In Recruitment, communication is King, (or Queen!). The recruiter has to be able to communicate with the client and then communicate the client’s requirements to the candidate and vice versa. The Recruiter is the lynchpin, so if the Recruiter’s communication skills aren’t up to scratch the whole process becomes less successful. But what do we really mean by ‘communication’?
Communication isn’t simply about talking; it’s also about listening and to a degree, interpreting. Many recruiters think the way to win the business is to unleash, full force, all the reasons why theirs is the best recruitment agency to work with. However, the majority of clients aren’t interested in listening to this – they want to know you understand what they need and then show you can deliver. The most successful recruiters listen. Only when you listen – and ask questions, and listen again, can you truly understand what a client needs.
As you move through the recruitment process with the same client, you’re likely to encounter other staff members involved in the interviewing or decision-making process. Here, the ability to flex your communication style to match each person encountered can be a significant advantage. Again, to follow their lead, keen observation and listening skills must be employed. One person might have a direct style, focused on the nuts and bolts, the what, the how, the now. Trying to win them over with talk of the weekend’s activities is likely to irritate this person, rather than help you build a working relationship with them. Someone else, though, may think cutting to the chase is abrupt, verging on rude – and here a short, less formal introduction goes along way to easing in to the business of doing business. Building a long-term, winning relationship with people comfortable with these different styles requires a degree of flexing on the part of the recruiter.
Communication is also about language. In order to feel comfortable, clients need to feel certain a recruiter can speak their language. Enter: jargon. Limited use of jargon can be a helpful tool – if your client needs to recruit a Hardware Engineer and as a recruiter, you understand the difference between Firewalls and Firmware, the client is likely to have greater confidence in your ability to help them. However, if you pepper your entire sales pitch with buzzwords and phrases you’re likely to turn the client off. They’re not interested in your opinion that “Generation Y lacks the bandwidth to drill down to the mission critical issue of employer branding instead of drinking from the Kool-Aid” Rather than ‘blue-sky thinking”, this style of conversation is likely to result in your listener managing their own (early) exit strategy from the meeting!
Personal appearance is also a method of communication. Arriving to a meeting unkempt, perhaps with a rumpled suit or un-ironed blouse, communicates a lack of respect – for yourself and for your client. It sends the unspoken message that you either didn’t notice (lack of attention to detail) or that you didn’t care enough to do anything about it (lack of motivation). You only have one shot at a first impression. Dress to communicate the best version of yourself if you want your client to respond positively.
Body language is an important non-verbal method of communication. Whilst this may take practice, coming more easily to some than others, keeping your physical stance open communicates approachability and confidence. Crossed arms and hunched shoulders communicate tension and defensiveness. A sub-conscious way of getting onto an even wavelength with your client is to mimic their body language. It’s also a handy trick if you find yourself fidgeting, not knowing what to do with your arms when you’re nervous!
Ultimately, the successful recruiter is the one who understands their client and whose client has faith in their ability to recruit the right person for their vacancy. Clear lines of communication are vital in order to make sure the successful recruiter is you.