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The Resilient Recruiter

Feb 18, 2020

Recruiting recruiters that are an asset to your business can be challenging. Attracting the right candidates for the position and assessing their competency is no easy task. Retention and longevity of staff seem to be the Achilles heel of the industry. That begs the question, how do we attract, develop, and retrain great recruiters? Is there a secret method that recruitment firms are missing? 

Shaun McCambridge with Stellar Recruiting based in Brisbane, Australia joins me to discuss the method they’ve found most successful for recruiting recruiters. We’ll talk about why Shaun started Stellar Recruitment, what he believes the key to their success is, developing genuine relationships with clients—and how to hire and retain the right people for your team.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:33] Why did Shaun McCambridge start Stellar Recruitment?
  • [5:26] Client partnerships is a key element of their success
  • [7:35] How Stellar created longstanding partnerships
  • [13:06] Increasing retention and longevity of staff
  • [17:47] Attributes Shaun looks for when hiring recruiters
  • [19:21] Assessing character during the interview process
  • [22:45] Measuring performance after 12 months
  • [31:15] Shaun’s journey with personal development
  • [33:49] What inspired Shaun to start his podcast? 
  • [35:50] The importance of mindset over talent and ability
  • [39:16] The ‘20,000 Lives Changed’ campaign
  • [42:15] Stoic philosophy thought for the day

The key to creating longstanding partnerships with clients

Shaun believes that one of the largest factors that differentiate them in the industry is the relationship they build with their clients. 3 of their clients have worked with them from day one— for the last 14 years. Shaun points out that many recruiters can be transactional and focused on ‘closing the deal’. At Stellar, they strive to be genuine and honest while delivering on the promises they’ve made to their clients. Everything they do is relationship-based and they focus on remembering that they are engaging in human-to-human personalized interaction. 

In my experience, many of the recruiters I’ve worked with are experienced professionals who are genuine and honest. While there are some bad actors in the industry, I’ve found that many of the transactional recruiters are inexperienced. They are put under immense pressure to perform, to bring in revenue without the proper support or training. Shaun doesn’t want this transactional dynamic in his business, which is why he places high importance on developing and training his recruiters properly. Keep listening as we discuss his methods. 

The secret to decreasing turnover and improving staff retention

Shaun was fortunate to start his career with Hays, where he learned the ins-and-outs of the sales world among a group of like-minded competitors. When he left, his goal was to replicate the high-performing culture he experienced there in Stellar Recruitment. Retaining a core group of recruiters can be a powerful force in your business. With this goal in mind, he sought to create a culture where their recruiters feel empowered and challenged. They emphasize on-the-job training in their particular methods. They also provide organizational psychologists on staff to coach team members.

They believe ongoing development and training is essential to longevity. Stellar helps their recruiters map out their career paths and implement personal goals that coincide with professional goals. Shaun stated that “Stellar should be a vehicle to achieve outside of work”. Finding fulfillment in their roles with personal and professional impact is key to retention. Shaun also stands by the practice of promoting from within. Making progress and growing through the ranks leads to engagement which Shaun points out leads to retention. 

Recruiting recruiters: Assessing attributes of a candidate during the interview process

There are 3 attributes that Shaun looks for when they’re hiring new staff: character, competitiveness, and above-average intelligence. They want to hire people who are nice human beings that treat people well. But they also want to hire people who are driven and competitive, with a desire to win, succeed, and challenge themselves. People with above-average intelligence tend to be more coachable and capable of articulate conversations. They also try to ascertain whether or not the candidates stack up against their values (greatness, positivity, and leadership). 

I was curious—how do they assess some of those character attributes during the interview process? Shaun stated that they observe candidates from the moment they walk into the building. Were they polite and friendly with administrative staff? How are they conducting themselves? They also utilize a 4-step interview process where you can see how they interact with hiring managers and other staff. If there are any “holes” in their stories, they become apparent through this lengthy process. 

They also use targeted and specific questions to gauge the character of candidates. One question they like to use is, “What was your relationship with your previous supervisor?”. Some potential hires throw their bosses under-the-bus, which is a clear indicator they didn’t value that relationship. They have a tried and true series of questions to gauge the fit of the candidate. Shaun admits that it isn’t 100% foolproof, but they’ve found great success with their model. 

A unique way to judge performance 

Numbers are important in this industry and it is imperative that you’re reaching your goals. However, Stellar Recruitment measures against another benchmark they find just as important—client satisfaction. They use Setmetrics to track performance and routinely have clients complete surveys to gauge satisfaction. Customer service in the industry can be poor, so they’ve found that placing importance on it sets them apart. News travels fast if you aren't performing and aren’t keeping your clients happy. So they’ve become passionate about customer service. 

They also use metrics to track engagement with their recruiters. If they’re underperforming, or their interaction with clients is leading to a low satisfaction survey score, it’s a warning sign. They use internal surveys to monitor their staff and if there are engagement issues they can remedy them. They want to be sure that their recruiters are still enjoying their work and being challenged. 

Shaun and I agree that the best recruiters embrace a growth mindset and that it is critical to success. Those with a growth mindset are resilient, believe in themselves, and embrace challenges as a means of learning and pushing forward in their career. Listen to the entire episode to hear Shaun’s thoughts on mindset, why he started a podcast, and their “20,000 Lives Changed” company campaign. 

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