11 Essential Tips for Successful Recruiting from Experts

Choosing a career in recruiting isn’t for the faint of heart. However, it can also be an incredibly rewarding profession if you’re driven and motivated to succeed.

So how do you find success in the recruiting industry? We asked top recruiting professionals who are experts in their fields for the best piece of advice they received when they were first starting their careers. Check out their responses below.

1. Don't hesitate to reach out

Robin Schwartz, PHRHR Director, Career Igniter

When I began recruiting over 11 years ago, the best piece of advice I was given was that almost every potential candidate in the market is “passively looking” for the next opportunity. Meaning, I shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to highly skilled candidates with opportunities, even if they indicated they weren’t seeking new employment. Nearly everyone will be willing to hear about a great job opportunity that might offer better benefits, pay, growth, etc. Even if they pass, it’s common they can recommend a colleague or friend that might want to hear about great career opportunities.

2. Don't just consider the resume

Beth Tucker, President and Chief Executive Officer, KNF&T Staffing Resources

The best piece of recruiting advice I can give is to look beyond the resume. We find that you can miss out on great talent if you’re relying too heavily on matching the exact experience a person has on their resume with your job description. Asking the right questions during the interview can uncover specific motivators and growth potential. As a staffing firm, this has played a key part in our approach to hiring internally and is what we advise our clients. We’ve hired people from all different backgrounds who may not have had extensive experience, but demonstrated the right drive and attitude to succeed, grow, and learn.

3. Know your metrics and persevere

Chris Gardner, CEO and Executive Recruiter, Artemis Consultants

Know your metrics. If you know what metrics you need to achieve on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, you’ll know how to hit your target. You’ll experience both extremes of emotions. Enjoy the high times and know that the low times are temporary. Perseverance breeds success in the recruiting industry. Take exceptional care of each client. Provide superior customer service. This includes a collaborative approach with open and frequent communication with candidates and clients.

4. Know your ABC's

Alex Benjamin, Agency Recruiter and Founder of Recruiter Written

The ABCs of recruiting: Always Be Closing. Every conversation with a candidate needs incorporate closing questions. Offers are great, but the only ones that count are acceptances. Spend less time with the “No” candidates to free up more time to find the “Yes” candidates. Building candidate relationships is important, but there are only so many hours in the day. Once you find out a candidate is not qualified or not interested in the job, quickly end the conversation and move on. Spending an extra 10, 20, or 30 minutes talking about their career goals is not going to fill your reqs. Be nice, listen, get to the point, and move on. Recruiting is 90% sourcing. Without candidates in the pipeline, jobs won’t be filled. Having a steady candidate flow will ensure a steady flow of interviews, and in turn, job fills. Whenever possible, keep sourcing as a number one priority because once the well dries up, it can take a lot of effort to fill it back up again.

5. Focus on creating long-term connections

Stu Coleman, Partner / Senior Managing Director, WinterWyman

You’re a headhunter, you can call anyone. The fact is, most people want to talk with you, even if they don’t know it. They may not need you now, and therefore don’t necessarily want to talk now, but they will one day. If you approach every call with that mindset, you should never afraid to call anyone at any time - it is never an interruption. Don’t focus on the transaction, focus on the person. Whether you're calling a client or a candidate, your call should be based on building a relationship. If you're just calling because you saw a job or a resume posted, you likely won’t get much past that. You need to (genuinely) be calling about how you can partner with this person over many years to make their life better. If you don’t truly believe that, you might be in the wrong business.

6. Encourage informed decisions

Laurie Kahn, Chief Multi-tasker, Media Staffing Network

I have owned and operated a recruitment agency for 25 years. We specialize in media, but our advice and process is good for all businesses. The best advice or practice I adopted early on, is to never tell the client who to hire or the candidate whether to accept a job or not. My job is to gather all the facts and present them in a way that there are little to no questions left unanswered. I give them both what they need to make an informed decision.

7. Refine your sales skills

Marielle Smith, VP of People, GoodHire

The best advice I was given — and have since learned from experience through the years -- includes: Don’t go into recruiting because you “like people.” HR and recruitment are a critical business function for a company, so ideally you’re interested in the area of business you’re looking to work in (talent + your industry). Recruiting and sales have more in common than you might think. If you want to be successful at recruiting, you need to learn the basics of selling. Project management and process are your friends - if you can improve and master these skills, you’re setting yourself up for success.

8. Pay attention to your biases

Miki Feldman Simon, Founder, IamBackatWork

The best piece of advice I received as a young recruiter was to be aware of my biases and the first impressions I form of candidates. We all have biases and naturally size each other up. We also tend to look for information to affirm our first impressions and ignore contrary information. Through my years of work as a recruiter, I have taught myself to do a mental stop a couple of minutes into the interview, and do a quick assessment of what my first impression of the candidate is. I then make an aware effort to look for contrary, rather than affirming information. This helps me make sure that my assessment of the candidate is less biased and more comprehensive.

9. Do business with integrity

Mike Astringer, Founder and Principal Consultant, Human Capital Consultants, Inc.

My boss gave me advice so simple yet so impactful that I live by it today. He told me,“Don’t be focused on fees and commissions. Always do business with integrity. Always do the right thing for your client. Always do the right thing for our company. If you do those three things the right things will happen for you.” He was right. As a Recruiter for 24 years and a firm owner for 13 years I never think about fees. I think about doing business with integrity, doing the right thing for my clients, the right thing for my company and the right thing for my team. Over the years that simple advice has served me well and resulted not only in my success as a Recruiter but in building a positive reputation and brand.

10. It's all about relationships

Debbie Winkelbauer, CEO, Surf Search

It’s all about relationships! I was lucky enough when I started as a recruiter to have a seasoned industry salesman for a boss and mentor who had spent years developing relationships and keeping up with them. Most jobs are filled because of who you know in the industry and the trust you build in being an resource in addition to being able to ask for help, work or a recommendation.

11. Don't give up

Matt Vaughn, Director of Talent Services, Full Stack Talent

I was given 3 core directions: Have faith in the process, be ready to move a lot of dirt, and never let off the gas. After 4 years in the recruiting industry, I swear by those directives. It’s a lot of hard work and you’ll feel like you’re pounding the pavement constantly, but the feeling of placing a candidate in their dream job is amazing.

Interested in recruiting with Relode? Learn what it takes to be a Relode agent here, or read how other recruiters and professionals have found success with Relode here.

Molly Powers