The Secret Sauce of Motivating Recruiting Teams

Most recruiting teams follow a similar path. After you agree on a strategy and goals, the team gets off to an excited start, riding high on the initial momentum. But soon enough, the motivation begins to wane and it all starts to slow down. Factor in variables such as dispersed workers, time zones, language barriers, technical skills and changing needs, and it’s amazing that anything gets done after a certain point.

But whether you’re looking to get your talent acquisition efforts back on track, or plan for that next hiring spike, there exists a secret sauce for encouraging motivation and executing with ease. Here’s the recipe:

Prep Your Tools

Regardless of where your recruiting team is located, it is critical that everyone operates in the same work environment. For years, we relied on spreadsheets to track outreach and output; and for awhile, this method worked—sort of. In today’s highly mobile, highly decentralized world, recruiting teams need a formal framework to provide context and spur motivation.

With everything from free solutions to enterprise options, the tricky part is finding the right mix of technology to meet your organization’s hiring needs. By implementing a robust recruitment management system (RMS), your team will be able to collaborate in a real-time workspace, rather than exist as silos. These tools also offer increased visibility and help team members keep an eye on the process and progress of their teammates. This added insight can empower team members, allowing the energy to build and propel the process forward.

And should an issue arise—a missed interview, for example—these solutions can automatically alert the recruiter. Reporting functions keep managers up-to-date and informed, so they can step in as needed to ensure alignment. Sure, it can be tempting to default to something readily available (such as Google Drive), but satisfying your team’s drivers requires a tool with deeper capabilities.

Add a Manager

As with any type of project or process, it’s the manager who is the cornerstone (and head cheerleader) of the team. It is their job to keep things rolling; and with milestones to meet and reqs to fill, it is critical that they persevere and rally the team. On the most basic level, this means assuming that leadership position and staying actively involved with the day-to-day.

Taking this one step further, a comparative study from the Project Management Institute (PMI) puts the role of the manager as one of three sources of motivation. This research suggests that it is up to the manager to set an example and support team members on an individual basis, prioritize and delegate work, and, at the same time, ensure autonomy and competence. Motivation happens at the intersection of all these things, and it’s no easy feat.

The success of the recruiting manager starts by recognizing the motivational triggers of each recruiter. By having a baseline knowledge of how they operate and what keeps them going, you can design the workflow to account for any additional factors. Even with the constraints of time and resources, the human element remains a critical factor in the complex task of talent acquisition. You cannot automate managing your team.

Combine Copious Amounts of Feedback

We know, we know, you’ve heard it before: Communication is key. When it comes to motivating your team, sometimes it isn’t what you’re talking about that’s the problem—it’s who. Syed Irfan Ajmal, growth marketing manager at Ridester, works with a remote, multinational team and uses functional as well as cross-functional meetings to keep things moving. In addition to weekly team meetings, he schedules time for people with the same skill set—designers meet with designers, writers with writers, coders with coders.

Using his example, talking with your different stakeholders (sourcers, recruiters, specialists and so on) can provide deeper insight into the team’s progress, identify any issues with workflow, and help alleviate pain points. Depending on the length of a given recruiting campaign, consider adding this check-in on a biweekly or monthly basis.

Another option is to simply keep your door open and let the team know that feedback is welcomed throughout the process. As Andrew Rawson, chief learning officer at Traliant, explains: “The more each team member feels involved, the greater the effort they will put in.” By holding feedback sessions as you go along, managers can get a better understanding of how team members feel and what can be done to keep up morale.

Combined and mixed well, these key elements create the secret sauce needed to unlock (or improve) your recruiting team’s potential. Make certain the recipe stays fully baked by reviewing reports and feedback thoroughly—and remember to sprinkle with one final ingredient: your own positive outlook. At the end of the day, motivation is contagious; and like a great recipe, team spirit requires the whole team.

Noel Cocca is the founder and CEO of RecruitingDaily and its merry band of rabble-rousers. He aims to produce at the sweet spot between content and actual awareness by creating great work for living, breathing human beings in recruiting and hiring. He works to ease problems, both large and small, from startups to enterprises.

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