Recruitment Consultant Series Part 8: Key Competencies

We’re already nearly 2/3rds of the way through the first 3 months of a recruiters life, so I thought it was a good time for you to reflect and look at how well you’re doing so far, in relation to “So you’ve become a recruitment consultant, what does that really mean?”

The key competencies that you require as a recruitment consultant highlight why this job is not as easy as people think. There are so many elements to it, that it’s hard to pick 4 or 5 key competencies, as you would with most jobs. In recruitment, there are 12 that are nearly all as important as the others when you’re a 360o consultant and many years ago I was involved with the team that spent 6 months creating them.

The aim of sharing these competencies in a post on my blog is for you to analyse your own abilities and focus on some improvement areas over the coming months.  We can’t all be perfect, but we can all be striving to be better in what we do.

1.  Planning

No surprise here for people who read my posts! Planning is the key to being a successful consultant and it’s not just planning your day. Plan for where you want to be in a year’s time, what your objectives are and how you are going to achieve them on a quarterly basis. Plan your calls and your meetings, plan your candidate and client attraction and retention plans… I could go on, but you get the idea.

2. Monitoring

Once you’ve done all of that planning, there’s no point in then not following through. Make sure that you have robust monitoring processes – whether that’s a fantastic IT system that will do it for you and produce the results / reports, or just simply, a pen and paper with which you record all of your activities and results. Whichever works for you, as there is no right or wrong when monitoring as long as you do it and you do it consistently and thoroughly.

3.  Analysing

Now you’ve got the detail from your monitoring, you have to take time out to work out what it all actually means. So many people will perform a SWOT analysis and then not do anything with the results. The analysis is what drives your future plans. For example, once you have been making sales calls to clients and monitoring the results, you can then work out your hit ratios. How many calls does it take to get a meeting or a job on? Then follow on with how many CVs do you need to send to each job to get an interview? How many interviews does it take to get an offer and how many offers to get a confirmed starter etc.? This way you’ll know whether you’re working smarter instead of harder as you go through your career.

4.  Sales opportunities

This competency isn’t just about being good at sales; some of the others enhance that ability, such as communication. Sales opportunities is about spotting the prospect – whether that is a client, candidate or position. It’s about being aware of what’s going on with a client, candidate and even your market place, so that you are ahead of the competition and calling the right person at the right time. For more detail see post 6. Communication within Sales

5. Meeting goals

Recruitment is a very goals orientated business. This competency speaks for itself. Have goals and plan how to achieve them. Monitor what you do and analyse the results regularly to make sure you’re on track and if not, adapt your plan if it‘s not working and re-focus. ‘Simples!’

6. Building profitability

Anyone can do business if you are ‘giving it away’ or ‘buying your business’. Making sure that the deal that you strike is profitable for you and your company, whilst making sure that the candidate gets the market rate all whilst being sensitive to the client’s costs, is a key attribute of the ‘consultative consultant’.

7. Communication

We have covered this in posts 5. Communication – the cornerstone to recruitment and 6. Communication within Sales, so the only thing to remind you of here is that the communication needs to be adapted to the person you are speaking to and make sure that you are being empathetic to their situation… whilst listening intently.

8. Team priorities

Recruitment consultants are often described as ‘islands’ and can be seen as selfish. It’s important that you appreciate that you are part of a wider team’s performance and especially that of the company as a whole. We all need to be able to support each other to achieve the long-term goals. If you have very successful people in your company, then ask them for a half hour master class on their favourite topic. A bit of flattery always helps, but the key here is to take copious notes and see whether their techniques would work for you.

9. Development of others

This may not be relevant to you in your first 3 months in recruitment, but as soon as your probationary period is up, then I would expect you to be there to help share your knowledge and experience with others in the team. Certainly you can be invaluable; giving feedback to your company on their induction process to help the next new starters joining. As part of the induction programmes I write, I always ask new starters to come up with 1 idea that would benefit the company.

10. Customer relationship

Building rapport and understanding your customer’s needs is critical to the success of your career. The aim is to have long term and lasting relationships with your clients and your candidates alike. Building relationships through communication is a cornerstone of recruitment.

11. Maintaining a high level of business performance

This is about taking your company’s minimum acceptable standards (MAS) and enhancing them for your own high personal standards. Don’t accept the minimum – always try to stretch yourself and do better than before. Great consultants want to be the best.

12. Perseverance

Being able to maintain focus on getting good results in spite of the daily pressures that we face in recruitment is a key competence and one that will be constantly tested. Tenacity, dedication, positive attitude, perseverance; all have been named here. To quote Andrew Carnegie (Scottish Philanthropist of Carnegie Hall fame, not Dale of “How to win friends and influence people”): “Anything in life worth having, is worth working for.”

Next week we look in more detail at the analysing and monitoring competencies – now that you have stats that you can work with for month 3.




Angela Cripps
Angela Cripps
ANGELA has 25 years of experience in the recruitment industry and calls herself an industry advocate - anything that raises standards and Angela is likely to have a link to it somewhere. A professional trainer for the past 15 years, her LinkedIn profile shows she currently works for industry bodies. As a select member of our BizProphets "thought leadership" Panel, her expert insights afford industry participants the tools necessary to master the art of recruitment.

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