The Secret Sauce Of Great Recruiters

Posted: 7/24/2013

As seen on LinkedIn.com

By: Tod Sacerdoti

Recruiters generally get little public credit because the naive observer assumes that good companies get talent for free. That is simply not true.

If you look behind the curtain at many of silicon valley's greatest tech companies (Google, Facebook, DropBox, etc) you will find great recruiters. In fact, those recruiters tend to be leaders of large internal recruiting teams and many have materially changed the trajectory of their company's growth, particularly in the formative years.

Great recruiters are different in the way great engineers, great salespeople and great leaders are different -- they have a secret sauce. This secret sauce applies to all roles and levels or recruitment, whether a recruiter is attracting interns, managers or executives.

So, what is the secret sauce of a great recruiter?

1. Authentic Compassion. The best recruiters are often labeled as a "people person" but what that really means is that they are incredible listeners and they truly care about the people they interact with. Compassion is even more powerful in the long term as people build a relationship and interact across multiple roles and/or companies.

2. Agile Builders. The best recruiters are data driven and iterate with the same discipline and frequency as the best software developments teams. Understanding a problem (such as sourcing, interview process, closing a candidate), measuring performance and using a sprint process to optimize results on a regular basis are fundamentally agile development skills and requirements for top recruiters.

3. Positive Marketers. Every interaction an external person has with your company is a marketing impression. This includes every email, phone call or news article, and every person they talk to including a recruiter, front desk admin, interviewer or executive. The best recruiters know this and use every impression as an opportunity to have a positive impact. People often forget that 99% of the time you make an impression on an external person you will not ever hire them so the risk of that impression being negative is high. If every interaction is positive, you will impact not only those individuals but a broad network of potential future hires.

4. Communication Artists. In today's electronic and busy workplace, communication is an often overlooked art. The best recruiters are able to handle three widely varying communication requirements -- sourcing new candidates, rejecting existing candidates and internal process alignment -- with the same level of empathy, positivity and discipline. Each of these communications is an art in its own right and the best recruiters manage all three such that every interaction leads to positive momentum.