Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? As a recruiter, perhaps you made a resolution to be more efficient or to be better at spotting highly qualified passive candidates. Whatever your recruiting resolution was for this year, no doubt it included being somehow better in your chosen profession.

But what does it really take to be better? Here are some top tips to help you sharpen your skills as a recruiter both this year and forever.

1) Push for clearer job descriptions.

Hiring managers are busy. You get that. Because they are busy, hiring managers often fall into a sort of strange recruiting shorthand when outlining the requirements for an open position. Going by some internal checklist of required educational background and skill sets, hiring managers often provide little more than a laundry list of items and call that a job description. It is not.

Your job as a recruiter involves digging deeper with hiring managers. LinkedIn gives this advice: “Before you start looking for a top person, ask the hiring manager to describe what the person needs to accomplish in order to be considered successful. The result needs to be 5-6 performance objectives clarifying real job expectations.”

What is the reason for taking this extra step? Truly qualified candidates want to know this information. Approaching them without it dooms your recruiting efforts to, at best, lackluster results.

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2) Embrace honesty in all things.

Honesty, just as your mother taught you, is indeed the best policy. This holds true whether you are talking with hiring managers or candidates. Realistically, there should be no reason for hiding anything in the recruitment process. Omitted details and half-truths derail the hiring process after it has already begun, in essence wasting your time as well as the time of candidates and hiring managers.

RecruitingDaily.com states simply: “Every time you interact with a candidate or hiring manager, your communication needs to be direct, clear and most importantly, completely honest.”

3) Listen first.

Good recruiters love to talk. Great recruiters love to listen. Passive candidates, in particular, generally prefer a soft sell that involves much more listening than talking on your part. Forbes advises recruiters to remember the “Happy Life Rule”, which states: “The candidate you approach is already living a happy and fulfilled life without benefit of knowing you. You may feel that you have the greatest job opportunity in the world to offer this candidate, but he or she is in the driver’s seat because you reached out to him or her. You have to sell the candidate on talking with you before anything else can happen.”

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4) Consider the panel interview.

If you frequently lose good candidates due to hiring bias on the part of hiring teams, consider the significant advantages of leading panel interviews. Organizing a panel of interviewers well can often help eliminate bias from the hiring process, especially if that panel consists of people from different areas and levels of an organization. Panel interviews can elicit some surprising results and, if you are the one leading the panel, you can help steer the discussion in the right direction to help everyone involved see the reality of a candidate’s potential.

5) Keep candidates informed, involved, and engaged.

One of the most common irritants to candidates during the hiring process is a lack of communication. Make it a consistent habit to check in with candidates at least once a week, even if there is nothing new to report. This eliminates the “lost-in-the-shuffle” feeling candidates often have, especially when dealing with organizations with an unusually long time to hire rate.

The Takeaway

You can sharpen your skills as a recruiter by pressing for a more detailed job description from hiring managers, maintaining open and honest communications with all parties, improving your listening skills, and finding ways to reduce the possibility of hiring bias.

To accomplish these goals, you need the right tools. Recruiting solutions that facilitate communication, foster relationships with candidates, and provide methods for real-time collaboration with hiring managers can help you improve your recruiting skills. Take a moment today to discover Thrive TRM’s solutions for search agencies.