The industry of HR and staffing is a lot like the professional sporting arena. There are a lot of players but only some make it onto the field. Only a handful of players truly excel at their chosen path.
So, in a sea of staffing professionals, how do you set yourself apart from your competition?
Put Yourself in the Candidate’s Shoes
At one point in time, we were all a “candidate” and there is a good percentage that we could be again in our lifetime. Remember what it’s like to work hard on an application and press the “submit” button, only to know that your resume has entered the black hole of resumes and applications. A place, truly no resume wants to go. Recruiters, HR managers and staffing professionals have so many resumes crossing their desks each day. Try to set time each day to reach out to candidates thanking them for their application and interest in a job. Applicants are a feeder system for future roles-and basic courtesies can go a long way.
Volunteer at Local Universities
Investing in networking events at colleges and universities is an effective and financially savvy method of recruiting top talent. In addition to college career fairs, many universities host events on campus such as mock interviews and guest lecturing. These are opportunities to meet students (who could potentially be a fit at your organization). More importantly, it’s a chance to share your HR expertise with students who are interested in learning more tips about setting themselves apart in the application process, what their LinkedIn profiles should look like, and general networking advice. It’s a great feeling being able to share what you love doing (in order to help them) but also having a chance to learn more about their industry.
Get to “know” Your Candidate
This is key in the staffing world-especially in agencies. Filling a job isn’t about finding a person to fill a job. It’s about finding the correct skillset for a particular role that a client has available. Clients don’t want to review resumes of candidates who aren’t a “good fit”. The fit of a candidate goes beyond the technical skills and incorporates “soft skills”. Professionalism, attitude towards team work, future career goals. As a staffing professional, you can’t determine those attributes simply by glancing at a resume. It’s by thoroughly speaking with a candidate and meeting with them. Their job search is important to them, and as their career advisor, it should be to you too. Understand their motivations for looking for a new job, key “must haves” for their future role and preferential work environments. Finding the right “fit” is key for not only the client but for the candidate.
The role of a true all-star HR professional is multi-faceted. It’s a mix of strategic visionary paired with compliance and career advising. And sometimes, the most important part of our job, is just being there to listen.