360 recruitment: as challenging as it is rewarding

Recruitment 10 min read

After a few weeks of being a '360' recruiter, I am convinced that this way of recruitment is the most beneficial and exhilarating type.

But first of all: how have you all been?

I know it's been quite some time since I wrote something about my adventure as Recruiter for Volt Gent. Time enough to gather my thoughts on my new challenge as 360 recruiter! And there's quite some stuff to be find out here in my 5th blog on recruitment.

Excited to start this one so let's get down to business ⬇️

What topics will I discuss in this edition?

  • First off I will explain what 360 recruitment actually means for those of you readers not familiar with the term or recruitment at all.
  • When you have a good understanding of the concept, I will discuss some benefits of this practice. Why a recruiter should be (at least for some part) 360.
  • It's intense and - more importantly - damn exciting. I'll end this blog by sharing my personal experience on this topic. And why I think it simply is awesome.

So what is 360 recruitment actually?

Just like the contour of a circle, you're involved in virtually every aspect of the process.

As I've pointed out, 360 recruitment ranges from sourcing candidates, over contacting companies and closing deals to making great matches (yeah, 'selling' them, however the former sounds so much more... friendly).
For those of you familiar with the concept, feel free to skip to the next topic.

Anyway, nothing wrong with yours truly trying to educate!
Maybe even to make some people enthusiastic about recruitment?

Sourcing

It all starts with the sourcing of candidates.
Some candidates are open to the market, others are not.

In my niche, developers in the .NET-stack, it's quite simple: it's a highly competitive market, so the good ones (even mediocre due to the scarcity) have jobs. So often there's no other choice than to try to explain other options through InMails on LinkedIN or good 'ol headhunting. If you want to find out more on these types of sourcing, check out my previous blogs on these topics.

Anyway, it's how you build your 'talent pool': the collection of people you can actively work with, meaning introducing them to companies.

Sourcing
It all starts with sourcing.

This is - for me at least - the most challenging part of the whole 360 recruitment process. Especially due to the fact that I have to actually engage with them and not the other way around. Never has it happened until today that a good .NET-developer contacted me and said:

"Yannic, you're just the guy I was looking for. Thank god! Can you help me find a job?" Nope, hasn't happened. Ever. And probably never will.

So I have to reach out to them ('reversed marketing') and explain to them that there are other opportunities. Other options.
And that there's no harm in just checking out these opportunities.
The choice is still made by them eventually. Because the candidate is king.
One of the first things I learned during my first week as recruiter.
And it still stands today.

No easy task, I assure you.

But once in a while after putting in an insane amount of sourcing work (no really: insane), you will get interesting profiles on your talent pool. And then you can start to work for them. Not with them though. What do I mean by that?

Closing deals

Because the only way to close deals for recruitment partnerships with companies is by approaching them with profiles which actually would fit the job description and equally important: fit the company and its culture.

If you work with profiles, it's like using them as bait to attract companies. As always: it may work once in a while, but in the long run? Doubtful it'll turn out to be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Working for them actually means that you are actively only introducing people to companies where there might be an actual potential fit (however, nothing is certain until the interview of course). Ideally, you have visited the company before or you know somebody who really has a good picture of the place. If not, do lots of research and try to get to know as much as you can about the company. There's more than enough to find out about them these days (website, blogs, LinkedIN posts,...).

Closing deals
Making deals is easier when you have something to offer.

Anyway, approaching companies with a good profile will give you an advantage. Prospecting with the promise that "you'll send a CV when you find a candidate which would fit the job" won't get you very far.
Rather introduce yourself and explain: "Hey, I saw you guys were looking for X-profile? Well I am currently guiding this candidate in his search for his next opportunity [insert pitch about candidate here]". Before doing this be sure to:

  1. Know your candidate. Getting them in for a screening first is the ideal way to go as it'll give you better insights than a few phone calls ever will.
  2. Know the company you're prospecting. As explained above, try to get as much information about the company as you possibly can. It shows interest and that you're also actually trying to find a good match with your candidate - not only to make a sale.
  3. Prepare to explain why the candidate could fit the job description and the company itself. Dare to ask questions if you're not sure about some things. Maybe it turns out that it isn't such a good fit as you thought.
    It happens. But it'll give you credibility.
  4. Try to find the balance between giving some information, but not too much.
    If you disclose the full name of the candidate during or send the full CV immediately after the prospection, companies would be a fool not to contact the profile themselves - saving them the fee to be paid.
    Guess who likes that idea?

