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Friday, January 25, 2008

Can You Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?

Despite what has become common knowledge based on the old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," it's important to realize that this is really a myth that has little basis in reality. Oh yes, it certainly is a bit more difficult for a seasoned recruiter to accept training, but it certainly isn't impossible. This is especially true if you're patient and stay consistent with the lessons throughout the process.
So where do you start? It's best to keep in mind that the recruiter has probably already been trained at least once, whether properly or improperly. A seasoned recruiter may already be set in his or her ways as to what is acceptable behavior and what is not.
If you have any hope of changing one of these behaviors, you must reprogram the recruiter’s thinking process, and here's a good example.
Let's say a recruiter was trained to utilize what resources they are given – Job Boards, Search Engines, etc. but times have changed and the recruiter is now being asked to source, manage hiring managers, candidates, process, data entry, job fairs, coming up with “new ways” to attract talent, etc. The challenge is to train the recruiter’s way of thinking so that he/she understands that the sourcers/researcher they work with knows what they are doing and the recruiter must let go of the control by building a strong relationship with the sourcer/researcher, respecting the level of expertise the sourcer/researcher has in getting the job done which will allow both to win.
Here's the best way to handle this situation:
Sourcer/Researcher should make certain the recruiter is clear in what your role is when reaching out to you for help. It is your job as a sourcer/researcher to train and educate the recruiter on how you will help them find great talent. At this point it is important to write up a Service Level Agreement (SLA) as you are speaking with the recruiter. Sit with the recruiter and show a few new tricks on how you might build a great pipeline; doing this will create a natural brainstorm session in return will bring some solutions on how to build a pipeline. It will also provide some power to the recruiter when they meet with their Hiring Manager as they have new ways of finding candidates and will gain respect with the Hiring Managers. Suggest to the recruiter to invite you (sourcer/researcher) with them when making the initial contact with the Hiring Manager; this creates a strong recruiting front. This style of communication provides both sourcer/researcher and recruiter understanding, focus and a way to split the responsibilities - so we are helping each other and building a strong team relationship
You can train an old dog new trick(s), you just have to build trust, constantly communicate and share knowledge we all can use!

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