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Once you have made a commitment to hire a new recruiter who does not have any recruitment experience, it’s vital that they have a focused, motivating and skill-building first four weeks in their new role.

A new recruit doesn’t care how busy you are or what a great brand they might be working for, their main goal (if they are any good at all) is to learn what’s important in their new job and feel a sense of progress.

Here’s a list of the nine things I would suggest your new recruit’s induction and training program should include in their first four weeks of employment:

  1. Meet every person in the office, shadow them for an hour or two and understand how each of their new colleagues’ job contributes towards the company’s success. In my view, internal relationships are vastly undervalued within most recruitment agencies.
  1.  Learn how to use the company databaseso effectively that the new recruit could run a training session on the database with the next new hire. Underutilisation of the database is one of the most expensive inefficiencies in most recruitment agencies.
  1.  Learn the technical terms, industry jargon and salaries of the jobs they will recruit for. Confidence in interviews and dealing with clients is directly related to how competent the recruiter in learning and interpreting their new language. I used to give new recruiters a weekly fact test on their specialisation to make sure they were learning at a sufficient pace.
  1.  Understand the logistics of candidate travel including the train network, train stations, parking options and costs, how long it takes for candidates to travel to key clients and popular areas with jobs (eg CBD). Influencing a candidate to take a temp job or persuading a perm candidate to attend an interview can often rest on the knowledge that the consultant has of the ease of the trip as most candidates, will, if in doubt, decide an interview or a job is too far if it’s in an area they are unfamiliar with.
  1. Be proficient at screening resumes. Sounds obvious and easy but what’s critical for a rookie to grasp are the ‘little’ things that could reveal big problems eg unexplained gaps between jobs, certificates, or degrees listed with no accompanying institution or dates, etc. Knowing the gaps to look for in a resume and how what’s left out is often more instructive than what’s been included, are core skills for the new recruiter.
  1. Get connected on LinkedIn. A new recruiter is unlikely to have much of a LinkedIn network, if one at all, so it’s a good way for a rookie to let their own network know what their new job is and at the same time become confident in using the basic features of LinkedIn that are useful for a recruiter.
  1.  Be great at completing reference checks. A reference check provides an opportunity for a new recruiter to learn how to build rapport with a prospect/client, how to probe (can you explain what you mean when you say their performance was ‘pretty good’), how to ask behavioural based questions (can you give me an example of when they demonstrated effective problem solving?)and how to ask basic sales qualifying questions (how did you recruit X’s replacement?).
  1.  Be taken outside their comfort zone. Just because the typical new recruiter does not have a billings target does not mean that they should have an easy month. Recruiters become high performers because they are willing to go outside their comfort zone, frequently. The sooner you put your new recruiter outside their comfort zone and watch how they react, the better it is for you in understanding their likely chance of long term success and the better for them in understanding the foundation of becoming a high performing recruiter. No downside, really.
  1.  Be held accountable.High performing recruiters are also those that understand the importance of being held accountable for specified activities, results and behaviours. A new recruiter should learn from their first month that doing what you say you are going to do is critical to meeting and exceeding expectations. Start with something basic (say, the number of reference checks completed) and raise the bar consistently across the first four weeks and see how they react. Do they meet expectations or do they start making excuses for not having met expectations. Either response will tell you something about your new recruiter’s likely chance of long term success.

Set the bar high for both you and them in the first month. The subsequent outcomes will give you a much better understanding of whether your new recruit is worth the ongoing investment of your time and money, or not.  

Related articles:

The ‘dreaded’ performance review: tips from a veteran

Low performers are team focused extraverts (and other surprises)

Motivating recruiters: Who’s responsible?

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Jonathan Rice

Apart from number 6 it sounds like my first 2 weeks at Hays back in 2005!

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