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Nov 1, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

In the recruitment and sourcing world, there will always be a different set of opinions as to what makes an individual great at what they do. In today’s world, recruiters and sourcers, regardless of whether they work on the agency side or whether they work on the corporate side, share two common threads. The first thread is the bottom line goal in fulfilling open job orders. The second thread is to grow within oneself as time and experience build.

Aristotle once said, “for the things, we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” So the recruiting question is what came first, the chicken or the egg? One can argue either way however based on various opinions throughout the recruitment world, the chicken had to learn and practice to lay the egg. The egg could not be taught to become a chicken.

To figure out which side you would fall under look no further than Tim Tebow. Tebow spent three years in the National Football League from 2010 to 2012. Fast forward to current time and he is presently in the Arizona Fall League for the New York Mets playing baseball. Tebow spent a good majority of his life learning, practicing football only to now have to relearn and practice something he has not done since high school. When you look at recruitment (regardless of whether it is technology or non-tech based), should there be or could there be an instructional league to which individuals can either learn the trade or if one has an experience where they can hone their craft to get better?

As Gavin Frater, a senior recruitment and sales executive said “my day to day routines afford absolutely no time to hone my craft, unlike baseball, every second of my day is critical to the future of my career. There is no ‘batting practice’ in agency recruitment, no time to go offline and hone my skills.”

A recruiter and/or a sourcer could envelop approximately anywhere from 10-25 unique jobs that they must cover. For example Kiley Rumpf who has about three years in the recruitment cycle is presently working on 25+ unique roles. Measuring the time that which it takes to fill each position, could prevent him the time to practice and learn new techniques that can be used to find candidates previously thought to be a purple squirrel, which when you think about it, helps his employer in the long run.

Frater has had no real training, he was left to his own devices when it came to the sourcing side of the business. He learned through trial and error more than a defined structure. Kim Sivori, a senior member of the IT space, has said that being able to hone one’s craft is different for everyone and in a very transactional environment. She finds most people don’t take the time to get really good because there’s the constant pressure to produce.

At nearly 300 percent, turnover in the staffing industry is perhaps the highest of any industry in the nation. In 2013, staffing employee turnover was 263 percent, down from 294% in 2012. As our economy continues its uptick it will impact the need by companies to hire internal employees and even use agency suppliers. With that uptick will be the need for what industry calls experienced recruiters and sourcers. Which brings it back to the chicken or the egg. How can a company hire those experienced if they are not getting time to become experienced?

Sam Poulis a seasoned professional in staffing whose spent time both on the agency side but also on the corporate side, has stated that there are organizations that hire candidates early in their career or coming from different industries specifically so they can train them on their best practices without having to break any “bad habits” acquired from being in the industry. Recent graduates are hired and then trained but are quickly thrown into the fire pretty once trained. Now mind you every company’s definition of training varies and often isn’t uniform across the recruitment space.

Some companies will give you a phone, a computer and tell you to “smile and dial.” There are those companies that have you read books about who they are but not truly how to be a good sourcer or recruiter. Raymond Hoffman, a Talent Acquisition and HR Manager for Kasisto Inc, knows a little about being the teacher rather than the pupil.

Hoffman said, “I’ve trained a lot of recruiters and if you want to be effective the first thing you do is have them stick to an outline and look over their work and critique what they did until they are doing a good job. Then if you are a good teacher and mentor you let them deviate from the outline, because they have gained insight from experience and you don’t want them to be robots.”

There are no detailed courses one can take as if going to college (whether on campus or remote online). There are no sessions where you can continually practice before even trying to source and recruit for your employer or client. Companies can elicit their employees to go to conferences, take webinars but like a cat with a ball of yarn, the attention span quickly waivers. It waivers because as soon as those webinars are over and the conferences are completed everyone goes back into their daily routine already constructed as if they are Jim Carrey in the Truman Show movie.

Recruiters and sourcers must be able to shut the Outlook off, must be able to find their Jedi mind tricks to get beyond the daily malaise to enable themselves the opportunity to get better, to learn new methods. It should not matter whether you are a college graduate just joining or an 18 year experienced recruiter – use the force.

Baseball players take hundreds of swings in the batting cage before a game to get better and basketball players shoot a ton of shots before and after a game to get better. Sourcers and recruiters have one shot per candidate without hesitation or room for error with the candidate. After all, the candidate seems to remember everything you say even if you did not even say anything. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was an AAA division where recruiters and sourcers of any distinction level can take a step back, not worry about emails or any day to day things and simply learn and practice so that when they are in the big leagues they are better off?

Tebow might succeed or he might fail at baseball, however, he is on a day in and day out practicing and learning the tools of his craft. He has those that are showing him the dos and do not’s every single moment possible. Michelangelo couldn’t paint the Sistine Chapel without the tools. James Hoban wasn’t able to design the White House without learning about architecture. Kanye West would not be able to… well, that is another story for another time!






This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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