Coaching Recruiters. Doing your job while teaching them their job!

This is the third blog in my series on great coaching for managers of recruiter teams.

Last week I expanded on the importance of ‘Live Feedback’ as a coaching tool, and today we turn our attention to the sadly under-utilised ‘Real Life’ approach to consultant coaching.

One of the major learnings for me about effective coaching is that telling people how to do things is only fractionally as successful as showing them how it’s done. Neither is as good as having consultants actually try the task to perfect it.

Real life situational coaching is best done on an individual basis, and can involve simply sitting down next to the consultant, listening to the way they make phone calls and providing feedback and guidance.

Occasionally, it is important to reverse the roles, and you can make the phone calls, allowing the consultant to evaluate the way you are approaching the task.

An excellent example of this type of coaching is where you have a consultant whose approach is selling a job to candidates over the phone is lacklustre or generally poor. Instead of lecturing the consultant on how to sell the features of a job to a candidate, you pick up the phone, call that consultant’s candidate yourself, while the consultant is sitting there, and brief the candidate on the job. It only takes a few minutes and the learning is substantial.  And you earn huge credibility by actually doing the job ‘live’. And of course you are being productive, because you are executing a task that could well lead to revenue.

You are doing the job while teaching the job! It’s beautiful, beautiful thing.

Where possible, make your own recruitment consulting visible to the team, so they can learn from real situations as they occur. Instead of locking yourself in a room when you have to make those difficult phone calls (e.g. fee dispute, counter offer) gather your team around you. Explain the issue, brainstorm with the group how best to tackle it… and then make the call right there, in the spotlight. Yes, its nerve wracking. But the learning is intense, and so is the respect you garner but putting yourself out there.

You will certainly never be accused of not ‘walking the talk’.

Real Life. Nothing like it when it comes to coaching recruiters to greatness.

About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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8 Responses to Coaching Recruiters. Doing your job while teaching them their job!

  1. Simon Meade July 13, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    Agree with your philosophy about getting them to do it as opposed to telling them as a better way to learn. WIth respect to “selling” the role I think there needs to be caution. I advise our consultants to give an accurate description of the role including the good points but just as importantly the not so good points. As I see it, if a person’s perception of the role when they agree to it is different to the reality, then the chances are high that they will pull out of the assignment. It is better a candidate is told about a role warts and all and they not accept, than accepting and then pulling out.

  2. Brad Stewart - Talent Capital (NZ) July 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    Re your comments around making the hard calls and gathering the team around for example fee negotiations. I had one manager (director) who insisted that you listen in on another headset – this guy was sharp as a tack and with nerves of steel. It really was something to look forward to… In reflection alot was learned at the time through that approach.

    Cheers. Brad.

  3. Steve Bulman July 14, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    I cannot recall the number of times I have heard a training session take place where it is all tell and sell. No real value add. I realised a long time ago that the large number of recruitment firms here in the UK are started small by a consultant or group of consultants who have done well and want a piece of the action. Any number of bad habits or poor training methods can be brought along with them which are then readily passed down to the staff.

    Training the MD’s and Sales Managers of recruitment firms is as important in my mind. so they can pass on best practice and reap the rewards!

    One of the best techniques I have come across is the having the consultant visualise themself in the place of the client – what would they want to find out, and how would they present the opportunity. This usually brings out the requisite enthusiasm and passion and in turn leads to more intelligent questions asked of both client and candidate so they offer a true representation of their brand and the opportunity.

    I personally oversaw the turnaround in a young researcher last year who was all about ticking boxes. By teaching him this approach he started gaining real emotional buy in from candidates and threw away the reading from the job spec approach. Personally very fulfilling!

  4. Nick Edwards July 14, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    My 1st ever recruitment job I was sat next to one of the directors who was an active and very successful recruiter. He let me get on with it, however would give me pointers on what I could improve, try or change or if he was on the phone I could hear him work.

    It was the best training I ever received, and 6 years later I am still grateful for the start that gave me.

  5. In my experience, Generation Y requires the practical learning approach as it is impossible to get the little buggers to listen for more than 5 minutes without trying to check their iphones for Facebook updates. More advice on ‘coping’ with Gen Y would be appreciated Greg.

  6. Lee Andrese July 15, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    It’s not just gen Y. No one has the time to learn, listen or even read. They want success the day before yesterday infused the second they sit in the chair. Learners have to an active participant in their training, which means hands on as quickly as possible.

    This may offer you some structure/guidance Ben.

    1. explain / demonstrate: 5 – 10 minutes, each aspect of how to do the job using a variety of blended learning methodologies
    2. practice / coach: observe & give immediate feedback, repeat until competency achieved
    3. job aids: short checklists and talking points that the learner can refer to
    4. evaluate: daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly. observe learner to align activity with results and fill knowledge/skill gaps — don’t wait until the behavior is ingrained to modify.

    Lastly, if processes, tools or an understanding of competencies are lacking, it will be difficult to achieve sustainable, let alone repeatable success.

  7. Thanks for the tips Lee.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Coaching Recruiters. Doing your job while teach... - November 19, 2013

    […] This is the third blog in my series on great coaching for managers of recruiter teams.Last week I expanded on the importance of ‘Live Feedback’ as a coaching tool, and today we turn our attention to the sadly under-utilised ‘Real Life’ approach to consultant coaching.One of the major learnings for me about effective coaching is that telling people how to do things is only fractionally as successful as showing them how it’s done. Neither is as good as having consultants actually try the task to perfect it.Real life situational coaching is best done on an individual basis, and can involve simply sitting down next to the consultant, listening to the way they make phone calls and providing feedback and guidance.Occasionally, it is important to reverse the roles, and you can make the phone calls, allowing the consultant to evaluate the way you are approaching the task.  […]

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