(July 30, 2020) I recently ran a Facebook poll asking recruiters why they loved their job. The majority said, I like knowing I can make a difference.
The secret to making that happen in one word is influence.
Popular publications and media sites such as LinkedIn, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Forbes as well as university research make it clear that influence at work helps us to develop our careers, make progress in projects we care about, and position ourselves as someone who has desirable input.
Two Types of Influence
People have formal influence based on their job/title, but formal influence only goes so far. Informal influence, the ability to lead and sway others regardless of your position, is practical power. Practical because it doesn’t require a title, a degree, or a special designation. And, power because it is very difficult to get things done at work without it.
In my experience, a recruiter’s influence at work will increase or decrease over time. Those who grew their influence have some similarities in the way they approach their work.
Influential Recruiters are Specialists
When we have a problem, we want to turn to a specialist we trust. We talk to friends and colleagues. We check reviews to read about other people’s experiences. This is true of plumbers, accountants, chefs…the list goes on.
It’s the same in talent acquisition. Business leaders want to work with a recruiter who’s a specialist in their field. It creates an expectation that they know what they’re doing. And, when they’ve got the skills and hires to back it up, they build their influence.
Influential Recruiters Know: Do > Say
If a recruiter says that communication or collaboration is important to them when talking to colleagues, clients, or candidates, but that doesn’t sync up with people’s experience, the recruiter’s influence will diminish.
It’s not hard to believe that all recruiters want to demonstrate positive values like communication and collaboration; however, it’s easy for good intentions to take a back seat to the daily pressure recruiters face.
A recruiter with good intentions and a recruiter with influence may both be busy. The recruiters who build their influence are intentional to create habits that make good intentions a reality.
Influential Recruiters Build Relationships
Daniel Goldman made emotional intelligence (EQ) a popular topic with his 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence. Since then, EQ has maintained its appeal among HR and business leaders.
It’s no surprise that a recruiter’s influence is dependent on their ability to build relationships. Their position requires that they speak with a significant number of people that no one else in a company will. And, recruiters will often rely on this network for referrals and sourcing new candidates. Recruiters need a high EQ to successfully traverse their role that sits at the intersection of candidates, colleagues, and clients.
Our current remote working world and our future working world will require recruiters to double down on their EQ to create and maintain relationships that exemplify their personal values and the values of a company. Companies who invest in training that gives recruiters the tools to cultivate their EQ will be better positioned to reach diversity, inclusion, and equity goals as well as social impact and brand awareness goals they aspire to achieve.
An influential recruiter goes beyond finding and hiring great people. They are able to persuade others to follow their lead, build durable relationships, and can be trusted to keep the greater good in mind.