The candidate packet sat on my desk, my first to go out. Attached with a perfectly symmetrical white paper clip was my business card - my business card, with my name and other pertinent details. Beneath the card was my perfectly spaced and typed letter of introduction on bond-paper letterhead. Attached to the perfectly written then printed letter was a detailed job description, benefits package, and specifics about the company. The Managing Director walked in to review and approve.

He held the letter up and looked at the paper with the light of the window. I had already received instructions on how to staple the packet and how to place the bond paper in the printer. The water mark could not be backwards or upside down. I watched him and pictured my potential candidate holding that same letter to the light and then deciding, then and there, since the water mark was backwards, that he was no longer interested in the job I was pitching, I mean presenting. A smirk filled my soul. Why not just send a frickin' email? I mean c'mon.

Recruiting has changed quite a bit since the onset of all things email. And of course, social media has had its way with the industry. A good way, the improvement in communication and speed has been essential. The hard part, I guess, is keeping up. Technology moves faster than a Jamaican Bolt. But is speed necessary and what do we lose out on with the onslaught of split fee arrangements and twitter-izations? What do we lose? Probably a fee.

I have met so many recruiters over the last two years that have struggled significantly to merely stay in the game and not just fold. It is not an easy nor sleazy profession, like many believe. At least, it isn't if you are good at your job and really care about it and the people/industry/companies you serve. Those you serve, this is a service we provide, "we" are the product. Has your product expired? Is it out of date? Have you kept it polished?

I really wonder if a water mark makes a difference. Does the extra expense, time and perception really make a difference? Or is what you say more important... Is doing what you say you will do, following up and following through the way to get and keep a client or attract and hook a candidate? Somehow, I don't think a water mark ever closed a recruitment or secured a fee.

And they say it's the little things that matter. hmmm

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I don't know if it ever closed a deal but if the possibility exists that it could, why overlook it?
That sounds like a pretty vain candidate. A watermark, seriously? I'm with you on your other thoughts, it's what you do and say that closes the deal. I've had HM's do jumping jacks for candidates just to get them hired -- because I told them how critical it was. If you pair paying attention to what candidates need, and strong candidate management, this is what closes deals.
Nice post. This is just another reason good recruiters go out on their own and say Screw You, Jurassic Park Micromanager. Just make sure you resign to their face as they may not use email.

Not to call you out - and with all deference - are you serious, Maureen? I would have thought we were on the same page but my page isn't on fancy paper, doesn't include a watermark, and more closely resembles a bar napkin with some salt shrapnel. It is the person, not the paper.

Watermark, shatermark.
I'm serious. It doesn't do you any good to send out anything on your own behalf that is less than perfect. This includes any form of business etiquette that is generally accepted/expected and it also includes spelling errors.
It's a simple thing to "fix" most of these things - why buck convention entirely because you view yourself ahead of the mainstream? Keeping two feet in different streams is not a bad thing. Things change slowly. Why make an example of yourself how things shouldn't be done?
Rayanne, I RARELY send anything by snail mail.

All I'm saying here is that it behooves us to put our best foot forward with the materials we have at our disposal. I am assuming that Managing Director was paying you to do things his way. It appears that the organization you were working for places a high priority on propriety.

I understand your eagerness to do things in what you view as the most efficient manner. But for some reason, the organization doesn't agree with you. It appears the organization has its own "sharp corners" and views any attempt to shave them curved as disagreeable.

Personally, I feel all the things you mentioned make a difference:
extra expense, time, perception and doing what you say you will do

I am not a recruiter but I have been involved in many transactions in my lifetime. One thing I have learned is sometimes you don't know what made the difference in closing a transaction and securing a fee.

Sometimes it just seemed like magic.

I say leave no paper upside-down, allow no corner to be shaved, no communication to go out misspelled and for goodness sakes answer live every ringing phone.

That would be my advice.

Everyone doesn't do things the way we do them online. We must remember that. We may be the centers of our universes but we are not the Center of the Universe. Not yet.

I think the watermark is a proxy for the world of the Obsessive-Compulsive. I hear Madoff's office was such a place.....but in truth, there is a subset of people who live that way, and if you want to work with them, you need to live it too.....I can't do it for long.

I always regarded the O/C route when practiced by a businessperson to be a productive anxiety repsonse (you can see how Madoff would need it)- you see it everywhere- in Parenting, Sports, etc. I think these folks feel that when they control everything controllable, life has the least chance of zinging them the wrong way- they don't trust proportionality, or at least anyone else's except obvious fellow travelers.

Part of the art of recruiting and business is playing to your audience. Don't be fooled either by the 'casual' approach- many times it's more ruthless at finding your actual weaknesses which in it's way is worse than being dismissed for something 'stupid' like a watermark being upside down.....
Okay okay I give. Being one of the travelers in the OC space I give up and see the error in my ways!

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