Friday, July 28, 2006

Qualities of a good Recruiter

Who exactly is a recruiter? According to Dictionary a recruiter is

  • noun: an official who enlists personnel for military service
  • noun: someone who supplies members or employees

The first definition perhaps might not be relevant to our context but the later can be considered as a generic description of a recruiter and this is what we shall refer to as a definition of a recruiter. In many parts of the western world where HR/Recruiting space has existed for long, they have in the past decade or so gone through many changes and they are still developing and evolving, one such eg; from Personnel dept. to Human Resources dept. or even Human Capital. Like wise, atleast for some of us, we are experiencing new specialized roles in the recruiting space

  • Consultant
  • Recruiter
  • Researcher
  • Sourcer

The qualities that are essential for a Consultant/Recruiter could vary vastly from a Sourcer (a Sourcer is a computer geek, an introvert, good in mining information/data from the net, etc), however a Researcher’s role might even overlap with some of the roles played by Consultant/Recruiter. A Recruiter source and manage her clients and also generate relevant profiles to meet the clients requirement.

Some of the behavioral qualities that are common in most of the successful recruiters are:

  • Observant
  • Sharp and quick grasp of matters
  • Good memory
  • Fast learner and knowledgeable
  • Self starter
  • Persistent
  • Empathetic
  • Organized
  • Good communicators
  • Good listener
  • Multi-tasker
  • Pro-active

A good recruiter must have a good grasp of the thing that are happening around her, she must have good knowledge about the market, the domain/industry, technology, the client, the job, etc. She must also act as an Information storehouse - have information or knows how to access for information.

Some of the skills intrinsic to any great recruiter would include(source:
Job Junction):

1. Interview skills:
Knows and use array of interviewing techniques
2. Internet skills:
Boolean, Flip, peel, x-ray websites to find passive candidates
3. Computer skills:
Understands what is O.S, network, Local drive, server etc and very handy with keyboards shortcuts and very comfortable with MS word and Excel.
4. Sales skills:
A good recruiter must have strong verbal and written skills, good presentation and negotiation skills. Convince a client for her business-sell your business/company to the client and convince a candidate for the job-sell the job to the candidate.
5. Analytical skills:
Good with numbers and calculations. Resumes sent, shortlisted, interviewed, selected and/or reject - a good recruiter must keep track of these numbers, analyzed, and take action wherever necessary to see the increase in numbers of closures. A good recruiter must always quantify and talk numbers.
6. People skills: Build and develop internal and external relationships – with client, candidate, colleagues etc.

- Happy hunting folks!-

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Just the other day I came across this new term call bookmarklets and I got curious and started searching the net. To my suprise, this indeed is a very good and useful tool and I was kicking myself for not finding out about it much sooner. I found it to be very useful for anyone who spends lots of time on the net surfing or searching or…. And as for anyone who calls himself a recruiter this is a must must tool to learn and use and you must not be found without one.

A Bookmarklet is a small JavaScript program that can be stored within a bookmark in most popular browsers and in favorites in Internet Explorer (that’s why some call it favelets or favlets).

Bookmarklet lets you:

  • Modify the way a web page is displayed within the browser (e.g., change the font size, background color, change the image size, etc.).
  • Extract data from a webpage (e.g, hyperlinks, images, text, etc)
  • Takes you directly to a search engine, with the search term(s) input either from a new dialog box, or from a selection already made on a web page by highlighting the word(s) using your mouse.

For more information on bookmarklets and to download more than 100 bookmarklets that are ready to be use, please visit

Happy Hunting folks!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Understanding the term Job stretch

Job stretch is a term describing an environment in which you show what you can do on a larger stage -- heftier operating budget, bigger challenges, and supervision of more employees. – Bill

While negotiating with candidates who are on a high-end, middle management or senior level position often what motivates them for a change might not necessarily be on the usual salary improvement or benefits alone but often it could be on what we call as job stretch. It does become very pertinent that a proper probing is undertaken to fully understand what drives and motivates a candidate. For many candidates who are content with their current earnings(it might surprises some, but there are many people out there who are not so money driven- I guess its all about putting priorities in place), most invariably what they look for is a career growth- which can translate to taking on more challenges, more work load, greater opportunity to be part of the decision making team, etc. For some they are far sighted enough to understand that with growth and successful delivery and meeting the employer’s expectation, one can definitely be in a better position to be awarded with future raises, promotions and even more growth. Such people are generally much focused and they know what they need to achieve and they are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices and meet their pre-determined set of goals.

In order for a recruiter to negotiate based on a Job stretch it is very crucial that the recruiter understands 2 things first, and understand them well. First, what does the job description say and have an in-depth understanding on the job profile. Second, understand the complete profile of the candidates – his achievements, aspirations, roles and responsibilities, etc. Next, look for gaps between what you can offer and what his expectations are vis-à-vis job stretch. Identifying these gaps is the key to successful closure.

Examples of job stretch:

  • For a computer programmer – taking up a new job where opportunities are expected to work on new technologies or skills.
  • For a recruiter – opportunities for taking on more number of accounts with more number of back-end support.

