How To Find New Recruiters To Hire

recruiting recruitment staffing Apr 06, 2022

As a recruiting advisor and coach to recruiting firm owners and leaders, almost all of my clients want to know how to more effectively hire recruiting staff, whether motivated by scaling a recruiting firm or not. Developing a team of successful recruiters who are highly profitable to your firm has four elements:

  1. Finding suitable candidates to interview
  2. Hiring them
  3. Providing quality training to set them up for success
  4. Providing leadership and management that brings out the best in people

This article focuses solely on element #1 ( Finding new recruiters to hire). – I previously wrote an article on #2 (Hiring them). Click here to read: How To Hire Recruiting Staff.

The most common mistake I see recruiting firm owners and leaders make is believing that they’re better off hiring people with prior recruiting industry experience. This seems logical and aligns with the conditioning of most owners and leaders. After all, in most cases, your clients pay you to find candidates who already possess experience that’s relevant to the position you’re filling. Most owners and leaders carry this “experience bias” with them when hiring recruiters. And this bias usually leads to bad hires.

During more than 28 years of industry experience, I’ve found that the most successful recruiting firms usually hire new recruiters with little or no recruiting industry experience for the following reasons:

  1. Recruiters interested in leaving one firm for another are frequently poor performers. Top performers tend to be doing well and know they’ll walk away from a lot if they move to a new firm.
  2. Most recruiting firms provide subpar processes and poor recruiter training. This means most experienced recruiters adopt dysfunctional habits that travel with them into your firm. Since these recruiters often believe they’re “already good at what they do,” retraining them your way is likely to be a problem.
  3. New recruiters with industry experience typically have high compensation expectations. This adds to your risk and lowers your profitability in making new hires.

So what should you do? I recommend that you hire people who have

  • The natural ability to be a successful recruiter
  • A sincere desire to consider a career in recruiting
  • Character and values that align with success at your firm

I explained how to objectively assess the above characteristics in my abovementioned article.

Notice that none of these characteristics relate to prior recruiting industry experience. Recruiting is not rocket science. Think of the most successful recruiters you know (even yourself). None had recruiting experience when they started recruiting, but many were outproducing their experienced coworkers soon after starting.

So, what type of prior experience should you seek? No specific background directly translates into recruiting industry success, but it’s easy to assume there are. Usually, these assumptions are wrong. The best recruiter I ever hired was two years out working in retail selling treadmills. Many of my clients have hired great recruiters who were teachers, administrative assistants, and in other fields that were unrelated to recruiting. Many skills needed to be an effective recruiter are unique to recruiting and don’t directly translate into other fields. Also, different firms have unique recruiting processes. And their candidates and clients have different preferences for how much time they want to spend talking to people. Thus, you can’t assume that your ideal candidate is someone who likes to talk to people all day. It’s best to evaluate what is most effective for your firm rather than falling prey to “industry generalizations.”


How to source new recruiter candidates

The way I recommend sourcing candidates for recruiting positions runs counter to how recruiting firms usually source candidates for their searches. Most recruiting firms proactively source candidates via LinkedIn and devote minimal resources to job advertisements. However, how do you proactively source on LinkedIn if there’s no specific experience you’re looking for?

My clients execute plans that consistently lead to consistently hiring quality new recruiters. Below is an overview of what I teach my clients to do:

  1. Write a compelling job description highlighting your firm's unique selling points.
  2. Advertise the job on LinkedIn and or other well-respected career sites
  3. Inform your network about your opening to refer people they believe would be good candidates for your role.
  4. Put the job order in your ATS and execute the recruiting process as if you were a client.
  5. Review applicant resumes with an open mind based on criteria other than recruiting industry experience. For example, job stability, degree, years of experience, experience in industries you place people in, etc.
  6. Have an efficient screening process to assess the criteria you are seeking before you spend significant time interviewing people

What I described in this article differs from how most recruiting firms hire new recruiters. From my experience, the success rate for new recruiters at most recruiting firms is only about 25%. Firms that properly execute this process achieve a success rate of about 75% because it’s based on sound principles rather than faulty assumptions and old habits. When considering how to scale a recruiting firm, shifting the odds of new hire success is a top priority.

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