposure to new technology and software

Build Community Connections

Retention can also be improved through employee engagement. A Corporate Executive Board study  found that the employees most committed to their organizations are 87 percent less likely to resign than disengaged employees.

Building connections between employees and their communities through volunteer work and other outreach efforts can improve employee engagement — while also introducing recruiters to potential candidates and clients. Managers should identify volunteer opportunities that will be rewarding for recruiters but also manageable in light of their workloads.

Managers can also match their recruiters’ skills with local needs. For example, recruiters could teach high school students job interview techniques, or they could work with community organizers to help unemployed people gain the skills and certifications needed for area job openings.

If staffing agencies want to address the talent shortages of their clients, they first need to attract and retain their own qualified, passionate recruiter workforces. While it can be demanding, staffing agency recruiting changes lives by connecting people with employment, making it an extremely rewarding career. By connecting with the right talent pools, offering the right workplace opportunities, and sending the right messages, staffing agencies can onboard new recruiters who get results.

Amy Langston is regional director of Premier Staffing, a BelFlex company.

By Amy Langston