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Recruiter Training – Tips from Professional Development Experts

Recruiter Upskilling and Training

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

When did you last sharpen your axe?

In recruitment, staying ahead of the curve is not just an advantage – it’s a necessity. As the industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace, the importance of upskilling, training, and education cannot be overstated.

In this article, we will delve into why upskilling is crucial for recruitment experts like you and explore the best options in Australia for a recruiter’s professional development.

Why Recruiter Training is Important:

Adaptability in a Dynamic Industry:

The recruitment landscape is constantly changing, influenced by technological advancements, shifting job markets, and evolving candidate expectations. Upskilling ensures that you are equipped to navigate these changes effectively, adapting to new trends and staying relevant.

Enhanced Performance and Productivity:

Continuous learning fosters a culture of improvement. By acquiring new skills and knowledge, recruitment experts can enhance their performance and productivity. This not only benefits individual recruiters but also contributes to the overall success of recruitment teams and organisations.

Meeting Client and Candidate Expectations:

Clients and candidates today expect recruiters to possess a diverse set of skills beyond traditional recruitment practices. Upskilling enables professionals to meet these heightened expectations, providing a competitive edge in attracting top talent and delivering exceptional service to clients.

Thoughts from Industry Experts

We spoke to some of the leader experts who provide recruiter training and upskilling services in Australia. They’ve shared their thoughts about why you should be looking to improve your skills, and how they help recruiters like you. 

Greg Savage from Savage Recruitment Academy

Greg Savage
Greg Savage
Principal

Why do you believe upskilling is crucial for recruiters in today’s landscape? 

Training and developing recruiters has always been essential.

Unfortunately, it’s one of the blind spots of our profession, and many Recruitment companies do not put in the effort or resources to develop rookies into productive recruiters. It is equally worrying that they do not invest in good recruiters to make them great.

 Right now, it’s more important than ever for Recruitment organisations to develop their staff. We have a whole generation of recruiters who started in the industry post-Covid and benefited from a surge of jobs. Those people learned fast, worked hard and did well, but in many cases, they worked superficially. They did not develop deep recruiting skills, and they are suffering for it now that the market has shifted.

The recruitment market is not ‘hard’ right now, although many recruiters complain that it is. It’s just different. A better way to describe it is that it is ‘normal’. Recruitment leaders should be investing in training and developing people to help them remain productive during this more challenging time, and then, as the market takes off, as it inevitably will, those people will thrive.

Unfortunately, many owners will not do this. Instead, they will ride the recruitment see-saw, laying off all their less experienced recruiters to cut costs. Then, in 12 months, when the market booms, they squeal about the shortage of recruiters. Wise leaders take a longer-term view, and it always involves people development.

The other thing to remember is that coaching and learning are retention. This is so obvious that many people miss it. When an individual feels they are getting better, developing skills, being stretched, and making progress in their career, they are much more likely to enjoy their job, experience enhanced self-esteem, and therefore stay with their organisation. Staff turnover in Recruitment is one of our biggest problems, and solving it is a complex matrix of different issues, but learning and training is foremost.

Can you briefly describe how you help recruiters enhance their skills and knowledge?

Plenty of training materials are available to recruiters, but the Savage Recruitment Academy has an edge in several ways.

The Academy contains over 100 hours of bespoke recruitment agency training. It is different because it is pragmatic, easily understandable, and applicable to today’s marketplace.

The majority of the content is delivered by Greg Savage himself, who has over 40 years of experience in the industry. Greg has trained and developed thousands of recruiters in his own companies, as well as hundreds of thousands more across the world, via speeches, seminars, events, and webinars. The SRA has Recruitment covered, including an intensive Rookie program, a 15-hour masterclass focusing on Temp and Contract, a sales masterclass, a client management pathway, candidate management, and much more. What is more, there is a whole suite of training for Billing Managers, senior managers, and director-level people in the recruitment industry.

How have you observed the industry evolving, and what specific skills or knowledge areas are becoming increasingly important?

Any program of people development in the Recruitment industry has to provide insights into how the industry is changing, including the evolution of tech and artificial intelligence, and the changing expectations of both clients and candidates.

At the same time, there must be an element of ‘back to the future’ because time-honoured Recruitment consulting skills around the absolute fundamentals such as qualifying a job order, conducting a client meeting, understanding the candidate’s true motivation for a move, selling exclusivity, negotiating fees, articulating your differentiators, and positioning yourself as a consultative advisor must also be part of any training program. Many recruiters have never been taught those skills; even old-timers seem to have lost them. The SRA has all that covered.