***Happy Hunting folks!*

Monday, July 24, 2006

Internet candidate search

With the advent of Google, for many of us our job vis-à-vis finding and extracting information and sourcing people and resume becomes much more convenient and faster. Today the importance of Google in our day to day activities cannot be undermined. Infact, we will have a separate series of discussion on Google in the days to come and I hope to share with you the wonderful thing you can do with Google to aid you in your search process.
Searching for resume on the net or ‘Googling’ for resume has become one of the tools a good recruiter frequently resort to besides all the other traditional methods and as such it will be advantageous and very prudent for any budding or seasoned recruiter to try and understand and/or master the art of using the internet for sourcing resumes for both active and passive candidates.
The following steps are adapted from Job Machine and I’ve personally practiced the steps and am sure most of us in the recruitment industry today would be using some or if not all of the steps to search for candidates.

Step 1: Understand the requirement and identify the search keywords.
One of the key attributes a good recruiter must acquire and developed is the knack for understanding what the client wants (give an apple if the client wants and apple and not guava or pear). If a recruiter can understand what the client requires then it is also safe to assume that she must also be able to identify the search keywords from the requirement. Search keywords are especially relevant for those in the IT industry. Eg:
ABC client is looking for a Systems Analyst with Interwoven Teamsite skills and at least 3 years of J2EE experience including Websphere, JSP and XML. The candidate must also have 2+ years of experience using PERL scripting.
From the above specification, one can understand the keywords which are highlighted/bold. Therefore, the search should contain the above highlighted keywords.

Step 2: Broadcast the job.
Broadcasting the job is a very critical activity any recruiter must get habituated with. It serves the following purposes – build your networking channel, image building exercise for your company, building your databank, etc.
The first step must be to post the job on your company website and to the subscribed paid sites (Eg; Monster, Jobsdb, Naukri, etc) and how you design and word your post will matter on the responses; this is a separate topic and shall be discussed in the future.
The second step will be to post it to the free sites (Eg; devbistro, jobvertise, etc).
The third step will be mass mailing using bcc on your email application to those candidates whose contacts are already in your databank.
The forth step involves posting the job in all the online groups that you have a membership and if not get registered and start posting (Eg; yahoogroups – teamsite, ezlink, etc)

Step 3: Search Internal database
If you are with an established company you are almost likely to have a sizeable database and chances are that you might find someone with the skills that you are looking for. How well you organized your internal database or how good you are in mining your database either manually or using external search applications is very important. After all, what’s the point in having and maintaining a database if you are not successful in identifying the right profile from your database, assuming the right profile resume does exist within your database. One very efficient search application is call X1. If your organization decides to use X1, you then do not have to spend too much time in organizing your email folder or your internal database, X1can be configured to search all your inbox, server and local hardisk. X1 performs the search instantaneously like how Google desktop does its search. The only drawback X1 has is its inability to search for symbols such as #/+ etc. Imagine how frustrating it can be if you were to search for VC++ or C# resumes.

Step 4: Search Resume boards
Today many of the leading job sites offer their database at a cost. Some of the leading sites are –,, If your company subscribed to these sites, you must search their database. Each sites will have their on search methodologies but most of them will use Boolean search (Will discuss on this separately) for keyword search.

Step 5: Identify and locate competitors
The most likely place our target candidates will be found will be with the competitors. Therefore, one must identify who are the competitors and locate them. This is especially useful when you are looking for people working in the same domain area or similar projects. Eg: Let’s assume our client is Barclays bank and they require Software Engineer with production support experience in the areas of equities and derivatives. The likely place that we can find such candidates, lets say for a place like Singapore will obviously be with their competitors like – Credit Suisse, UBS, JP Morgan, etc.

Step 6: Search for candidates from Competitors
Now that we know who are the competitors and where they are located we can start the search for candidates in these companies. The best approach is searching the internal database first and then using the resume boards. If both these fails start searching the web (details in the following steps). Once you identify the candidate start calling, however if you fail to identify anyone with the required skills/experience, it might be prudent to anyway call and ask for reference or leads. If you cannot reach or they refuse to talk to you or give you any references, drop them a nice sounding mail and thank them for their time and share with them on what you are looking for. Who knows they might have a heart change and decide to forward the mail to their friends/contacts/network. The key here is not to give up but be persistent and keep trying and keep ‘scratching your brain’ for innovative approach or methods to source the right candidate.

