Talent acquisition leaders are juggling a lot of pins at once. Between the multiple openings that most are handling, the dozens of candidates we’re connecting with, the many strategies and tactics we’re utilizing and the handful of hiring managers that we’re there to serve, it’s a lot going on at once. With the daily chaos and mile-long to do lists, it can be easy to take our focus off our audiences. But it is those audiences, both candidates and the company you work for, that make us great recruiters. When you think about it, a recruiter is only as good as his or her candidates and hiring mangers. By focusing on these two audiences, recruiters can gain a deeper understanding of the positions they’re hiring for, the culture within those areas, the people they’re trying to reach and the type of fit that occurs when a match is made.
Know your audiences
A talent acquisition leader’s two main audiences are the candidate and the company, but what does that really mean? When it comes to the candidate audience, we’re really talking about a few different groups: active candidates, potential candidates, the passive workforce and even current employees who could be part of succession planning. Knowing how these candidates view your organization, as well as what they want, need and are capable of gives you the opportunity to allay concerns, address questions and make good matches. If all you know about a candidate is what you read on LinkedIn, you’re missing a piece of the puzzle.
Your second audience, the company, really translates to the hiring managers. These are the people you’re working with day to day and the ones who will help you present the company to candidates. Getting to know this audience not only fosters a relationship that can make your job a lot more fun and far easier, but it can also help you find a better fit for the position. This relationship is vital for quality communication, understanding and good hiring decisions.
Don’t let the old way get in the way
When you truly know your two audiences, you may find that the old way of doing things or an established process is keeping you from really connecting with our customer or meeting expectations. Understanding your audiences also means understanding that they may have different needs than the people who came before them or the box we sometimes want to put them in. Don’t be afraid to question why things are done a certain way and whether or not there’s a better way to do them, a way that your internal and external audiences may appreciate more.
Never forget your role
You wear many different hats, and it could e easy to neglect one of the many roles you play. For instance, a hiring manager’s indecisiveness could lead to a breakdown in communication with a candidate who was expecting to hear by a certain day. Knowing your audiences only comes through open and honest communication, so you may have to step up when it’d be easier to point fingers. We are the face of the hiring experience (and to candidates, the organization), which means we are dual facing because we must engage, relate and meet the expectations of two different audiences. This requires us to be more than just a recruiter. We are in the business of project management, sales, politics and customer service. It’s a tough job, but when we fully step into the role, we can create positive, lasting impressions on both sides.
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Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.