How to Train New Recruiters Effectively

As your business continues to grow and new team members need to be found, onboarded, and trained, you’ll probably find your recruitment team growing, as well. After all, if you’re focused on helping your business thrive in the new year, you’re likely going to need new recruiters to help your HR efforts thrive. Artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms can only go so far; hiring properly trained recruiters is one of the best decisions you can make in terms of ensuring your employee base is rock solid.

Properly training your recruiters doesn’t just help you find new employees; it also helps make the entire process more efficient. If your recruiters are better able to attract great talent, you won’t have to sit through as many interviews and conversations that don’t go anywhere. You’ll also find you have far less employee turnover because your recruiters are able to find employees who are truly a good fit for your company—they don’t just look good on paper. Investing in recruitment is worthwhile and can radically change your business for the better.

The process of training new recruiters has some things in common with training for other positions. There are basic foundational elements of your business every employee needs to know. But there are some unique aspects of the recruiting role that make training for this role slightly different. It’s a highly specialized job, and the onboarding process has a distinctive look and feel. A successful recruiter is essential when it comes to ensuring the success of your company, so their training isn’t something you should take lightly or go into without a plan.

With that in mind, here are a handful of hacks for training recruiters.

Provide a Recruitment Mentor

First and foremost, choose an experienced mentor on your team who can assist the new recruiter. Recruiting is difficult to learn in a classroom or in front of a computer; it’s really a skill you learn by witnessing and doing. By partnering someone more experienced with someone less experienced, they’ll be able to help each other succeed. Not only will the rookie pick up tips and tricks from the mentor, but the mentor will also probably learn new technologies, practices, or ideas from the mentee. Furthermore, by fostering relationships within your company, you’ll see overall employee retention increase. The more people feel connected with their coworkers, the less likely they’ll be to jump ship. Mentorship programs can also decrease the pressure on your HR team to be the go-to people for questions.

Don’t Expect Too Much Too Early

It’s tempting to immediately set high goals and let your team run free. But because recruitment is such a specialized skill, you may need to start slower than you’re used to. Set goals that are realistic and attainable. When your new recruiters hit these early wins, the momentum from their victory will carry them forward to more success. Goals early on may look less like “bring in three new interview candidates” and more like “reach out to five potential talents a week.” Baby-step goals can work wonders for new employees’ psyches, making them much more productive overall. You can’t bring people into a new industry and expect them to instantly be immensely successful. You can always increase goals as time goes on, but know that early on, what they’ll be doing is mostly planting seeds and figuring out your systems.

Practice Active Listening Skills

Active listening is an essential part of recruitment. While you want everyone on your team to be a great listener, recruiters in particular need to be able to take in a large amount of information and process it quickly. Many people think they’re great listeners but have never actually been trained in proper active listening. Active listening requires things like:

  • Leaning forward slightly and demonstrating your attention with your body language;
  • Asking open-ended questions to encourage someone to continue speaking;
  • Refraining from interrupting or getting distracted;
  • Restating what someone says back to the person using slightly different language to ensure you understood properly; and
  • Listening to hear, not necessarily to respond.

Role Play

Recruitment is a very active process. It’s something that requires the person performing it to be able to adapt to certain situations on a dime, respond to conversational cues, and tweak the process as needed. Sometimes role-playing is the most effective way to practice those skills. Sit down your new recruiters, and work through a variety of scenarios, throwing them some difficult curveballs to help coach them through how to respond. At the end of the day, you’re not going to be able to practice every single scenario. Recruitment takes place in the real world, and that isn’t always something you can be perfectly prepared for in an office. But by embracing role-playing, you’ll be able to increase your recruiters’ confidence and help them work out that “adaptation” muscle. You can also use role-playing when recruiting recruiters. By asking them to perform certain scenarios during an interview, you’ll be able to evaluate how they’ll respond to potential talent and see how they perform in high-intensity conversations.

Commit to Continuous Education

Recruitment as an industry is ever-evolving. There will always be new systems, tools, processes, and ideas to explore. Recruiters should never feel as if they’ve mastered their industry or have nothing new to learn. Therefore, part of your recruitment budget should go toward training your recruiters. You could either organize something formal, like a team off-site, or give your team members a flexible budget they can use on e-courses and conferences they might find helpful. You could also consider supplementing some of your employees’ continued education in case they want to receive a degree or certification from a university program. There’s a wide range of ways you can support your employees’ continuous education, but it’s vital to do so. It demonstrates your company is forward-thinking, cares about your employees’ success, and is willing to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to recruitment.

Claire Swinarski is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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