By Kathleen Smith
The Olympics are over, (or did you even know there were on?) I remember growing up watching Nadia Comancei reach the perfect 10, Mark Spitz setting records for swimming and watching the swoosh of Dorothy Hamill’s hair. We looked to these idols, not only in sports, but in every day and every way because they were great professionals.
I work with recruiters every day, and each day, I learn that each recruiter has developed their career in a different way; either starting out as recruiters, sales people or human resources and then they “made it up” along the way. Some had mentors, some were just thrown into the deep end of the pool, others maybe they took a course or maybe they just had a natural talent for it and it just clicked like Michael Phelps.
Each recruiter’s career has developed based on the needs of their positions. Some have focused on an industry while others have focused on a skill set. Whatever the path you have taken, there are some key career development tools to take into consideration:
- Setting aside time for your own career development: Too many times I hear from recruiters that they don’t’ have enough time to….(fill in the blank) but this always relates to what they need for their own career development.
- Be a Jack or Jane of all trades: Yes, you might not be a sourcer, but it is good to keep up to know some of the basics. Not into social media, true it can be confusing, but how can it support your efforts. Expanding your toolkit expands your effectiveness, but also supports enhancing your recruiting skills.
- Understand the functions that impact your role in the company: I find that too many people operate in silos. Even if you are not a sales person, business development does impact your role, so understanding this function and building a relationship with those team members will better help you in your role.
- Finding a mentor: Mentoring a big buzz word right now. Most don’t have time to be a mentee, let alone how to find a mentor. I recommend a hybrid- find a recruiter you admire/respect, invite them for coffee, and ask them 1 or 2 questions that really matter to you at that moment; not the nitpicky questions like what I do with a troublesome hiring manager, but some of the bigger questions, what skill set has been most useful to you and why. Then also find a recruiting superstar, one who blogs, speaks and teaches, that you admire and shadow/stalk them.
- Networking: Recruiters tell job seekers all the time, network, and yet when recruiters are looking for a new job – as so many recruiters are these days- their networks are pretty light. So set aside time to network online and offline each month such as Project SAVE, recruitDC or We Recruit DC.
Almost every recruiter I have had the pleasure to work with has an inner Olympian recruiter, we just need to get better at supporting each other in bringing out the best in all of us.