In the world of recruitment, there are numerous ways to get the job done. But before you reach that finish line and move on to the next project, you may be subject to any number of obstacles, including but not limited to: lengthy, drawn-out processes, 800,000 emails, hiring manager overlords, workplace politics, and limiting constraints from antiquated systems and ideas.
At Riviera Advisors, our sole purpose is to help other companies optimize their recruiting and staffing capabilities. This blog post is the first in a series of seven posts containing just a few of the many talent acquisition success practices that we recommend to our clients, created with the intention of making your job as a recruiter run much more smoothly. Hopefully by the end of the series your road to recruiting success will feel less like a never-ending hike up the side of some perilous cliff and more like a stroll through the park.
May I Take your Order Please?
True or false: recruiting and HR serve as a customer service function to the organization?
FALSE! There is a big difference between being a customer service representative and being OF service. The customer service mentality turns you into an order taker in which people send you their requests and you fill them (remember to keep your head down, and don’t ask any questions because the “customer is always right!”).
Contrary to popular belief, there are many reasons why Talent Acquisition professionals should not consider themselves customer service representatives. As a recruiter for your organization, you have “skin in the game,” meaning that you are a part of the organization as well. You cannot be both the customer and the customer service representative at the same time. You are NOT a vendor but a partner in the organization’s success. Because you share a part in the achievements of the organization, you have the ability to say no when appropriate as well. If a customer service representative were to say no, their job would surely be threatened and that customer would be out for your blood (I speak from experience).
Luckily, this is not the case for you. It is possible for you to say no! If you assume the customer service role and say yes to every request, be it bad or good, you risk perpetuating inefficiencies and problems that have been around for who knows how long. You will be seen as only a transactional instrument and all of your hard work will be taken for granted. You will become type-casted as simply an administrator, not credible, and not a part of the strategic resources overall. But we both know that you do much more than that. But how do you go about proving your worth?
The Consultative Recruiter
To be respected as a recruiter and to be seen as more than a glorified servant, you have to become a CONSULTANT.
A consultant is someone who:
• Conveys their expertise through deeds and actions and not just saying so: If people are to see the difference you make in the organization, you have to demonstrate it to them by sharing your ideas rather than hoarding them or simply wishing that they will happen.
• Stays on top of their profession and trends: Instead of filling orders and being silent about the way things are done, collaborate with your managers and peers and offer your expertise about improving work processes.
• Is willing to take a stand and back it up: Don’t be afraid to take a stand because you fear confrontation. Turn confrontations into consultations and prove yourself as someone of value. Back up your statements with previous cases, and research and keep in mind that constructive conflict is valuable in almost every situation.
• Is willing to back down if their point is made and it is not accepted: Taking a stand for your ideas does not mean forcefully pushing your agenda onto others. Offer helpful suggestions, ask the right questions, and stand down when your suggestions are not accepted until another opportunity arises where it is appropriate to bring it up again.
In the end, being a consultative recruiter is all about contracting: defining roles, responsibilities and outcomes in advance by setting and managing expectations. If you stop believing in the customer service fallacy, you can start your journey to recruiting success on the right foot and make the rest of your job that much easier.
So STOP labeling yourself as a customer service agent for your company! You’re not. You’re worth so much more, but it is up to you to show them.