How Do We Upskill Recruiters?

Automation, along with the use of other productivity-enhancing technologies, is transforming business operations across all sectors. As these technologies manage more and more routine and manual tasks, people are reconsidering their skills sets and looking for ways in which they can add more value as employees.

In the face of global skills shortages, being able to fulfill specialized and highly sought-after roles represents a lucrative opportunity. So, upskilling is both necessary and logical – from the perspectives of both the employee and the business.

For recruitment firms, it’s an important way to become more competitive and, ultimately, win new business. Automation has created a new, faster world of work and, as such, clients and candidates expect more from their recruitment companies. Recruiters are no longer just people who source and place talent: they need to act as consultants and employment specialists.

So, which skills are gaining in importance, and where should recruiters start?

Working with data-driven technologies

In most major industries, businesses need to know how to manage, analyze, and use their data to make decisions that deliver results. If they don’t, they’ll fall far behind the curve very quickly. Encouragingly, a large number of recruiters already work with data-driven CRM, ATS and VMS systems on a daily basis – and many more are starting to. Data skills will become even more important as these systems are increasingly utilized to process sophisticated candidate search techniques and manage client relationships.

Many recruiters rank these systems as their best source of new or redeployed candidates. This data – and the insights they can glean from it – enable recruiters to unearth opportunities related to both old and new candidates. What’s more, in light of GDPR and its far-reaching consequences, proficiency in data processing and protection is a vital skill no recruiter can do without.

Creating compelling marketing content

Once upon a time, job boards were the dominant channel for sourcing candidates. Since then, the range of channels has dramatically expanded, and job boards now have to compete with new market entrants, such as social media platforms and search engines.

The digital world is now a major part of the job search process. Social media and search engines are crucial channels through which to attract candidates to new roles, so recruiters need to use them effectively. This means, for example, optimizing job board entries for SEO purposes (optimized for certain key phrases, such as a job title or location), using social media advertising to promote roles, and working directly with employers on developing recruitment marketing messaging.

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A recent survey by Bullhorn of recruitment companies revealed that the top three channels marketing decision makers are planning to spend more money on are organic social media presence (cited by 60%), email marketing (50%), and job boards (also 50%). By comparison, the top three channels which will receive less budget are direct mail (cited by 37%), career fairs (36%), and pay per click job ads (34%).

This indicates that recruiters must cut through the noise and focus on personalized engagement through the right channels in order to increase placement rates. And, if companies are putting more money into these channels, it makes sense that recruiters should stand out from their peers by maximizing their use of them.

Identifying transferable skills for harder-to-fill positions

As skills shortages continue to increase in sectors such as cybersecurity, healthcare, and IT, recruiters must become more creative in identifying transferable skills that would make a candidate without all of the relevant academic qualifications or experience a suitable fit for the job. This involves working closely with clients to truly understand what harder-to-fill positions entail, and the skills and qualities they require.

In an age of ongoing skills shortages, recruiters need to see future potential in prospective candidates, as well as acknowledging their pre-existing experience. Recruiters must also be able to identify skills in candidates that they have previously worked with, in order to help fill roles with clients struggling to find the people they need. An ability to think critically and laterally is key. But with data-driven technology in place, it’s much easier to join up the dots.

Advising clients on hiring strategies

Recruiters must eliminate the mindset that their job is just about sourcing possible talent and matching them with roles. They need to become consultants, work on building closer relationships with their clients, and develop an in-depth knowledge of their hiring needs.

This is why using automation to alleviate routine and administratively heavy tasks is so important. It enables recruiters to focus on getting to know their clients better and becoming experts in certain sectors. This way, recruiters can offer a more insightful and personalized service that meets their clients’ needs.

The recruitment sector is growing and changing. To stay relevant and ahead of the game, recruiters need to adapt, leverage their existing skills, and focus on upskilling their technology capabilities.

Peter Linas

Peter Linas
Peter Linas is international managing director at Bullhorn.

Peter Linas

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