The Great Upskilling

Over the last two years, I have spoken with over 300 recruitment directors. ‘The Great Resignation’ was never mentioned. Not even once. Fast-forward to June 2023. Did you even notice that CNN had reported The Great Resignation was over? For most recruiters, it was simply candidate shortages as usual.

Regardless of whether The Great Resignation affected your business or not, there is something more troublesome lurking around the corner.

In fact, it’s already here: The Great Upskilling

“I’m not a salesperson, I’m a recruiter.”

Take a look at the WhatsApp message below that I received last week from a very successful recruiter:

“I find hiring managers are genuinely surprised now when they receive a phone call. The pandemic obviously played its part, but I see some recruiters terrified to speak to people, even for a warm call where there is client history. Some aren’t even doing face to face video calls. Still just matching JDs to a CV in 5 minutes in what is now a sink or swim market. And they don’t consider themselves to be salespeople.”

Are you seeing this in your business? To make things worse, AI is eating away at many of the tasks that 180 degree recruiters have done to make money over the last 10 years or so.

Something’s gotta change – fast.

CEOs of big corporates will be rubbing their hands together and smiling. Armed with AI, internal recruiters can now fill more vacancies internally than ever before. So where are your new clients going to come from in the coming years? And what do you need to change in the way that you hire and train recruiters? Here’s some advice from that is highly relevant to recruitment businesses:

“Focus on creative and social skills: While some jobs may be replaced by AI, others will require skills that are difficult for machines to replicate, such as creativity, critical. thinking, and social skills. Focus on developing these skills, as they will become increasingly valuable in an AI-driven economy.”

Our 10 top recommendations for recruiters to survive and thrive in an AI-driven economy.

1. Raise the bar when hiring recruiters

This is crucial. Stop hiring anyone whom you believe to be lower than 9/10 calibre. In the AI economy, you need the sharpest, hardest, working people in your business. A 7/10 calibre person doesn’t give you a few percentage points lower productivity than a 9/10 calibre person. They give you problems.

2. Improve the way you recruit recruiters

If you raise the bar when hiring recruiters then, by default, you have to improve the way that you recruit recruiters because there are fewer 9/10 calibre people around than there are 7/10 calibre. Take no prisoners on this point, go on a recruiting recruiters training course yourself. And train all your managers with this knowledge as well.

3. Hire problem solvers

Closers are creative. They find ways to get deals over the line, regardless of what obstacles are in their way. Evaluate this competency when interviewing trainees and experienced recruiters. Be very wary of people without this attribute.

4. On day one, train new recruiters how to sell

Don’t train new starters how to use your CRM on day one. Train them how to sell. Set the tone correctly. Open questions, establishing a need, closing. Lots of role-play. And relentless professional sales skills improvement for the rest of their careers

5. Train your recruiters how to network and build relationships

This is a big one. AI cannot build relationships. Get out and meet more customers and prospect customers. Train this early with every new hire regardless of experience level. Attend client meetings with your new hires. Take them out with you when you socialise with your customers. This is priceless.

6. Train your recruiters how to win business without cold calling (by telephone)

How much does a junior soldier get paid per annum? And what’s the worst thing that could happen to you if you were that soldier? How much does a recruiter get paid as a base salary? Probably similar to a junior soldier, right? So, what’s the worst thing that could happen to you, as that recruiter, if you were to pick up the phone and speak to a prospect client? Try this mindset shift with your staff and then train and re-train all of them how to win new business. But please don’t get them cold calling because you’ll be setting up most of them to fail. Teach them the very best ‘warm-calling’ techniques and ensure that they have a plan to execute on a daily basis.

7. Create a sales culture, fire keyboard warriors

Relationship builders will survive and thrive in the AI economy. Keyboard warriors will not. Train your managers how to create a sales culture. Teach them how to make it fun and celebrate mistakes as well as successes. Get them to realise that failure is not the opposite of success it’s part of it. Don’t put up with a couple of hours business development per month. It needs to be a daily activity.

8. Teach 30 ways to find candidates without the web

A recruitment director told me last week that he’d analysed 25 recruiters working in his business. The worst performers were the ones that used job boards the most.

Teach 30 ways to find candidates without the web. If you don’t know those techniques yourself, reach out and learn them. It’s the gold used by top recruiters. Referrals, peer references, turning “What’s your reason for leaving?” into other candidates, name, gathering, generating candidates from friendly clients etc.

9. Train managers how to relentlessly improve sales skills

No one knows the manager’s staff better than the manager. Consider building a reward strategy for your manager that is dependent upon them. delivering weekly micro training sessions to sharpen one skill per week with each staff member. Train your managers how to run those micro-training sessions in a fun, constructive, inspiring way.

10. Implement weekly micro-training sessions into your company DNA

A few years back, Microsoft described micro-training as the hottest way to develop sales staff. Simultaneously, google did a blind study on high performing sales teams and they discovered one of the top traits of the best sales managers is their coaching ability. Don’t waste this golden opportunity to upskill your staff for free. Train your managers, how to run micro-training sessions in a coaching style. 15 to 30 minutes per week is all it takes. You will improve one skill per week for every recruiter that.

works for you if you implement this and put it into your company’s DNA. If you are a company CEO, make yourself personally accountable to your board to make sure this happens. The Great Upskilling doesn’t just apply to recruitment companies. In a Forbes article earlier this year Goldman Sachs predicted 300 million jobs will be lost or degraded by AI, whilst a study by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that between 400 and 800 million jobs worldwide could be displaced by automation and AI by 2030. In recruitment, the Great Upskilling is not a choice; it is a necessity in today’s changing environment. As AI takes over repetitive tasks, the winners in recruitment will be those who focus on building sales cultures, critical thinking, creativity, relationship building and top-level recruitment sales skills. These abilities are impossible for machines to replicate and are vital for recruiters in an AI-driven economy.

If you’d like to talk this through with one of our training experts, 📞 WhatsApp us.

Would you like to save 20 hours each time you hire?

And reduce your recruiters’ time time-to-bill…?

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