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Beyond Recruiter Excellence – Part 3: Personal Add-ons

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I have used the analogy of software add-ons to describe how we can take excellence, add something that is not part of the original design and improve the product. Some recruiter add-ons are professional in nature and there is not much of a stretch to dovetail them into the main characteristics of the profession. They fit like a glove, but are not absolutely necessary for excellence. Other add-ons are environmental in nature and even though they are outside of the generally accepted recruiter job characteristics they enhance overall performance. They are the “other duties as prescribed” part of the job description and are also above and beyond the scope of excellence. A final set of add-ons are the ones that contribute to making the recruiter a better person. These enhance professionalism by going beyond that which is expected and therefore going beyond excellence.

These add-ons should not be confused with the ultra-personal, inner make-up of recruiters that crafts their beliefs, morals and basic personality. Deciding to work on those aspects is a decision to become a better person, a fact which may influence becoming a better recruiter, but does not necessarily take someone beyond recruiting excellence. A choice to go beyond excellence in recruiting will involve going the extra mile in their non-recruiting talents:

People Skills – By nature, recruiters must be able to work with all types of people. An excellent recruiter will not be thin skinned and can deal with push-back, discontent, misinformation and be able to react to just about any adverse situation. Going beyond excellence requires being proactive in becoming the person that everybody wants for a friend. The extraordinary recruiter is respected and seen to be a professional and the go-to person for assistance. Dale Carnegie wrote so eloquently in “How to Win Friends and Influence People” that it all begins with talking in terms of the other person’s interests. Going beyond excellence means that the recruiter is not just giving it lip service but genuinely respects others and their way of looking at things.

Administrative Excellence – In a recruiting universe where there is so much detail to handle it sometimes becomes almost unbearable. The excellent recruiter can track details and fine tune processes to protect important data…and people. Going a step beyond 100% excellence is becoming intimately knowledgeable about processes related to each candidate and assuming ownership of each step. Nothing can undo the perfect hire experience like that first paycheck not coming as expected. This is not the responsibility of the recruiter, but going beyond excellence means that a preventive mindset is in place and there is an awareness of everything that is happening. Problems are solved by action and not finger pointing.

Technology Leadership – The professional side of recruiting requires above average computer literacy and an understanding of the systems that keep the processes flowing. Excellence is defined by an in-depth knowledge of this process and flawless execution. Going beyond professional excellence requires exercising a curiosity that is never satisfied with today’s systems. I got a very surprised reaction when I told an out-of-work recruiter friend who was always joking about “that Twitter thing” that I would never hire a recruiter who was not proficient in social media. He is an excellent recruiter and will always be at the top of his peers, but how much better would he be if he not only became a social recruiter, but also was constantly searching for something better. Going beyond excellence means keeping an open mind and continuously trying out new things. Recognizing that technology for technology’s sake is not the answer, the extraordinary recruiter will intuitively know when something won’t work, but only after honestly trying.

Leadership – It is not required that recruiters have a posse of followers, however the excellent recruiter will lead by example. Going beyond excellence requires leading by foresight. Anticipation of the unknown and preparedness to respond will blaze the trail for others to follow…and they will. Personnel turnover and reorganizations can confuse any process and that includes time proven recruiting practices. Many organizations do not have a lengthy corporate memory which means that former projects will be forgotten and retried with probably the same negative results. It takes going far beyond working the everyday to-do list to research all that has gone before and test history before repeating it. When people forget, the extraordinary recruiter will remember for them.

Courage – The safest path is always to walk right down the middle and not rock the boat. Excellent recruiters will be innovative and overcome obstacles in the way of hiring the right candidate or implementing best practices. Going beyond excellence means that the recruiter sometimes must sacrifice self to get things done right. Political naiveté usually will result in counterproductive results, but to allow politics to interfere with what is right requires standing up to people who can adversely impact a job or even a career. When protocol is an organizational roadblock to progress it has outlived its usefulness and must change. Going beyond excellence requires respectfully challenging authority in the name of progress.

Many of the aspects of Excellence+ could be challenged as being really non-essential. In a world where resources are scarce there has to be balance between the costs of getting the job done and the additional costs of getting it done better. Every aspect of the job has a calculable ROI and determination has to be made personally if it is worth the effort. None of the add-ons to the recruiting career will really change the definition of excellence, but going beyond excellence will always make a difference in the long run.

Beyond Recruiting Excellence



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