The Timeless Traits Recruiters Need to Win the War for Talent

March 22, 2016 at 12:13 PM by Kathleen de Lara

shally steckerl

We chatted with Shally Steckerl of The Sourcing Institute to share his hiring philosophies from over 20 years of being in the industry. Here’s what he had to say about what sets apart today’s recruiters, why it’s imperative to pick up new skill sets now more than ever, and what’s to come for the future of recruiting.

As president of the Sourcing Institute and author of the only comprehensive handbook on sourcing and recruiting, you've seen lots of trends in the space come and go. Tell us: What timeless skills are crucial for finding people and keeping up with the demand for talent?

Continuous learning, endless curiosity, don’t stop asking why and what if. The most dangerous moment in your career is when you feel like you know everything you need to know in order to do your job. That’s the point at which someone else begins preparing to fill your seat.

With all the data people can access online, how can recruiters filter through to identify the best fit talent?

The skill (yes, skill) of critical thinking is even more important now than ever before because there is an overabundance of information – comparative and differential analysis become a matter of survival, no more a competitive advantage. Persuasion and influencing skills will always be at the top of the list for recruiting. Cold calling. Pick up the phone and dial, sometimes no other form of communication will do. Lateral thinking, or not accepting things at face value knowing that there can always be another more efficient way.

Sounds like you've picked up a few tricks since we last spoke! What's your secret for staying updated on identifying even the most hard-to-find people?

Constantly read and compare outside of our industry. Adapt what works elsewhere to what can work where you recruit. Try lots of new tactics and fail hundreds of times until finding something that works, then refine that method until it's reliable and easily repeated. Watch and listen to lots of science programs. Have regular conversations with colleagues and exchange ideas. Show them new discoveries and learn about theirs.

How is today's recruiting industry different from what it was when you first started out in the late 90s?

We are completely dependent on one single tool (LinkedIn) more than ever before. We had been reliant on others like Monster and CareerBuilder, but never in our history have we been beholden, nay addicted, to one single channel. This is extremely dangerous because channels collapse all the time, and they give us no warning.

Remember MySpace? Exactly. Recruiters were all over it, then all of a sudden it became irrelevant. Friendster, Orkut, the list is endless. To work around it, it's important not to put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you have an extremely successful channel, spend 20% of your time exploring new destinations and sources or else you risk having to catch up when your primary channel fails.

What gets you excited about sourcing and recruiting?

The thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of solving a puzzle, the fact that after 20 years of pounding out the message about the value of sourcing it has finally caught on to the mainstream and there are now hundreds of thousands of people who do this job in part because of my vision and effort. I'm excited about continuing to elevate our profession and build global standards with organizations like the ISO (International Standards Organization) and academics such as Temple University.

Ready to see what else Shally Steckerl has up his sleeve? Join us for our live search webinar and learn new tips and tricks for finding today's talent!

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