Over the past two decades, the art and science of recruiting has changed dramatically. I started recruiting in the early ’90s before PCs and the Internet. On my desk was a telephone, newspapers and directories. Remember the Rolodex?

Fast forward 20 years. Today, recruiters learn about companies and people through the web and social media. Myriad technologies (job sites, social media, ATS) assist in candidate research, lead generation and tracking.

In vogue is the science of recruiting. It is easier to source in a candidate-rich market using technology and the Internet. This is changing: The rebounding economy is increasing the demand for talent at all levels.

Technology can help find potential candidates.
But it can’t evaluate, recruit and secure talent.

Relationship recruiting expertise is needed now: Direct sourcing. Referral-based networking. Engaging potential candidates. Identifying, evaluating and motivating scarce talent. This takes experience and know-how. This is the art of recruiting.
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For Your Company

If your company is seeking to engage third party recruiters, I recommend to interview them first. What is their background, experience and education/credentials? Do they recruit in your industry and for positions you are hiring? How do they find and evaluate talent? What can you expect in terms of deliverables?

Great recruiters do these 5 things for companies:

1. Deep understanding. You can tell high caliber recruiters by the questions they ask. They do research on your company, industry and competitors. They ask insightful questions about the position and your company’s culture. They listen with a consultative style.

2. Direct sourcing. Great recruiters don’t rely on “Internet resumes”. They tap into their network and cold call high potentials. They develop relationships with high performers who may be open to a career move for the right opportunity. They can identify talent.

3. Focus on your open positions. Time is limited and you have multiple priorities. The best recruiters work closely with you on your schedule. They get to know your preferences and company’s interview process. They understand urgency to fill.

4. Execute a proven process. Great recruiters know what they will need to accomplish for you: Research. Sourcing. Screening. Interviewing. Arranging interviews. Negotiation. Closing. On-boarding. Feedback and follow-up every step of the way.

5. Deliver consistently. Top recruiters work quickly and are quality-oriented. Give them exclusivity and your positions will be a high priority. They know more recruiting assignments will come when hired candidates perform and stay with your company.

Great recruiters effectively counsel on counter-offers.
They will know if the selected candidate will accept an offer, before it is made.

Executive recruiters who work on senior level positions are sometimes called search consultants. They often partner with clients on retained searches. They provide the highest levels of service including in-depth candidate evaluations and search progress reports.

Unlike contingency recruiters, retained search consultants are driven to perform for their clients every time, no matter how challenging the search. Their reputations depend on it.
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For Job Seekers

If you’re looking for a new job or open to a career move, choose a professional recruiter like you would your doctor, attorney or financial advisor. Be selective. Be sure that you have a good rapport and you can trust him/her. Interview recruiters: Ask them how they work. Keep in mind: you are not paying them and their time, expertise and contacts are valuable.

Great recruiters do these 5 things for you:

1. Listen to what you want. Recruiters are motivated to help you get a new job because this is how they earn fees. Great recruiters get to know you on a deeper level. They listen to your desires and career interests. They work closely with you to find a position that will advance your career.

2. Help with a job search plan. Top recruiters have in-depth knowledge of the job search process. From resume consulting to interview preparation to employment negotiation, they work on your behalf. The best way to communicate: Be upfront and straightforward.

3. Open doors. Great recruiters have an established network of contacts in your industry. Many times they know about choice job openings before they’re made public. Your resume is referred directly to decision makers, giving you the inside track.

4. Advise and counsel. Imagine your own job search consultant at no cost to you. Great recruiters provide valuable feedback throughout your search. They help with your resume, with interviewing techniques and with making smart career decisions.

5. Deliver consistently. You can tell top recruiters by how they respond. They are action-oriented. They offer strategic and tactical job search advice. Most importantly, they get results: Interviews, then a position, with the company you want.
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In my experience, as both an executive recruiter and industry trainer;

Great recruiters are 1 in 100.
They are consultative, intuitive and results-oriented.

The best combine the art of recruiting – the human touch
with the science of recruiting – high tech techniques.

If you want to engage a great recruiter, say, “I want to partner with you” and promise to work exclusively. Give a timeframe 60 to 90 days to produce results.

As the economy grows, great recruiters will be in demand. They can be a huge asset to you. Find one who understands your needs and stick with them. They will deliver and make you look good.