Plate Spinning, the Art of Successful Recruiting

Leah O'Flynn

Leah O’Flynn

By Leah O’Flynn

Plate spinning is an intense physical and psychological feat; it is both an art form and a methodology. Professionals focus on spinning numerous plates, simultaneously, while performing any number of acrobatic maneuvers, balancing goals, and bringing moving parts to a graceful crescendo. Sounds like recruiting, doesn’t it?


Plate 1: Good recruiting starts with truly understanding the company.


The recruiter is usually the candidate’s first introduction to the company and the open role. And she strives to make it count the first time, every time. This means understanding the company’s mission, their financials, what growth stage they are in. It means knowing the culture and unique opportunities associated with this and only this company. The recruiting professional will understand the management structure, and the various players. She will help align the company’s hiring goals to the market place trends in order to facilitate successful long-term hiring. She becomes a champion for this company.


Plate 2: In-depth knowledge of the role is critical.


This includes but goes way beyond the job description. Job descriptions are pretty flat most of the time, but an excellent recruiter will have spent the time getting to know the hiring manager and his or her team. She knows the personalities and culture, and she has a firm grasp on the technical and soft skills – not only those formally requested but also those that are needed to be the successful candidate. She earns herself an advisory position and imparts her observations about what will attract the talent necessary to achieve the team’s goals.


Plate 3: Recruiting is a consultative sales process.


When she makes the pitch to the candidate, she is going to impart all the excitement and opportunity that this role offers. She will describe the company and communicate the depth of her knowledge about the challenges and opportunities associated with this role. Her industry knowledge and intimate familiarity with the competitors will allow her to differentiate this opportunity and put it in context of the sector’s job market.


Plate 4: This is the only business in which your product is another person.


The great recruiter knows that the perfect job is only perfect to the right candidate, and that is why she always personally engages prospective candidates early on. She nails down not only logistics such as relocation amenability and salary information, but she understands the candidates’ goals and motivations. She knows what makes them excited and whether their priorities are achieving work-life balance, pioneering innovative technology, obtaining tenure, breaking the next earning goal, or whatever makes them tick. Of course she has fully investigated their technical and soft skills, track record, references and other qualifications. Before presenting anyone for an opportunity, she ensures that there is the desire and the fit.


Plate 5: Great recruiting is creating a winning partnership.


Successful recruiting is about building long term partnerships and providing the highest level of satisfaction in career and talent matching. If for any reason a recruiter can’t champion the company or the candidate, the successful recruiter will move on to invest her time in fruitful partnerships. When the candidate is great but not for this opportunity, she will note this person for future opportunities. When the company is worthwhile but the role isn’t truly defined or timely, she will discuss with the hiring manager and make a new plan.


Plate 6: Sleuthing, listening, observing, brokering.


The most successful search firm professionals are keen sleuths, excellent listeners, and skilled brokers of talent and opportunity. As experts searching for the perfect talent-opportunity fit, recruiters are in a constant dialogue with people day in and day out. This makes recruiters very knowledgeable about industries as well as keen observers of human behavior. When it comes time to negotiate, full-service recruiters bridge any communication gaps, support the parties’ objectives, and maintain a proactive dialogue to reach consensus.


Plate 7: Plate Spinning Success.


To be a successful recruiter you’ve got to ferret out great opportunities, convey the value-add you bring to the equation, negotiate a beneficial agreement, understand and champion your clients, uncover excellent passive and active talent, understand motivations and qualifications, and nurture relationships. There are a lot of plates spinning, all the time! The successful recruiter thrives on the constant challenge of keeping all the parts spinning in harmony.

About the author:

Leah O’Flynn,  Executive Recruiter, IT Division, is an executive IT recruiter. Born in Dublin, raised in New Jersey, her gypsy ways have taken her on many a random journey. Leah has two degrees; one in Journalism and Media Studies, the other in History. Her love of working with people has made her a natural at recruiting.

About Redfish Technology:

Redfish Technology is an executive search firm placing High Tech and CleanTech professionals with a variety of firms from innovative start-ups to global Fortune 500. Our clients benefit from our extensive industry rolodex, unique team approach, and network of expert recruiters. We offer nationwide service and have three office locations spanning the U.S. Contact us today to hire great talent and grow your team.