Step 7: Search for resumes on the web
The web is one vast hunting ground for any recruiter. How well you master the skills required for internet search will differentiate you from any ordinary recruiter. The following techniques are some of the most common and effective methods to find information/date on the net. Some of the methods given below are search engine unique and care must be taken to do proper research on each sites before embarking on your hunt.
Boolean: Boolean search operators can drill down and find the information you are looking for faster. These operators are used to weed out irrelevant pages thereby narrowing your search results to find exactly what you are looking for. Here are the basic commands used in searching the Internet search engines for resumes.
7.1) Boolean Key
AND - The AND operator delivers results with the terms you requested. For example, searching resume and oracle will return pages with both terms - resume and oracle.
OR - The OR operator delivers results with either of the terms you requested. For example, MCSE OR M.C.S.E.
NOT - The NOT operator will not deliver certain words in your search results. For example, Java NOT coffee will deliver closer results for JAVA Programmers and not Java Coffee.
NEAR - The NEAR operator locates words that are located in close proximity to other words. For example, Java NEAR Programmer. Not every search engine supports this operator.
( ) Parentheses - The ( ) operator allows you to group terms and build longer search strings. For example, NOT (submit AND employer) will avoid pages with both names.
* - The * operator is a wild card. Adding a wild card will find words contain the wild card. For example program* will help so you do not have to run separate searches for words similar like: programmer, programming, program

7.2) Basic Query - This is the string you would use to locate resumes. You would normally add keywords for skills and/or geography to limit your results.

7.3) Flipping
- An easy way to locate resumes outside a target that have a link to the target URL. An ex-employee maybe. In Google, this option is available in Google Advance search, alternately you can type the input from itself, eg: Flip searching allows you to locate internet web pages that are linked to a certain website. This search will give you a very generic result but one can amend this to search for resumes. AND (title:resume OR url:resume)
The results might still be very generic and not all of them might be resumes. One can add some more keywords and further refine this result. AND (title:resume OR url:resume) AND template

7.4) X-Ray - A quick technique that searches internet pages inside a website, can be use to locate resumes. In google use:

7.5) Peeling Back
- A technique you should use almost every time you locate a resume. You might be surprised to find many others. More details on this topic is available at swatrecruiting.

** Happy Hunting folks!**

Friday, July 21, 2006

A day in the life of a recruiter

A recruiter day is never mundane. Life for some, begins even in the wee hour of the morning when we receive calls from either our candidates, our clients or our boss. A candidate will typically call us for feedbacks on their profile, to discuss about their profile, or use us as a sounding board, or whatever reason that they can come up with. Client can only call us at this hour for some pressing requirements or to fixed an interview for one of our candidates but never to enquire about our well-being :-). A boss who calls his troop at this hour can only be a boss who demands every moment of your time, to drive you, to stress you, or to motivate you(am not sure if I will buy that though). Life can be stressful if you consider your job as just a job. One must learn to have bigger and better opinion about the role that we play. I always consider myself as a consultant, a solution provider, damage controller, fire fighter and even a counsellor and an advisor. To be able to play such roles wearing such diverse hats, one has to have the qualities that are intrinsic, fundamental, central, essential and basic in any recruiter. Such as an enquisitive mind, good planner, a great thirst for information, basic common sense, well informed, knowledgable, subject matter expert and the list goes on. Consider this, how can you possibly talk to a client or a candidate convincingly about ERP when you are not in a position to differentiate between SAP and ASAP? A good recruiter is someone who can talk on any subject or atleast has an opinion or something to say on the subject. A good recruiter must have a gift of the gab, suave and good communicator. But the best recruiter are those whom I call as agressive listener. Listening ability is a very critical quality a recruiter must posses. Until you develop or acquire the habit of listening you cannot expect to hone or improve upon your knowledge or understand what is required or what is being said. Listening alone is not the end but the mean to achieving higher success. Listening must be accompanied by the ability to analyse what is being communicated - verbal or non verbal, intended or unintended, and the steps following that are - analysing and understading, and storing and recollecting the information as and when required or desired, and using the right or optimal amount to the right audience at the right time and right place.
The recruiter now is on his way to the office and even while commuting he constantly receive calls on his handphone and those that he could not talk to, he will try his best to return their calls when he reaches the office.
Once in the office, in my case, I will normally start of by checking my inbox, scan for any mails that requires my immediate attention and take necessary action, else keep the mails in the inbox and tackle them in awhile. Firstly, I need to gather my thoughts, plan for the day and prioritise my acitivities. I plan either by jotting down the activities using my writting pad or in cases which are time specifics, I would normally use my 'Tasks' option in MS Outlook. Because of the adhoc activities and the busy schedule the whole day, using 'Tasks' becomes life saving. This is the best way by which I generally do not missed any pre scheduled appointments. A good recruiter must be a good disciplinarian and what I meant by this is that, one must divide the day into activities, acitivities must be time bound and one must stick as close to the alloted time for each activity as much as possible and one must discipline oneself to try and adhere to the plan, afterall we only have 8-10 hours in a day in the office. Activities can broadly be classified into:
- Reading mails
- Replying mails
- Check sent mails (for any critical mail sent and for which reply is expected or required)
- Go through the pending requirements
- Sourcing - Check databank, Job sites, etc
- Allot time for new requirements
Besides the above activities one must keep in mind the calls - receive calls and make calls and which can sometime make up for more than half of your day.

We will talk in length about the activities some other day and also discuss and share the tools that every recruiter must possess or have acces to. For today, I guess this should do.

BTW, before logging out from my work station, I normally jot down the activities that I need to accomplish or attend to tommorrow and leave it on my desk and the next morning the cycle continues.