By Anna Halbrooks
Like many Recruiters, I started my career in the agency world before switching to corporate recruiting. Working at an agency that specialized in placing recruiters, I witnessed the demand for recruiters in software, so I decided to pursue a career in that field. I quickly fell in love with the fast-paced nature of the software space. I did not, however, fall in love with how unstable it can be. My first year in corporate recruiting proved tumultuous, to say the least. I was impacted by two different sets of mass layoffs and, at one point, wound up at a company that wasn’t a great fit. Everything I learned in that uncertain time helped me discern what’s important to me in a recruiting role. With help from the incredible network at RecruitDC, I landed my current position as the first recruiter at Thycotic where I have helped the company grow by 50% in the past year.
Between my rough start in corporate recruiting and my experience placing talent acquisition professionals, I have spent a great deal of time pondering the factors a recruiter must consider when interviewing for a new role.
As 2016 begins, many of us embark upon one or both of the two most common new year’s resolutions:
1. Losing weight (this post will not be about that)
2. Finding a new job
I hope my reflections prove helpful to any recruiters considering a new role. Below are some key factors to consider.
How does a given company define a recruiter’s role, and what percentage is strategic vs. administrative?
A recruiter’s role can vary substantially depending on the organization. Every organization requires recruiters to utilize some combination of strategic and administrative skills. From consensus building to interview design, selling the company, and even good old-fashioned ATS clean-up, a recruiter can carry out a myriad of functions. While some organizations put lots of emphasis on administrative work, others focus more on a recruiter’s ability to consult, strategize and manage busy and demanding hiring managers. Most organizations are somewhere in between. Make sure that the role you choose encompasses the skillsets you want to utilize.
What is the infrastructure of the recruiting team?
Consider how the team is structured. Do you support one business unit or several? Some organizations assign recruiters to one business unit so that they can become an SME in that field, while others assign recruiters reqs ad-hoc depending on bandwidth. Consider what business units you most enjoy supporting and how flexible you are willing to be if your skills are needed elsewhere. Does the team have a high division of labor with recruiters, sourcers, and schedulers? Or would a recruiter hold all those responsibilities for her reqs?
Think also about the tools you will have at your disposal. What is their job ad and LinkedIn budget? Which ATS are they using? When is it up for renewal, and will you get any say as to whether or not they switch to another? How often is the ATS utilized? Some organizations stress “living in the system,” while others are more laissez-faire when it comes to recording information in their ATS. Do you feel that tracking every detail in an ATS bogs you down? Or does it drive you crazy when notes are missing?
How much sourcing is involved?
What percentage of hires usually come through the ATS, and what percentage do you usually have to pursue and court? While some organizations have little trouble selecting a qualified hire from the selection of inbound applications, others expect recruiters to aggressively build a pipeline, tracking down talent via LinkedIn, blogs, networking events, etc. Some even have quotas requiring you to message X number of candidates per day, week, or month. While most recruiters conduct some type of outbound sourcing (on LinkedIn at a minimum), consider how much of your time you are willing to spend on this. Some recruiters love scouring social networks to track down talent and crafting the perfect InMail to get someone’s attention. Others dislike how time-intensive that can be.
How does the recruiting team utilize data?
Some organizations use time-to-fill as the end-all-be-all metric, while others view recruiting success as a more nuanced measurement. Extremely advanced organizations have analysts who can pull insights on hiring and interviews from massive amounts of data. Some organizations include data from hiring manager or candidate satisfaction surveys as part of a recruiter’s performance assessment. Other organizations aren’t using data at all. Determine what metrics your prospective employer tracks to determine whether or not their vision for recruiting data aligns with yours. If you interview with an organization that isn’t using any data or analytics when it comes to recruiting, pitch them on the value of these things and gauge their interest! This could be your chance to build a recruiting analytics program.
Who does the organization compete with for talent, and what is their competitive edge?
When I interviewed for my current role at Thycotic, I was shocked by how clearly and consistently employees articulated why they love working there. Our flagship product, Thycotic SecretServer, is, hands down, the best Privileged Account Management Tool out there. It is easier to use and faster to deploy than any comparable solution and that’s why we are rapidly gaining market share. Ultimately, I knew that value proposition was something I could sell to prospective candidates. I can confidently tell a candidate for the sales team that if she gets Thycotic SecretServer in front of the right people, it all but sells itself. When speaking with candidates for Tech Support I can point to a number of employees who applied to work for our team simply because they had used SecretServer and were impressed. I interviewed at other companies who were able to articulate their own competitive edge in equally compelling ways: to further an important cause, transform an industry, or even provide employees with great work/life balance and above market pay. What is the company’s competitive edge and is it something you can sell when you go head-to-head with a competitor for talent?
While this list is by no means comprehensive, I hope it is a good starting point for you to mull over as you think about the next step in your career—in 2016 and beyond!
Happy New Year, RecruitDC! Thank you all for being a part of my recruiting journey.
Anna Halbrooks is Thycotic’s Talent Scout. When she is not geeking out over all things recruiting she loves social dancing (specifically blues) and skiing. She dabbles in blogging at AdultingLikeAPro.com, answering questions posed by friends, family and cousin’s friend’s dogwalker’s about interviewing, as well as other other aspects of adulting. Follow Anna on Twitter or LinkedIn