“How do I hire and train a new recruiter?” From qualities to look for in a potential candidate, to how to structure a successful training program or overcome common challenges, many firm owners and managers are reluctant to slow down in order to speed up business results. But bringing on someone new without any recruiting experience can yield tremendous results, if approached the right way.
At MRINetwork, we believe the best business advice comes from those who share — and have overcome — your same business challenges. Within the network, we’re constantly impressed by successes realized by MRI search firm owners, managers and recruiters around the world. When it comes to business success, recruiting firms live and die by the caliber and expertise of their internal teams. Without passionate, dedicated recruiters, firms would simply cease to exist.
So how do you bring on someone who’s new to the industry, and set them up for success? In the world of new recruiter training, Lauren Kesterson, President of MRI Raleigh, is a seasoned veteran. Over the course of her 22-year career, Kesterson has helped numerous recruiting professionals to find their footing and establish successful careers. We turned to Kesterson to uncover some of her strategies and secrets to successfully training new recruits.
What to Look for When Hiring New Recruiters
Kesterson began her recruiting career in 1999, joining her mother in the family business after her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. From an internship in physical therapy and sports medicine, Kesterson stepped into the family business and fell in love with recruiting.
When considering potential hires as new recruiters, Kesterson says she looks for people who have a natural curiosity about people, and either a background in sales or experience within a certain industry that they can then specialize in.
She believes recruiting techniques can be taught, but it’s difficult to instill a genuine interest for people, and a desire to help. “The ability to build rapport, be trustworthy, and really dig into the motivations behind why someone would want to take the next step in their career is critical for making the best matches for both our clients and candidates,” she says. “It’s also key to be able to troubleshoot issues. We work with people on both sides of the equation — there is no handbook that covers every possible scenario.”
How Long Does It Take New Recruiters to Get Up to Speed?
Various factors contribute to training time, such as economic conditions and whether new hires are starting from scratch. Kesterson likes to start new recruiters on an existing team, so they can begin recruiting on openings that another recruiter has uncovered right away. Shadowing an experienced recruiter has its benefits, including hearing firsthand how to respond to different situations in a certain specialty area. If a new recruiter is starting without any openings, it takes longer to get up and running. Kesterson believes that with a good coach, a new recruiter can get up to speed within three to six months.
Putting a Solid Recruiter Training Plan in Place
In Kesterson’s experience, a solid training plan is critical. Her advice? Do not wing it. Kesterson recommends formulating an outline for what you want to cover, and making sure your pace matches what your new hire needs. “Sometimes people need more time and practice in different areas, so be flexible to accommodate,” Kesterson advises. “Include new starts on calls, so they can hear real-world examples of how successful and compassionate recruiters work with their clients and candidates.” Role-playing different scenarios can also be very helpful, she adds.
At MRI Raleigh, the firm has one person who oversees training, but will pull in others in the office to assist with different aspects such as technology or procedures. One central lead ensures messaging is consistent from the start, and new hires know exactly who to turn to, without feeling as if they’re pulled in too many different directions.
Others in the office will also invite the new hire to listen to prep calls, closing calls or other calls that provide real-life examples of training in action. In terms of structure, Kesterson says their training is designed to be flexible. “Our training program is more of an outline for 60/90/120 days, but we remain flexible so the next step in training can begin once certain milestones are reached. For example, if we plan to train on a certain type of closing call around day 90 and our new hire has an offer expected from a client at day 75, we adjust our training accordingly.”
What to Do When a New Recruiter Is Struggling
For firms with a green recruiter who may be struggling, Kesterson recommends recording calls and listening to them together. The time investment is minimal, and provides immediate, actionable advice. Depending upon how green a new hire is, Kesterson may recommend the new hire suggest what they could have done differently, to begin evaluating themselves. The tactic allows new hires to be better prepared for different situations, and anticipate different moving parts during calls. Identifying potential opportunities missed gives new recruiters an avenue to better prepare going forward.
How to Know When a New Recruiting Hire Isn’t a Good Fit
In terms of cautionary tales, Kesterson says it’s important to pay attention to the metrics. Some hires may take a bit longer to ramp up, and become superstars. Others may just not be a good fit for recruiting. “If a new hire is doing everything right and their candidates are coming in second, it’s just a matter of time,” Kesterson says. “But if a new hire doesn’t have a healthy level of activity, no amount of time is going to fix the situation.”
Unsure of how to get started and need support?
MRINetwork’s Core program teaches the fundamentals of the Talent Access business while utilizing many of the items mentioned by Lauren. New associates will participate in daily role plays, metrics review, script writing, listening to live “recorded” calls as well as receiving group and one-on-one coaching from our trained Professional Development Managers.
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