Stephanie Hawker joined Webrecruit’s Account Management team in February 2017 and has worked on high volume recruitment projects for some of our largest clients.
Having had a substantial number of telephone interviews myself, it was an interesting experience being on the other end of the phone for the first time.
Let me start by confessing how nervous I was, regardless of the fact that I was now the one with ‘the power.’
There is a relative amount of responsibility in doing the groundwork for these projects, as what is a standard day of work for me could decide whether there will be a new day or career of work for one of the people I speak to.
Because of that, I knew I had to be on top of everything I was saying and doing, and this has become something of my personal work ethic ever since. I’m notorious for making lists; I love tick-boxes to mark tasks as complete, and highlighters make my life better, fluorescent colour by fluorescent colour.
I’m now working on my fourth high-volume recruitment project with Webrecruit and I’ve learnt more than I ever thought there would be to learn about spending 20 minutes on the phone with a stranger. Here are the four key takeaways from my experience so far:
1. Keep an open mind
I wouldn’t say that I’m a judgmental person but from a professional capacity, it can be difficult to not build your expectations for the conversation you’re about to have based on the CV or application form in front of you.
When working on these projects, I like to consider myself the facilitator of the initial human contact between the candidate and client, and I always know what information the client objectively needs me to attain. Not that I was rash before, but when talking to candidates, I’ve not only learnt how to ask the right questions, but more importantly where to find the right answers.
2. Prepare everything
Being organised makes it so much easier to stay organised! Just before I start making calls for these projects, I always take a day to myself to zone out of the office environment for eight hours and get everything ready for my next few weeks of work. This includes trackers, spreadsheets, documents full of information, email folders, and usually even scripting what I’m going to say. I don’t necessarily stick to it, and there will always be blanks when my project is over, but by preparing myself to face the task ahead, that’s when I feel best able to make the project a success.
3. Be enthusiastic and adaptable
Different roles require different approaches. The first project I worked on was aiming to source dozens of potentially-entry-level Customer Assistants for a national cinema chain. The project I am working on now involves sourcing just three National Account Directors for an international protective services company.
As a recruiter, I need to adapt the way I speak and present myself to represent the client I am working on behalf of, while still being able to engage with the candidates to make their experience as simple and pleasant as possible. I’d never done that before and it’s been fun to do.
4. Communication is key to a successful project
Everyone needs to talk. I think it’s really important to provide feedback and general updates on how the process is going from all ends, and even how we as a company feel we are performing for the client.
Everyone always wants something from someone else, and someone else again always has the answer. It’s only fair that the client knows how their project (and of course their investment), is going, but at the same time, the candidate deserves to know where they stand. Considering at this point the two parties have had no contact with each other, it is my responsibility to keep this channel of communication live.
I think I’ve become a lot more patient during my time so far in recruitment. I’ve spoken to people with a similar background to my own, and people who couldn’t be any more different. I’ve interviewed people my own age, and people over three times that. It’s difficult sometimes to find the balance between approaching each candidate individually while still treating them in a similar manner, but I’m slowly getting there.
My telephone manner has improved, I’m forever more comfortable talking to strangers, and people are always really interested when I try to explain what I do for a job.
It isn’t an area I ever thought I’d work in, but here I am, and it’s great. #learningrules