Woven throughout the material on the Savage Recruitment Academy is the understanding that artificial intelligence will not replace recruiters, but that recruiters need to understand which parts of the job will be automated and which parts will become more human. This is absolutely critical because the job of a recruiter will change. The transactional, procedural and logistics work will no longer be important for the recruiters themselves. What now becomes critical is the ability to build relationships, enhance credibility, provide insights, and act as a trusted advisor to clients and candidates. It’s sadly true that many recruiters have done quite well in recent years without those skills, but that will no longer be the case. That’s where the Savage Recruitment Academy provides tangible support.

What advice would you give to recruiters or recruitment teams looking to maximise the benefits of training programs for their professional development?

To be brutally honest, simply signing up to the Savage Recruitment Academy or any online learning platform is not helpful unless there is a clear program of how to use the material and explicit accountability for Leaders and consultants to invest time and mental space.

 The best way to use the Academy is in group training. We recommend that appropriate segments be viewed as a team, and then debate and discussion follow. After that, the leader needs to get agreement on commitments to change behaviours and experiment with new ideas. If that cannot be done in a physical group, it can undoubtedly be set as a task for each individual to review videos and then an online group session to decide and agree on the road forward.

Certainly, an individual will benefit from watching and concentrating on the material on their own too, which will be part of its use. But even in that scenario, it is far more productive if there is a follow-up debrief with a leader or colleague to check in on understanding and agree on the next steps.

Learning does not ‘wash over you’ like a wave. It takes proactive effort and commitment.

In a matter of days, and perhaps by the time this article is published, the new artificial intelligence component of the Savage Recruitment Academy will be launched. This involves a sophisticated chatbot that will be able to answer any Recruitment question put to it. This is not a standard ChatGPT type device, which simply scans the broader Internet for ideas. The Savage AI will only take its answers from the content on the Savage Recruitment Academy. Therefore, the answers generated will be delivered by people with extreme expertise in Recruitment.

 In addition, each answer will point the subscriber to the appropriate videos on the Academy for enhanced learning. This is a complete game-changer as it allows a recruiter to have a ‘mentor’ by their side throughout their working day, and the training becomes woven into the actual operational doing of the job.

Sophie Robertson from Younique Coaching

Sophie Robertson
Sophie Robertson
Director

Why do you believe upskilling is crucial for recruiters in today’s landscape? 

Upskilling is crucial in any landscape as we know recruitment is cyclical and sometimes recruiters can have short memories. During the post-COVID boom with an abundance of jobs, many recruiters went completely transactional and viewed candidates as gold, but during a slow down which we are seeing in some sectors, those essential Business Development skills went by the wayside and now they are scrambling. The focus now is on Business Development and clients again, which to me is about relationship building. If you make sure you always focus on relationship building with both clients and candidates you will do well in recruitment. Recruitment is a long game and unfortunately focusing on the “quick wins” denies this fact. Also, there is new tech and automation coming out all the time that can help with organising recruiters, which should allow them more time to focus on the human and relationship-building aspect.

Can you briefly describe how you help recruiters enhance their skills and knowledge?

To be a great recruiter, they need to have the 3 C’s:

  • Competence
  • Confidence
  • Consistency

Younique Coaching uses a blend of coaching/mentoring and training to work in one or all three areas. This may be in relation to business development, growing temp, leading teams, and negotiations. Any part of the vast recruitment toolkit needed for success.

How have you observed the industry evolving, and what specific skills or knowledge areas are becoming increasingly important?

The industry has changed and evolved in many ways. The generations have changed. Tech has changed. Skills that need enhancing are the ability to start and hold a conversation. To analyse a client company’s needs. Being able to have meaningful face-to-face or virtual meetings as opposed to doing everything via email. So in summary strong communication, interpersonal and analytical skills have always been important, but even more so now. Strong EQ and learning how to read people are equally important. All these skills are learnable and need to be taught from day one.

What advice would you give to recruiters or recruitment teams looking to maximise the benefits of training programs for their professional development?

Understand that learning is never done. Ensure that you have a consistent training program supported by consistent check-ins and follow ups as individuals in a team will learn at different rates and struggle with different things. Something that I have found effective is to have a group training session in the form of a workshop and then follow up with individual one-on-one coaching. That way everyone has the same foundational knowledge and language, so they can support each other whilst also getting their individual needs attended to. Training works best when consistent rather than a one-time shot in the arm event. Think of it as Lego blocks. First, you build your foundation and then you add parts to it. Whilst recruitment is not easy, it is actually quite simple, if you distil it down to its core parts. Also, ensure that learning is ongoing for everyone. Not just for the newbies at the start. For high billers, they are often the ones that want to learn, which is what made them high performers in the first place. Yet they often get left to their own devices.

Paul Lyons from AQR Australia & New Zealand

Paul Lyons
Paul Lyons
Director

Why do you believe upskilling is crucial for recruiters in today’s landscape? 