Selling

We're a business. Not charity. Except when you're recruiting for Amnesty International. Then, well... Yeah...

This is - for me anyway - the most exhilarating part. Pitching your candidate and trying to convince the company that they should give the person a chance to prove themselves. Scheduling an interview always gives me a rush, even though it's by no means a guarantee for effective placement.

How you sell depends on yourself.
Some prefer to do it in a formal way, others informal.
Some feel more confident while sitting down and focusing on the sales-talk, others like myself like to walk around with lots of gesticulation (sometimes like an Italian on speed).
Whatever works.

Selling
Your style of selling? Whatever works.

I'm going to be honest though: not everybody can sell.

Sounds harsh maybe, but that's the truth.

You can learn some techniques, which will definitely get you a long way, but not having that 'gut feeling' for selling will never allow you to close deals with the more difficult clients.
I want to stress here that, how gifted you may be at selling, that a good preparation is vital.
However, everybody needs to grow and gain confidence in doing sales, so give yourself a chance even when you f*ck up a few times.
It happened to all of us. But finding out how you feel at best in combination with a good preparation is a great start.

Benefits

Being involved in the sales part as well as the sourcing part has some mighty benefits.

Enter in a personal relationship

First off, you enter in a personal relationship with the company itself. You start to know the company and the person in charge of hiring, enabling you to detect even better matches with candidates in your talent pool. You start to know how to approach your SPOC (Singe Person Of Contact). But equally important is that the companies start to know you...

You build a reputation

For yourself as well for the company of course.

"That guy from Volt Gent, he really is sending us some great profiles which really could match with what we're looking for."

That's the type of mindset you should be aiming for.
That you become the recruiter-to-go-to when they're in search of a specific profile. And that they trust you when you present one.
Better to introduce 1 great profile each month than 3 sh*tty ones each week. It'll burn your credibility.

You control the whole cycle

Because who can introduce a candidate better to a company than the person who was engaged with that person from the beginning? As mentioned before, you'll be able to match the right people with the right companies in a better way.

Do note that I myself am focused on permanent placements and not contracting. In case of the latter, sometimes it is more important to offer a 'quick fix' instead of a long-term, sustainable solution. Some companies simply are in need of that.

But the biggest benefit for me is quite simple...

It's as intense as it is exciting

It's simply exhilarating.

Imagine: you often shed blood and tears to finally get somebody who is open to discuss his/her career-options with you. You invite the person for a chat (screening).
What experience to they have?
How is their personality?
And most important: what are they looking for in their next challenge?

Aside from all the indispensable but enormously time-consuming administration, you start to introduce the person to different companies where you suspect a potential 'fit'.

The company (provided that you've already agreed upon the Terms of Business...) agrees to invite the candidate for an interview.
This person is excited, because you've explained clearly to him/her why this company could be a great match.
And let's be honest: you're excited as hell as well.

You receive a phone call:

"Yannic, I had a great interview. This really feels right: I have a feeling I can offer them what they're looking for and I would be happy to work at this company. Did you even know that they [insert something to be really enthusiastic about here]"

You never get tired of such feedback. And when the candidate feels this way, often the interviewer feels at least more or less the same about it. Often there is a second round, but when you facilitated such a good (but maybe not perfect) match, honestly, the placement itself feels less important.

However it is welcome for the commission. Come on, by this point you know I'm no bullsh*ter, right?

But let me be clear on this, it's tough.
It's a lot of work, with sometimes even no pay-off.
Sometimes candidates suddenly go dark.
Sometimes they sign somewhere you didn't introduce him/her.
Sometimes they even decide to stay at their current company.

It happens. Sometimes it all comes crashing down. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy the rollercoaster-ride. And if there's a placement - which there will be sooner or later - it'll all have been even more worth it.

Enjoy the ride.

Except when you're in an actual rollercoaster. In that case stay the hell out of that thing if there's any chance of crashing.

That's it for now!

More thoughts and insights on this topic coming to my next blog.

📢 Tune in soon and be sure to leave your insights and comments!
🔵 Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @YannSchelfh
❓ Questions about new career-opportunities in IT? Find us at Volt Gent!

See you back soon 🙌

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