Recruiting: 2025 A.D.

by The Red Recruiter on June 9, 2009

BacktothefutureThe future seems like a fun place. We will never have to lose contact with our friends again, we will travel freely knowing that we can handle everything from our portable super computers… it’s going to be great! Think of all the possibilities!

I sure do hope we end up with Hover Boards.

As my mind wanders into the future, I’m left wondering how recruiters fit into that picture. I’m not a doomsday “recruiting is a dying art” kind of guy… but, let’s face it, we have our work cut out for us.

With the rapid progression of technology, it’s no longer going to be a matter of who can find candidates – finding names and targets will all be automated sooner than later.

So, what will the Recruiter of 2025 need to have in order to stand out? I’m guessing it will have most everything to do with soft skills.

5 Skills For Future Recruiters

1. Approachability – Can you start a conversation with a stranger about almost anything? Do people respond to you without knowing you? Do you feel comfortable smiling at someone that you don’t know?

If you answered “No” to these questions, start working on it. I know it’s tough at first, but being approachable goes a long way in recruiting (and life for that matter). You never know who you are going to meet. That perfect candidate may be standing behind you in the coffee line… so say hello!

2. Body Language Sensitivity – Yes, you’ve heard about non-verbal communication a million times… but, few people actually trust their instincts. Do you? Can someone lie to your face? Will you notice it?

Some people can read a lie in an instant through observing micro-expressions – kind of like in the show “Lie To Me” – which is a great show for recruiters and interviewing! The key, as I understand it, is in noticing when someone’s facial expression or body language goes against their verbal/outward message. If you ask someone, “Did you leave your last position on good terms?” and they respond with a “Yes” but carry a slight hesitation on their face… ask more. Dig deeper.

For years I’ve been fascinated by this topic. Once you start to get it, you will see it as a blessing and as a curse. However, for recruiters, this skill is invaluable! Observe how people move, react and respond. Trust your instincts as much as possible and let them lead your questions. You are going to be surprised with what you find out.

3. Vocal Sensitivity – We’ve all heard the phrase… “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” This is very true and we need to consider how we convey our message. But, on the flip side, we also need to be in tune with our natural ability to perceive when something is wrong.

As with most recruiters, I’m on the phone for the majority of the day. Interviewing people, sourcing candidates, chatting with clients… they all become a standard part of our activities.

When a candidate says that they are not interested in making a move… do you stop? You shouldn’t. Ask them to explain why they are happy. Then listen to the words… but, more importantly, listen to their tone and for any pauses in what they are telling you. If you find one, dig deeper. If you don’t, ask another question until you do.

Speech, as with body language, has a pattern… if something doesn’t seem right, you have to find out why. Just ask about the hesitation itself if you can’t put your finger on it… you’ll be surprised with how the conversation progresses.

4. Empathy – The best recruiting experience I ever went through was with a recruiter who made me feel that my concerns were as important to him as they were to me. This is easy to say… not the easiest thing to do. This is the nurturing side to our business that requires a lot of work for some… for others, it will come naturally. You know who you are.

So, here are some ideas for learning more about how to empathize with your candidates. First, listen more, speak less. Just take in as much as possible. Second, if someone is trusting you enough to share their emotional conflicts with making a career move, you had better be willing to show respect for that extension of trust. Thank them for being open and honest. Third, remove yourself from the transaction. If you were friends with this person, what would you recommend that they do?

As recruiters, we are trusted with very sensitive information that could potentially damage someone’s livelihood. Take it seriously and show your candidates that you care.

5. Vision – This could also be called “Storytelling Skills” but, “Vision” seems easier. The

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bottom line is this… can you paint a picture in a person’s mind? Can you show them through words what their future looks like? In exploring someone’s career path, it becomes vital that you share a vision of the future. What are their next career steps, strategic moves, compensation angles, etc…

You don’t wake up one morning with the ability to convey vision. Well, perhaps some people do… but, that was not my fortunate tale. I had to work on it.

Read stories, listen to stories, write stories… explore, travel, meet new people. Get exposed to things that are completely foreign. Take so much in to your mind that you can’t take anymore. Then, do it again. Experience and exposure are the parents to good storytelling. The life narratives that you are exposed to in recruiting, coupled with the life experiences that you should be pursuing, will result in a much richer experience for your candidates. Let’s face it… given the option… wouldn’t you want your recruiter to have some perspective on the world? So, go get it!

Recruiting 7.0 (Remember, it’s 2025)

We are all developing as professionals. While I wish that I could claim “Master” status for all of the above skills, I cannot. However, I aspire to be the best and I want other recruiters to do the same. Our professional development will ultimately establish our professional reputations. It is important that we learn the technical skills necessary to become proficient at sourcing. However, we will ultimately be the most valuable to our organizations if we can continue to develop the skills that make us strong people-people. To do this, we have to stay focused on our soft skills.

But hey! I don’t have a crystal ball. That’s why I’m blogging about this instead of contemplating it with my dog. So, what do you think?

What skills do you think the recruiters of 2025 A.D. will need to have?

Photo Credit, Locusolus

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