“Wait, you’re a recruiter now?” I’ve heard it countless times. Every time, my first inclination is to justify. “Yes, I am, but it’s not so different from teaching!” and then I begin to list off the many ways that I am really just a teacher or mentor in a corporate setting.
Before I moved out to San Francisco to be a recruiter with Betts Recruiting, I was a teacher. While I assumed my role as a recruiter would share few qualities in common with my job as a teacher, I quickly learned how wrong my initial expectations were. Great recruiting is a lot like teaching.
You might still be skeptical, so I thought I’d put together a list of the five ways the best agency recruiters are very much like great teachers.
They both listen carefully
As a teacher, I walked into my classroom every day prepared to listen to my students. If I didn’t listen carefully to their needs I didn’t have the information I needed to know how to best support them.
Great recruiters approach each candidate interaction the same way. They pick up the phone for a candidate call ready to truly listen to their candidate, whether they are learning more about the candidate’s background, or exploring what their priorities are in their job search.
They both develop meaningful relationships
My students who I had the most success with were the ones I had the best relationships with.
Top recruiters are the ones with the strongest relationships with their candidates. They get to know their candidates both personally and professionally.
They both identify the lagging skill
Great teachers observe their students — they can tell you off the bat what any given student does well, and their areas for growth. With that knowledge the teacher can find ways to coach and train the student to refine those skills. Great recruiters know how to do the same thing.
They both keep a tight ship
The teaching days would fly by (much like the recruiting days do!). Life was a whirlwind of gathering teaching materials, preparing lessons, and writing tests. Without strong systems of organization, there was no way to get anything done, much less get it done well.
Excellent recruiters keep a tight ship too. They utilize a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to track tasks and activities, and to organize information about their candidates and the roles they’re working to fill.
They both coach, strategically
Everyday as a teacher, I had to have a game plan. I knew which students I needed to spend time with, and which ones were going to master that day’s lesson. Likewise, I knew the tools and strategies I would need to share with my students and teach them in order for them to be successful.
The best recruiters are essentially strategic career coaches. They show early on that they have the knowledge base and understanding of the clients and the roles to serve as the candidate’s trusted career advisor.
So if you’re a recruiter, start considering how your success might grow if you start to carry yourself more like a great teacher, than a salesperson. If you’re a candidate, you’ll know you’ve got an all-star recruiter when you feel like you may have walked back into a classroom with your favorite teacher. Except at the end of your time with a great recruiter you won’t be staring at a graded essay: you’ll be signing the offer letter to your dream job.