Tay’s Chief Executive, Susanna Tait, shares the key qualities of successful recruiters
Tay Associates turned 20 this year, and a lot has changed in the industry since it was established at the end of the millennium. To stay on top of your game in recruitment you have to be reactionary: to the economy, to politics, to the digital revolution and to anything else that fluctuates the job market. Technological advancements, like the introduction of AI In the workplace and sophisticated application tracking systems, mean you have to change the way you work to stay effective and continue to get results.
But according to Susanna Tait, the company’s Chief Executive, Tay’s continued success is down to five things that have remained consistent; a list of commandments the company and its staff prioritise, even while the industry evolves.
Here they are:
Leadership is an important function of management, but being a manager and being a leader isn’t the same thing - you don’t have to be a manager to choose to be a leader. (And actually, many managers aren’t great leaders, having been promoted into their roles for the wrong reasons. For example, for being the biggest biller, when their skill lies in sales rather than leadership.)
Display the bravery, passion and honesty of a leader to motivate others to become connectors of people, nurturers of talent and facilitators of ambitions. People will follow you.
Think about the current market: with unemployment at a record low, talent shortage is a big priority for businesses looking to grow. This means that recruitment agencies need to be creative in their approach to candidate acquisition. What new methods can we use to attract and engage candidates, and gain recommendations, repeat business and exclusivity?
This means stepping out of the box and acting not just as a recruitment agency, but as a marketing agency, using targeted multi-channel strategies to engage with clients and candidates and showcase the relevance of our expertise.
It’s a widely accepted psychology that the combination of warmth and competence is what inspires the most positive impression in others - whether it’s of an individual or a brand. It goes without saying that you have to be competent at recruitment to maintain success as an agency, but not everyone prioritises warmth, which is just as important. While competence attracts new business, warmth makes customers want to keep coming back to you.
Displaying warmth isn’t rocket science: be friendly. Smile. Make and hold eye contact. And show empathy - whether it’s a candidate who has been out of work for months or a busy senior manager desperate for a reliable PA, put yourself in their shoes, and assure them you'll do your best by them.
As the old adage goes; the devil is in the detail, and this isn’t just about what you check, or how well you match a candidate to a role - it’s about who and what you remember, the depth of your listening skills and what strategy you apply to using that information. No matter what other qualities you’re displaying, if you get your facts wrong - even if it’s about something you consider relatively unimportant - you lose credibility. Which brings us to our final and arguably most important commandment...
Think about the human attributes associated with credibility. Honesty, integrity, clarity of purpose, transparency… these are the qualities you want clients, candidates and everyone else you deal with to associate with you.
There are several things that feed into this impression of you as a recruiter. Presentation, interviewing skills, market knowledge, a successful track record and ultimately, inspiring confidence that you can deliver what you are promising. Keep asking yourself - individually and as a company - are you credible? And don’t get complacent: get better. Better than the competition, better than your client’s direct hire strategy and better than you were last week.
Tay Associates was established nearly 20 years ago with the mission of being the best recruiter of PA and business support staff in London, and we’ve achieved this by being consistent in our values, attitude and work ethic, but evolving with the market and our clients to stay on top of our game.
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