Inexperience and Criticism: A Potentially Powerful Sourcing Tool Combination

Jul 29, 2014
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

New recruiters that have chosen recruiting as a career path are not always going to have an easy transition into their profession. Developing critical sourcing skills takes time. Yet time is something that recruiters are always fighting against, as they are trying to meet the needs of their clients. From my own, albeit short, experience, I know the challenges recruiting can have in a fast- paced working environment. I also know that the proper mindset and being open to criticism is critical to my success. Constructive criticism from superiors can become an important sourcing tool.

My New Path into Sourcing:

It was six months ago that I was a retail sales associate and made the decision to start my career in recruiting. Why did I choose recruiting as a career option? I have a passion for helping people. In my previous job, I was recognized for assisting both coworkers and customers. After a few years of learning how to retain professional relationships with clients and exceeding client expectations, I wanted to be more challenged. I heard about recruiting opportunities from other colleagues and how rewarding the job of a recruiter can be. While practicing and developing my skills in sales and client relations, I could also help qualified candidates in need of a job that can change their lives. I believe that it was my desire of helping others and my drive to become a valued team member that helped me ace the interview. I guess understanding the basic concept of recruiting didn’t hurt either.

In recruiting you have to “sell” the candidate to the client and, likewise, “sell” the client to the candidate. Even though, I was new to the overall aspect of recruiting and its terminology and felt a little intimidated at first. I was ready to face the challenges and felt grateful for the support and professional development the company was offering.

The company I am working for has an outstanding training program that all new hires are required to complete. I learned very soon, that for an inexperienced recruiter, it is important to not only complete professional development programs, but to take in every piece of advice and feedback from superiors or more experienced colleagues. Such feedback, positive or negative can turn to a professional growth opportunity and ultimately lead to success.

Assess the Problems in Your Sourcing Efforts:

A big mistake recruiters can make in early stages of their careers is underestimating the value of feedback from their superiors. I remember the first account I worked on required me to source high volumes of qualified candidates in a short time period. Instinctively, I took the route of looking into a number of popular job boards. While this is always a good option, it should never be the primary and only sourcing tool. My search for candidates centered around one job board and, as a result of not following up on my superior’s tips, both the quality and the quantity of my search suffered. I spent valuable time and energy looking into only one resource rather than taking advantage of other influential recruiting sites that could have helped me build a solid pipeline and improve my sourcing efforts. More experienced recruiters know that when pipelining, they must keep an ongoing flow of connections and leads that result in having access and visibility into the most qualified candidates. So, if I wanted to create a solid pipeline, I first had to ask myself not what I have done, but what I have not done.

Recruiters: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Once I evaluated answers to my questions, the solutions became quite evident. I realized I was not utilizing all of the resources provided during the training program, such as: Jobvertise, Jobspider, or Resume Bucket, or social media channels, such as: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. I have not created job postings on the Jobs4Jobs website or Craigslist to bring a cycle of candidates to me. I was also missing out on a crucial sourcing tool I was not I asking for referrals from candidates that were a perfect fit for a job. I adjusted my searches to expand the candidate pools. Instead, I used very generic search strings. I stayed in my comfort zone, focusing on a primary job board rather than researching and keeping up with the newest sourcing tools that could have maximized my time. Consequently, my sourcing results were limited given the time I spent. And for me, as for other rookie recruiters, time is of an essence as we try to meet our numbers and reach business goals competing against more seasoned colleagues. After my leader gave me an honest and not so positive feedback about my limited results, there was a moment when I started to doubt my recruiting ability. But doubting yourself is not going to help you develop as a successful recruiter. In fact, it may ultimately hurt your professional development. What I realized was that my leader was not trying to criticize my efforts after all, since I was working very hard, but rather help me get out of the comfort zone that I and so many new recruiters fall into.

Practice Creative Sourcing techniques:

A successful recruiter knows how to become creative in the search for candidates. Many sourcing tools are used in a specific way where each search may lead to a direct candidate based on qualifications. However, I did not want to rely on using a sourcing tool in one specific way. I wanted to figure out how to creatively use each tool and contact numerous candidates that are seemingly difficult to find. Using websites like Ziprecruiter is a great example of how to effectively combine creativity with sourcing techniques. This website provides a 30 day free trial to search resumes and make postings. So to creatively use this site in sourcing efforts? During the free trial, you can look at the summary of the resume before accepting the full view. When a candidate seems qualified, you can input the name within the summary into Monster or into social media like LinkedIn. Eventually, you may recognize a large amount of potential candidates in a specific company and add the name into the search terms. You get up to three resumes that you can view after entering their search terms, but the information within each resume summary can be used in other job boards such as Monster. The limit of how many resumes can be viewed is counted only when you accept the full view of each resume. Using sourcing tools creatively leads to broader search terms and search strings that you may have not considered before that can help your sourcing efforts.

Building Your Personal Brand:

What does “personal brand” mean to a new recruiter? Is building your brand i important to your sourcing strategy? Yes, it is. What’s more, building your personal brand is an on-going process. It happens when you are networking on social media, when you interact with a candidate, and when you work with your colleagues. Personal brand is critical to your reputation as a recruiter. Whether you are trying to source through social media or by phone, it is not always about finding the candidate today but about being helpful, thoughtful, respectful and insightful to help your sourcing efforts. Candidates will come to you with referrals. People interested in the positions that you have, will reach out to you through LinkedIn or Facebook. When you build trust with your internal and external customers, you will earn their respect. With your customers’ respect and trust, you will become a more successful recruiter.

Get Into a Proper Sourcing Mode:

My experience, or frankly lack of it, combined with my leader’s feedback and criticism, was a great lesson. I learned that if you get positive results from a sourcing tool, you should keep using it and that you should continue updating and refining the tools you use to meet your goals. In order to develop and build on a sourcing strategy, get rid of any doubt regarding your new career in recruiting. Be confident enough to explore any and all possible recruiting sites. Consider feedback from more experienced colleagues and from your superiors. Learn from their success and failures. And,…learn from your failures as well. Explore each tool to determine their effectiveness and how they are helping you find the perfect candidate. Assure that both your name and your company’s brand you are representing are prominently displayed. This added exposure helps spread the word among qualified candidates familiar with the company. Remember, they know others with similar qualifications and can act as leads.

All Recruiters Are Connected:

Inexperienced recruiters may struggle at the beginning of their new career path. But no matter the level of a recruiter, all of us have experienced a time when we needed to readjust our sourcing strategies. It is critical that new recruiters assess not what they have already done in their sourcing efforts, but what they need to start doing or do better. They need to seek out any useful recruiting tools, and analyze the professional advice or criticism they receive. Good recruiters are not evaluated on how often they do well, but on their flexibility and the ability to adjust in a constantly changing, uncertain and increasingly demanding work environment.

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This article is part of a series called News & Trends.