The first five years as a recruiter are critical, as you learn the business and make a name for yourself. Given the messiness of human relationships and changing markets, the road to success is often unclear. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to accelerate results as a rookie recruiter. Here are a few tips from rising stars within the MRINetwork to help you hit the ground running and gain momentum in your first few years.
Expect the Unexpected
With nearly five years in the search business, Dusty Hoefs, Manager of Recruitment at Wisconsin-based PointOne Recruiting Solutions, says it’s important to understand that recruiting is not always going to go the way you want it to. Hoefs got into recruiting when PointOne’s President/Owner Scott Petersen was willing to take a chance on a college grad without any experience.
“I knew nothing about the recruiting industry when I started, but I knew Scott had season tickets for the Milwaukee Bucks, so I figured it’d be worth a shot,” Hoefs quips. “Be prepared to have tough conversations with candidates and clients, and expect the unexpected. Working in recruiting is a roller coaster, and you have to be able to balance the good and the bad.”
Hoefs suggests that all new recruiters utilize available training to stay current with new ideas and trends. In terms of an ah-ha moment early on in his career, Hoefs recommends “The Inverted Funnel,” a specialized training program offered through MRI. After attending the training and diving into niche recruiting and contingent search, Hoefs says things began to click for him as a recruiter.
Bryce Purdy, Banking and Finance Recruiter at Management Recruiters of Spokane, also encourages new recruiters to listen and learn. “I would recommend emerging recruiters soak up as much as possible in the training provided,” he says. “The entire MRINetwork has been very supportive and open to sharing tactics and tools.”
Be Confident in the Value that You Bring
Rejection stings in any industry, but it’s particularly hard to take when you’re just starting out. Hoefs says it took him some time to build confidence in the value that he was delivering. Once he understood the vital role of his abilities and offering, however, it was easier to make cold calls.
David Chakmakjian, Executive Recruiter at Miller Resource Group, faced similar obstacles. Looking back, he acknowledges that it’s much harder to obtain clients when you’re a new recruiter. “You are mainly planting seeds at first, since you aren’t really well known yet.” Chakmakjian says it took time to gain confidence, especially when speaking to higher-ups. He recommends new recruiters connect early and often with leaders in higher-level positions to build connections and opportunities.
Focus on Solutions, Not Sales
With a focus on relationships, Chakmakjian made it a point to reach out to hiring managers and c-level professionals in his DIG (discipline, industry, or geography). Not to sell, but just to introduce himself and ask people how they were doing. Looking to contribute within his DIG, Chakmakjian began to post articles and videos, and engage in companies’ posts more often.
Find Answers in Data
Chakmakjian believes the support of Miller Resource Group’s leadership was critical in opening doors and helping him to improve his approach. “They keep detailed metrics of everything. It helped me to understand where I should focus my efforts, for example, increasing candidate conversations each day.” Measuring activities against outcomes, Chakmakjian was able to refine his efforts and maximize results.
Build a Strong Peer Community
Josh Mayo, Account Executive Recruiter at Shurig Solutions, points to a strong peer community as a powerful differentiator. Mayo looks to others in the business to understand what has worked in the past, and what pitfalls to avoid. “Take advice from all of those around you who have figured out their way,” he advises. “Talk to someone who has been in the industry for 30 years, talk to the rookie of the year last year, talk to those who are everywhere in the middle.”
Give Yourself Grace
As you grow in your recruiting career, it’s important to acknowledge that everyone is human and everyone has been right where you are now. “Starting in this business is hard; that is why so many people don’t make it,” Mayo says. “There is a lot of rejection and many things to mess up that you don’t even know you did wrong, until it derails the process.”
Merissa Combel, Recruiter at Julison Sell Search Team agrees, adding, “You can never grow unless you get a little uncomfortable. If you mess up, so what. Everyone is a newbie at some point in their career, so give yourself some grace.”
Focusing on transparency and the human aspect of the business has helped Combel to forge deeper connections. “One thing I apply to every conversation is creating a connection,” Combel says. “The job is only part of it. Creating an authentic relationship with individuals, and offering the benefits of working with a recruiter goes further than just moving jobs.”
Follow Your Own Path
Combel recommends seeking out your own brand, and leveraging the unique qualities and talents that you bring. Finding your foothold as a new recruiter, be true to yourself. Lean on others’ experience and expertise, but create your own path as you build a career that you love.