How to Become an External Recruiter Like a Pro

be the best external recruiter like a pro

If you ask me what life is like as an External Recruiter.

I’d say, “Welcome to the dark side!”

That wasn’t much of a welcome message for someone who had just about stepped into a full suite of networking sessions in the company of a house full of external recruiters.

In particular, it was my first year in business after having been a corporate HR person for over a decade.

Above all, things changed dramatically from the day I left my job.

The reality of the new 3rd party recruiter world dawned

I was constrained to spend extended time at my desk, in my personal space, accompanied by my mobile devices.

Being the first in the office and the last to leave, I did almost everything without assistance.

The most significant difference was I did not have a team to share the load, but functioning as a single contributor who had to multi-task.

There were endless emails to read, follow-up calls to make, and events to attend.

You have to look fresh all the time and keep the energy level high while at the same time, not appear clueless about the industry which frankly I was.

This was because I wasn’t a full-time recruiter but more of a generalist in my previous avatar in Corporate HR.

The transition from corporate to self-employed recruiter

Switching over from corporate mode wasn’t seamless.

From calling the shot on the vendor to use to being a vendor myself was a horrible experience.

Additionally, I still remember my horrible first sales pitch to a global MNC.

Armed with a mini-portfolio on my services, I went on a sales presentation to my first client.

Consequently, he cryptically told me that what I could do; his internal team could do quite well.

So what did I have to bring to the table?

I knew that he was right.

There’s nothing unique about what I could offer.

And you needed to craft an identity for yourself, a niche in which you excel to make your way forward.

How to become a better external recruiter?

So what makes a recruiter exceptional?

Here are some pointers for people who are looking for a switch from corporate to external recruitment.

1. Never take short cuts.

I never believe that you should hide any known facts from a candidate.

Namely, I once executed the order on behalf of a client whose organization had received some bad press lately.

Conversely, instead of hiding, I laid out the situation clearly for the candidates.

2. Sell the brand, not just the job.

Be a brand advocate.

Do your homework about your clients.

And ask them as many questions as you would if you were to join the organization and not the candidates.

3. Provide them with the pros and cons of a role.

There are endless job opportunities and external recruiters out there.

Therefore, as an exceptional recruiter, you must use your expertise and show them the two sides of what they’re embarking.

4. Never oversell a position.

Word travels. Therefore, your reputation is at stake here. Be true to who you are and what you can offer to both the candidates and customers.

5. A great 3PL recruiter goes the extra mile.

Make things happen fast.

And put in the additional effort required in delivering exceptional customer service.

For instance, meet your candidate if they cannot do so in your office.

Thank them even if they decline your offer, and I am sure they will be back for future roles.

6. Be prepared for failure.

A successful external recruiter sees failure as part of the job.

Consequently, they will work harder on the next assignment.

7. Key differentiator.

Always ask yourself, what value can you provide to your customers?

How are you different?

Make a constant effort to be changed.

8. Be bold with your ideas.

Even when people think it’s not a great idea. If you have the courage of your convictions, go with it. If it fails, see #6.

Life as a third-party recruiter

An external recruiter’s job is never an easy one.

I once heard someone say that an external recruiter’s job is no great shakes and doesn’t require any unique talents.

Don’t you believe that?

It’s not just about making a few calls, pushing resumes and sending across that massive bill.

No matter how big or small a firm you are working on behalf of, the war over talent is not just about speed but durability.

If you can deliver quality consistently, you will surge ahead.

Think of it as a marathon.

Hence, pace yourself and cherish every moment.

It’s the career you chose. Therefore, nurture it.

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Amos Tay

Amos Tay

Amos Tay is the Senior Partner of Hatch Asia. He is a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrength Coach and lead our executive search, coaching and expand our partnership development across the region.

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