It’s not who you know, it’s what you know!

By Peter Linas, international managing director at Bullhorn

Many a recruiter will have heard that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that’s important. But is that really true in today’s industry? For example, who really uses a little black book to keep track of key contacts anymore? In a digital world, where we can tweet a candidate as easily as we can locate their CV on our CRM, it’s not who you know but what you know that’s important.

Out with the little black book

In the past, the recruiter with the widest network was the one who made the most placements and generated the most revenue. In order to find the best talent, recruiters relied on their little black books.

But we don’t operate in that world any longer. This means that recruiters need to change their approach and work smarter to stay ahead of the competition. Since the little black book is no more, and people’s networks are bigger than ever, the only way to stay ahead is to recruit more effectively in the face of increasing competition.

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Tech-ing up

Recruiters need to use the latest technology to stay ahead of the curve. If your competition is gaining ground it’s because they’re using technology more effectively. However there is so much software around, that it’s often difficult to find the best fit for your company and your workflow.

This is why the flexible nature of the cloud has proved so popular in the recruitment industry. With it, the capital expenditure is low, scalability is a case of clicking a button rather than buying a server, you’ll always have the latest versions and there is no unproductive downtime while on-site or third-party engineers install critical updates on your premises or wherever your solution is hosted.

The cloud suits the increasingly on-the-move nature of recruiters’ jobs, too. The majority of SaaS applications are built to be used as effectively on a tablet or smartphone as on a desktop, from visual analytics tools like Cube19 to CRM tools such as Bullhorn.

The key to making your software really efficient is to ensure that it integrates with everything you use. Any piece of cloud software you use should integrate seamlessly – if you want to parse information from LinkedIn to a candidate’s CRM profile, it should be an automated process, if you want to view the latest correspondence between a member of your team and a client you haven’t dealt with for a month or two then it should be a button click, not a battle with your email client. Just think of how much of your day can be reclaimed by using tools that enable these processes, and how many more placements you can make in that time.

And the knowledge…

Clients want recruiters who practice intelligent recruitment. We’ve known this for some time, but to implement it requires commitment and a cultural shift, as well as an investment in training. This means recruiters need to follow the blogs their clients follow and attend the conferences they are at, to learn the ins and outs of the industry.

But to be truly intelligent, recruiters should develop a deep, comprehensive understanding of the niches within their industries. If you recruit web developers, learn coding basics. If you recruit social media managers, learn to use platforms from Twitter to Quora and everything in between. This will give you far greater insight into the qualities required for these roles, enabling you to engage clients in very relevant conversations and to make highly intelligent placements that last.

And it doesn’t stop with those extracurricular activities – smart recruiters spend as much time networking face-to-face as they do engaging in industry conversations on social media, knowing that candidates increasingly look for jobs via these networks, and not just on LinkedIn. Specialist forums are a brilliant place to find highly skilled talent, particularly in niche areas.

This all begs the question: are you developing what you know, or who you know? The hyper-competitiveness of the recruitment industry, combined with the fact that the best candidates are often signed up to your competitors too, means that it’s often the fastest recruiters with the best industry knowledge and latest tech that win the day.

Here’s the COMPLETE set of Accredited Recruitment & HR courses

Here's the COMPLETE set of Accredited Recruitment & HR courses.

Here’s the COMPLETE set of Accredited Recruitment & HR courses.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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