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Your Next Recruiter Should Be Equal Parts Sleuth, Seer and Charmer

A great recruiter is curious about people and your business. Look for someone who understands your company’s vision, mission and values and who is capable of growing it one person at a time.

Your Next Recruiter Should Be Equal Parts Sleuth, Seer and Charmer
By: Daniel Bortz
Running a successful business is every CEO's mission. But as business accelerates so too do expectations. That can turn every day into a balancing act of deadlines. Finding the time to recruit all-important new hires can easily fall to the bottom of the list—to the detriment of your growing business. 
If that scenario sounds familiar, it may be time to consider hiring a recruiter for your company. 
So what exactly does a recruiter bring to the table? 
A recruiter’s main job function is problem solving, says Dan Ryan, founder of Ryan Search & Consulting, a talent acquisition and development firm. “Recruiters have to be able to understand their employer’s needs, and find the best talent to fill those needs,” he says.
But that’s not all. “We have to hire talented recruiters who not only understand our business but also understand the labor market,” says Larry Nash, U.S. director of recruiting at EY.
These common sense steps will help you find the best recruiters for your company. 
Zero in on the type of recruiter you need most.  Many companies—particularly large businesses—hire recruiters to focus on a specific level of recruiting. EY, for example, employs college recruiters as well as executive recruiters to better target talent for these significantly different roles. 
“If you’re a college recruiter, we want to know how you build deep relationships with schools,” Nash says. In comparison, “if you’re an executive recruiter, we want to know what experience you have in finding and attracting talent at that level.” 
If you’re considering hiring a recruiter, think about the positions you need to fill and look for recruiters with expertise in those areas. 
Look for recruiters with social media skills. The recruiting world has become laser-focused on social media and online applications, says Ryan. And for good reason—social media is where you’ll find people. According to a 2016 Nielsen report, adults 18+ spend over five hours a week on social media. 
Recruiters who can utilize social media to find and attract top talent can be an asset to your company, especially recruiters with a proven track record in social media recruiting. This applies to not only LinkedIn but also Facebook and Twitter. “A big part of the job is figuring out how to communicate with recruits on these platforms,” says Nash. In other words, can you articulate what job you’re looking to fill in 140 characters? 
Additionally, recruiters with a large number of followers are definitely a plus, given their exposure to the industry’s talent pool. 
Don’t overlook phone communication skills. Phone skills are crucial, since they give employers the ability to screen candidates without having to bring people in for a face-to-face interview. Naturally, one of the best ways to gauge a prospective recruiter’s phone skills is to simply conduct a phone interview with them yourself, says Ryan.
Find people who fit the company’s culture. Every company has a distinct brand—or what’s commonly called an employer brand, Ryan says. Be mindful of what your organization’s culture is when searching for recruiters. It’s also important for prospective recruiters to align with your company’s core values. “Our purpose at EY is to build a better working world, and we look for recruiters who have a passion for doing that,” says Nash.
Seek out recruiters who play well with others. Successful recruiting, like other business functions, requires coordination.  When recruiters, hiring managers and human resource managers all work together, they are better positioned to find fresh talent. Unfortunately, this coordination is sometimes easier said than done. 
One source of friction: hiring managers can feel like recruiters are stepping on their toes, and vice versa. However, “it’s imperative for recruiters and hiring managers to work together as a team,” says Nash. “They have different roles, but they share the same goal,” which is to find the most talented workers in the field. 
To assess the potential of your new hire as a team player, ask how they collaborate with hiring managers and HR at their current company. And don’t overlook the most crucial skill of all—listening. “Listening is the core skill of recruiting,” says James Wright, partner at Bridge Technical Talent
Pay attention to customer service skills. As ambassadors for your business, “recruiters are the face of your company to the public,” says Mikaela Kiner, CEO at Uniquely HR, a career coaching and HR consulting firm. Consequently, “it’s up to the recruiter to ensure every candidate has a positive experience and is left with a good impression of your company, whether or not they get an offer,” says Kiner. 
To more effectively evaluate someone’s customer service skills, you can pose behavioral interview questions such as, “How would you greet new recruits?” or “What would you do if you had a conflict with a recruit?” 
To help get you started with recruiting a recruiter, keep these additional interview questions handy: 
  • What’s your approach to recruiting?
  • Why are you passionate about recruiting?
  • How do you negotiate with top talent?
  • What techniques and tools do you use to find job candidates?
  • How do you assess talent? 
  • What steps do you take when a job candidate you recruited doesn’t get hired?
  • How do you keep track of your candidate pool?
  • How long does it typically take for you to fill a job order?

Working closely with a recruiter who understands your company's values and mission will give you more time to focus on the important task of growing your business and expanding your team.