If You Want to Thrive as a Recruiter, Get to Know Your Customer(s)

23 Mar 2015 Bryan Shaw


No one ever said recruiting was easy, and if they did, they were either lying to you or not doing it right.  The truth is this. As difficult as recruiting can be, it becomes increasing more difficult when the client you’re recruiting for operates in a unique and specialized industry. Let me explain…

Just over a year ago, I had the opportunity to represent STS Technical Services as an Onsite Corporate Recruiter for a newly-signed client located just outside of our Brookfield, Wisconsin office. This particular client had been challenged with rapid growth and was struggling to keep up with their staffing initiatives.  After spending my first few days onsite learning more about their business needs and expectations, I admittedly felt a little intimidated because I knew that the recruiting journey we were about to embark upon was going to be a challenging one.

What this client required was a staffing solution that would help their business fill numerous niche-based positions. Because of this, our existing candidate pool became infinitely smaller, and I knew right away that we would have to double our efforts to exceed expectations and fill requisitions in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Throughout the year (I spent one year onsite at this particular client’s location), I found myself spending a lot of time getting to know the hiring managers, the organizational structure and the company’s product line. I soon came to learn that this client’s business could change on a dime, and that’s part of the reason I found it extremely important to cultivate relationships with every new employee I helped hire. Doing so meant that I often served as a new employee’s connection to the HR department and, in turn, they were my connection to the inner-workings of their departments and managers.

Flash forward a year, and as I began transitioning back into STSTS’ Brookfield office, I have continued to recruit for and represent this client. But rather than approach their staffing needs with an heir of uncertainty, I do it armed with the knowledge, tools and relationships I need to be an effective recruiter and true customer advocate.

Today, I can fairly easily articulate and respond to questions about company culture. In most cases, I can even share personal examples of interactions with a particular hiring manager. I also know how quickly (or slowly) the interview and offer process will move, and I speak with more confidence to potential candidates about what they can expect if hired. In other words, the once challenging aspect of hiring for a niche-based industry slowly faded as I began to learn more about the needs of the client and the expectations they had.

In summation, consider this. Staffing for a client you don’t really know is like throwing blind darts at a board. Sure, some of those darts will inevitably hit their target and stick but most will miss the mark and fall short.

So… when you set out to work on staffing project for a client you don’t really know, take some time and get to know them. The more information you have, the more one-on-one interaction you embrace, the more effective you and your team will be at finding top-notch talent to fill even the most specialized jobs.