To survive and thrive in the tough and competitive world of recruitment you need a pretty thick skin:
- Clients aggressively complaining for trivial reasons.
- Candidates lodging a complaint with the managing director, “Because I’ve been registered with your recruitment company for two months and they haven’t found me a job.”
- HR can warn you never to call a line manager again or else your recruitment company will be thrown off the PSL.
- Colleagues can mercilessly ‘take the Mickey’ (a.k.a. bullying in some organisations).
- And managers can make recruiters feel 1 inch tall by criticising 99 actions and only giving grudging praise once in a blue moon.
But these aren’t the 6 toxic behaviours I’m referring to
Whilst bullying and old-fashioned management techniques are clearly obnoxious the main reasons that recruiters fail include these 6 toxic behaviours:
#1 toxic behaviour
Blaming everything and everyone for underperformance.
You’ve probably met these people. There are never enough clients on the database. The company doesn’t invest enough in training. The company doesn’t spend enough money on advertising. The company doesn’t have a big enough brand. It’s not worth trying to win business at Christmas, Easter and in the summer because clients are on holiday. The candidate didn’t get offered the job because the client was difficult and awkward…. and so on.
If you really want to be a superstar recruiter, remember it’s your job to overcome challenges and make money. That’s why you will earn a fortune whereas people who blame everything else for underperformance end up leaving the industry.
#2 toxic behaviour
Secretly not wanting to be a salesperson.
As yourself this question: “what’s the first word or phrase that comes into your mind to describe a salesperson?”
I’ve put this question to thousands of recruiters at events that I’ve run and the answers include, “pushy, arrogant, wide-boy, liar, devious, slimy” – I do get some positive answers but, very rarely do I hear, “make customers’ lives easier by providing solutions to their biggest challenges.”
If you want to be a superstar recruiter embrace the fact that you are a salesperson. Even better, remember that only the top 10% of recruiters make really big money and that they are professional salespeople.
#3 toxic behaviour
Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Top recruiters look for the positives. Let me give you an example. On decision day, a client calls a recruiter and says, “We really like your candidate but we have decided to offer a candidate from the other agency, thanks very much for your help.”
The pessimist complains how unlucky they are whereas the optimist congratulates the client, closes for a review meeting and asks the client, “May I ask you which company (i.e. the company not the agency) did you hire the successful candidate from?
Upon finding out that the client has offered the job to the successful candidate from the other agency, the recruiter approaches the business from which that person is leaving and picks up a vacancy for which they already have a few candidates because they just finished working on a similar role.
Is your glass half full or half empty?
#4 toxic behaviour
Not paying the price for success.
When I explain to recruiters that there are 35 ways to find candidates without LinkedIn, Facebook, advertising or the Internet most people are astonished.
And yet, those same people have often worked in recruitment for five or more years. Why don’t they know many of these techniques? Why haven’t they invested time seeking out experts from anywhere in the world to learn techniques that will give them a competitive edge?
The answer is that many people in life want success to come easy and very few are prepared to pay the price of success by seeking out new knowledge and implementing it.
#5 toxic behaviour
Are you a good listener? Really?
As a salesperson, you will probably be excited about your service and you, quite naturally, want to close the deal. Listening is a discipline, it requires patience even when you believe the other person is rambling. Good listeners move past the rambling and draw the person out.
You’ve probably encountered a good listener and I’ll bet that when you did you relaxed, felt safe and opened up more than you might do to other people.
Good listeners are good questioners. By asking good questions you demonstrate that you are attentive and people start to trust you because you are interested in them.
Stephen Covey summed it up brilliantly in his life-changing book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
‘Seek first to understand then be understood’
#6 toxic behaviour
Things move along so rapidly nowadays that people saying: “It can’t be done,” are always being interrupted by somebody doing it.”
You might be surprised to know that the quote above was written in 1903. For goodness sake, if they thought the pace of change was rapid back then, how would they feel about the pace of change today?
As a recruiter in today’s market, you have no choice but to welcome change. There will be changes to your CRM system, the way that you source candidates, USPs that you use to close clients. In fact, if you’re not embracing new and better ways to do things be aware that your nimbler, faster-moving competitors will be taking market share from you.
What’s your take on these 6 toxic behaviours?
I’m very conscious that these aren’t the only negative traits to look out for when hiring people in your company and I’d love to hear your views.
For what it’s worth, I hugely value psychometric tools and other tests as part of my interviewing process and that’s why I integrated training and personality profiling within FutureRecruiters.com an online source of trainee recruiters for UK recruitment businesses.
If you’d like to find out more about why FutureRecruiters.com is becoming so popular and how you can save time and money by avoiding irrelevant candidates and making the right hire first time every time (with no Rec2Rec fees), click here and window shop for free during one of our online meet and greet sessions.