A favorite lesson from the classics of cinema can be found in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,” the 1962 film starring Gregory Peck. At one point, Uncle Atticus tells his young daughter, Scout, that she will get along better in life by learning one simple trick: You only really understand people when you consider things from their point of view – when you get into their skin and walk around in it. Similarly, to best understand and appreciate the value of “relationship maintenance,” it is helpful to have a feel for what goes on in a recruiter’s typical day. So, let’s explore the nature of the beast you are courting — or being courted by.
Recruiters organize their days in various ways, all centering around certain basic activities. A recruiter, you might say, manages the flow of several pipelines, which must stay full, alive, and vibrant if the business is to be successful. With any of these pipelines out of commission, the recruiter is out of commission — and, consequently, earns no commission. A recruiter focuses on balancing these activities and increasing the flow in each of the following pipelines:
- Candidates: Of course, without qualified and appropriate professionals to fill openings, a recruiter is headless. So, recruiters constantly and vigorously pursue all avenues to add heads to their storehouse of possibly peaceable professionals. Whether a candidate is sourced (obtained) indirectly through a Web site, LinkedIn, online ad, or referral, or directly through that always exciting cold-call to a professional that didn’t know they were looking. A successful recruiter is unceasingly managing a flow of contacts, relationships, and resumes of viable candidates.
- 2. Placements: Placements are what a recruiter’s life is all about. They enjoy developing relationships, having fun, living their daily lives, but they are in the business of, and stay in business only by, making placements. In a perfect world, placements are those magical moments when, as in dating, everything clicks so well with both parties that two pieces of the puzzle snap right into place. Other times a first date, second date happen without any pledge. Unlike marriage, the candidate and company are not committed to spending their lives with one another, yet they are definitely going steady. Unfortunately, the placement process is not always so “magical” and requires experienced mediation, management, communication, and even arm-chair-psychologist skills of a recruiter — not to mention sales ability. Making placements and closing deals is a recruiter’s all-encompassing result.
- An added dimension to this process is the cumulative effect of recruiter “networking.” Recruiters can’t always rely on their own storehouse of heads/clients to provide either the right candidate for a particular search or the right search for a particular candidate, so they often work deals with each other. Just as real-estate agents split commissions on home sales when representing buyers and sellers, recruiters split placement fees. Quite simply, a recruiter’s pipeline management is not based solely on personal activity, but is exponentially increased by the amount of electronic or direct networking in which the recruiter engages.