As sales specialists, Recruiters aren’t immune from the need to continue to become better at what they do, month on month, year on year. If they don’t improve, they find their low ceiling in the industry pretty quickly.
Their mindset about their personal development needs to be as obsessive as making the placement and here are several reasons why;

  • There are always new industry recruitment trends, so a recruiter always needs to be both aware of the change in trend and skilled in how to manage it.
  • A majority of buyers will research the recruiter or their firm independently online or with people they know, so recruiters need to be conscious of how they are portrayed online and make the necessary changes if they fall short.
  • The decision-making process around using a recruiter is becoming increasingly arduous and complex with more people in the process and those people are also generally more educated about the process.

So, the recruiter needs to be more skilled at ensuring they know and can address all the potential issues of all the influencers and decision makers AND also be better than ever before at the art of negotiation.

Recruiters need to be more reflective and self-aware of how they impact clients, candidates, colleagues and every situation and make the necessary mental and behavioural changes to positive effect.

Can you briefly describe how you help recruiters enhance their skills and knowledge? (and how mental toughness is needed in recruitment)

Mental toughness is the scientific name for a psychological construct that may also be known as mental skills, mental strength, emotional resilience and so on, and which describes the extent to which an individual can consistently manage their emotions when under stress and pressure.
Since recruitment is a roller-coaster ride of emotions, high and low, during any given day, the more we are able to stay calm, consistent and confident the more we’ll be able to make logical objective decisions which tend to lead to better decisions.

I help recruitment leaders and their teams to develop a Balanced Mindset by measuring their mindset, helping them to understand when and how they need to respond in stressful situations, and then providing ongoing strategies to develop an effective mentally tough mindset.

How have you observed the industry evolving, and what specific skills or knowledge areas are becoming increasingly important?

People from all walks of life including recruitment, increasingly understand that how they think, or feel, directly affects how they act or behave, which then has a direct impact on a conversation or situation.
So, understanding their mindset and how to make it work more effectively for them becomes critically important.

What advice would you give to recruiters or recruitment teams looking to maximise their professional development?

I can’t stress the importance of keeping up to date with technical (hard) and intangible (soft skills) as both are equally important.
However, since everyone is different and learns in different ways, effective professional development must a certain extent be tailored to the individual’s needs.

Ez Khan from Hume Scope

Ez Khan, Humescope
Ez Khan
Managing Director - Hume Scope

Why do you believe upskilling is crucial for recruiters in today’s landscape? 

Upskilling for recruiters today is crucial!!! Recruitment is evolving and has been for many years and in all honesty, I’ve not seen many agencies adapt to these changes well. Tech is advancing at a breakneck pace, client engagement has changed, and how candidates find us and how they build trust with us has changed. Recruiters need to be adaptive, tech-savvy, and incredibly perceptive. Upskilling is not a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have to stay relevant and billing!

Can you briefly describe how you help recruiters enhance their skills and knowledge?

At Hume Scope, we’re not about old-school, sit-and-get training. Our approach is more hands-on. All of our courses are live (via Zoom) and we encourage participation and workshopping in sessions. We have 3 flagship 6-week live courses for recruiters at all stages of their career – The new recruiter program, BD Course, and Leadership Course. 

In each of these courses, there is weekly live session time as well as actionable coursework to ensure that recruiters walk away not just with knowledge but with real, actionable skills they can use from day one. All training is based on real-life use cases. We still recruit ourselves so everything we teach is current and based on fact. 

How have you observed the industry evolving, and what specific skills or knowledge areas are becoming increasingly important? 

The recruitment industry at the moment, is constantly innovating. The rise of AI, automation,  data analytics, and digital marketing means recruiters now need (and to be honest always have in my opinion) to be part-marketer, part-analyst, and part-tech guru. Soft skills like emotional intelligence and adaptability are also critical. Recruiters need to be as comfortable with data as they are with people – that’s the new standard.

What advice would you give to recruiters or recruitment teams looking to maximise the benefits of training programs for their professional development?
For recruiters or teams looking to make the most out of training programs, here’s my two cents: Be curious and be hungry. And ONLY go on to a course, if you yourself want to learn. I know that sounds basic, but if you are not fully invested and present, you will be wasting your time. “Your career is your responsibility” is what we say to every course attendee and I feel like this sums up what I’m saying perfectly. Your manager can pop you on a course and pay for it, but if you’re not invested and want to learn, adapt and implement, then it’s a waste of everyone’s time. So please please go into any training course with the intention of learning!

Final Thoughts

In our fast-paced industry, recruiter training and upskilling is not just a pathway to success; it’s the foundation upon which success is built. 

By embracing continuous learning, recruitment experts can adapt to industry changes, elevate their performance, and meet the evolving needs of clients and candidates. The options for upskilling are diverse, catering to various learning preferences and schedules. 

As recruitment professionals, the journey of upskilling is not just a personal investment; it’s an investment in the future of the entire industry.

Identifying Soft Skills in Candidates - Soft Skills to Hire ForRobert Walters Accounting and Finance Team
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