How To Design A Consultative Recruiter Training Program

Let's imagine that you want to train your recruiter team to perform in a more strategic and consultative manner when communicating and partnering with hiring managers. How would you accomplish this?

Well, for starters, you could have someone fly in and facilitate a workshop for $5000 to $10,000 for a half day session. This isn't such a bad idea, but how much of the content will actually be retained by recruiters a week or two after the session? Probably not a lot.

Another option is to purchase an online training workshop for each of your recruiters. This approach might cost you $99 to $399 per recruiter and might include anywhere between 5-20 hours of on-demand videos. Some even come with a set of downloadable resources, 24/7 user access,  and a certification to prove a passing grade. If you go this route, it might not interfere with work hours and might be inexpensive. The problem here is that many of these programs target entry-level recruiters only and definitely won't be customized to your particular situation or challenge. 

Consider our approach

A better approach might be to combine one discovery process and two training sessions with three months of follow-up coaching and a playbook. Doing this will help you to identify the issues that exist for you and your team. Once identified, you can focus attention on solving those issues and then rally everyone on the team around a set of best-practices.

One Discovery Process

If you go this route, the first step would be to understand the exact nature of change required for your organization and staff. Pull your team together to discuss your organizations' culture, values, processes, systems, communication, and other factors.

You should also review all related process documents such as existing recruitment policies, past training material, and process or program content and messaging related to the existing, back-and-forth relationship between your recruiters and their hiring managers.

During this "discovery process" you may find reason to include a few surveys, phone conversations, or one-to-one phone interviews to better understand your hiring managers. This would help you to see the relationship and communication from their perspective

Don't short-change the discovery process. You probably can tick off a list of the easy fixes without going through discovery, but the complex, root issues are harder to uncover. The discovery process will help you to identify them.

Issues that are relatively easy to fix might include:

  • getting everyone to rally around one ‚Äúshared‚ÄĚ set of beliefs about what it means to be ‚Äúmore consultative‚ÄĚ.
  • establishing a set of core best practices recruiters can leverage to deliver a more consultative approach.
  • introducing new skills related to various topics such as understanding the hiring manager‚Äôs role (as it relates to staffing and team performance).
  • working with the hiring manager to exceed expectations.
  • delivering more value to the hiring manager and candidate.
  • strengthening relationships between recruiter and hiring manager.
  • positioning recruiters to be most effective with hiring managers.

Two Training Sessions

Insights from your discovery session should be fed into your training agenda (and content) for the actual staff training session.

You'll still want to pull your team into a group setting to cover sharing best practices and consensus building, and to teach specific skills that your staff can put into practice immediately - but you should consider breaking the training program up into two separate sessions.

In session one, consider getting a facilitator to lead a discussion with your staff to teach, share, and build consensus about what it means to be ‚Äúconsultative‚ÄĚ with hiring managers.

In session two, focus your time on introducing a few new high-priority skill-gaps that emerge from your discovery session. If you are unclear about where to look, you can't go wrong with focusing on how your recruiters can become more consultative in their relationship with their hiring managers.

Three Month Follow Up + Playbook

After the initial two training sessions, your leadership team should debrief to determine what worked in the sessions and which issues require more training - and where you need to dedicate attention over time.

You might also want to establish some sort of follow up ‚Äúdedicated‚ÄĚ coaching over a period of weeks or months (after the initial two sessions). Use it to support the learning and also to apply the new skills learned in the training sessions. Make it available to all staff members on your team and focus it on real problems that exist to put incremental improvements into practice at your organization.

You might also consider drafting a best practice playbook for your recruiters to follow. With all the insights collected during your discovery process and custom training sessions, you'll be ready to tie it all together into one unified guide. This ‚Äúleave behind‚ÄĚ playbook serves to keep everyone united as a team and will serve as a support tool to help them function more as a ‚Äúconsultant‚ÄĚ when working with hiring managers. One great reason to do this is because it changes the way you think about training - from once and done - to an ongoing process to be refined over time.


Take your talent acquisition and recruitment efforts from routine to remarkable with TalentSum 360. For more information on how TalentSum 360 can unlock the full potential of your talent function, get in touch with our team today.

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