One of my favorite recruiting stories starts standardly with me reaching out to a candidate and following up with an email.  The candidate responded by asking me why I was working so late and not cruising around in my convertible living the fabulous and high life that is Technology Recruiting. *note, I don’t have a convertible 🙂

Recruiting IS a fun and rewarding field, with the added bonus helping talented people find opportunities they find exciting. That being said, the world of recruiting consists of hard work, long hours, sometimes awkward conversations and individuals, like me and my teammates, who truly care.

Here are five lessons I learned in my first 18 months of recruiting:

1 – Relationships Matter

At the end of the day, it truly is a small world. Working as a Recruiter in Technology, I have some pretty cool conversations every day with some fascinating people. I find it highly important to not call with the motive to disqualify a candidate. Too often I hear about candidates who are cut off at one sign of a misalignment. You must always finish the screen. You never know if the person on the other end of the phone could be your next Java Developer or even your next Hiring Manager.

2 – Always Ask the Question.  Never Assume.

The interesting thing about being a Technology Recruiter is that I talk to all different type of candidates with various skill sets and experiences that have brought them to the place they are now.  Therefore, it’s vital to ask all pertinent questions up front.  This includes questions about hands-on experience, educational background, professional background, and compensation details.  As everyone knows, the one time you don’t ask where a candidate lives will be the one time he lives 2 hours from the office. On the flip side, it is equally important not to make any assumptions about candidates goals and targets.  Not asking means, you don’t know.

3 – Be Honest and Transparent

Face it, as a Recruiter, you are selling one of the most unpredictable products, people. It is important to remember that at the end of the day, the jobs you are getting your candidates will affect their day to day lives significantly. In doing so, it’s important always to be upfront and honest with your candidates so that they can make important, informed decisions. This is especially vital when negotiating compensation. People’s comfort levels vary when it comes to discussing compensation. By taking control and leading with clear facts, we can help steer away from the awkward “who is going to speak first” game. Furthermore, I am always transparent about the status of a submittal to a hiring manager. Managers get busy, and often, the presence of the need means that the manager and his team are consumed by the work caused by the vacancy.  It’s key to refuse using excuses rather sharing factual cycle details. This builds a relationship of trust and honesty with your candidates pointing back to point number 1.

4 – The More You Know. The More You Will Know.

Growing up as a Millennial, Technology is everywhere and has been almost my whole life. I even remember logging on to AOL for the first time in the 90s! It wasn’t until I worked in Technology that I gave any thought as to how these things even worked. If you look at the most successful Technology Recruiters, they all have a strong understanding of IT systems and processes.  While you don’t technically need to know everything about C# to recruit a solid .NET Developer, a keen understanding is a valuable resource in a Recruiter’s Toolbelt. Having this background will lead to better screens. Not to mention, candidates take you more seriously when they can pick up that you are not just reading off a required section of a job description.

5 – Be Creative.  Be Yourself.

In this Digital Age, the ability to connect with one’s peers is prevalent. This results in candidates often presenting their skill set in more innovative ways. Leverage tools like Facebook, read those tweets attached to Dice profiles, or visit a candidate’s personal blog. By doing so, you can get a deeper snapshot into the background, and personality of your candidates.  Not to mention, you might uncover a treasure cove of developers that your co-workers and other recruiters haven’t discovered.

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