Is Recruiting that you need to have a "feel" for, need to follow your instincts or gut? Or is there a formula the works for you everytime.

In short is it an Art or a Science? What's your view?

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A bit of both, no doubt. There is most certainly some science involved, the more activity you have going, the more placements will be made. "It's a numbers game" was drilled into me early on in my career. I never could get away from the feeling that maybe more wasn't always better and I tended to be more quality than quantity - sometimes to the dismay of some of my managers on the TPR side where things were much more metrics driven. But it always held true that the more you had going, the more things closed - AND (this was the important part for me) the more you had in the pipeline, the less the losses stung.

But art on the other hand, each and every one of us has crafted our own style - clearly evidenced by the discussions held here. In my opinion that is what makes it such a grand profession, if you are dynamic and always adding to your toolbelt (or in this case, your palette) and your style is ever evolving, the sky is the limit. Always room for improvement as they say, but the "gut" feeling is something that should never be ignored, simply augmented.
Love this question, Dan.

I think recruiting is something that most of us on this site do (or have done) for a living - not so different from car repair, modeling, or tattoing. Ah, but the way we do it, and the level of expertise we develop as a result of learning what works and what doesn't...that's what separates the novice from the craftsman.

I agree with Becky that it's a bit of both; I also agree with Animal that some people are equipped with natural talents that make them better suited at developing relationships. That said, I've also seen highly technical recruiters with very little "sensitivity to feelings" do very well with employers and candidates cut from the same cloth.

There's a reason why we're born with both intellect and intuition, regardless of the measure of each. The opportunity for growth lies in our ability to get better at the parts that don't come easily.
On the Recruiting Animal Show, JULIA STONE said:

She is sensitive to nuance.

That means subtle changes of tone in a conversation.

Example: Sarcasm.

Some people are tone deaf to irony (double meaning).

Conclusion: Some aspects of recruiting depend on a sensitivity to feelings. This is a personal talent, not a science.

Julia says it can't be taught. You're born with it or not.
Well, now you've got me. If Julia says so, I may have to rethink my world view. :))

Dan, you threw this question out here so smugly this morning...what do you think???

Recruiting Animal said:
Julia says it can't be taught. You're born with it or not.
Hey Dan - great question.

I've got to say it is more art than science in my mind, although it is definitely a mix of both. Yes, as Becky said, some claim that recruiting is a numbers game. While I understand the theory behind it, I really loathe that phrase. It's a numbers game. Makes me shudder every time.

People have personalities that are unique. As a result we cannot approach all of our candidates in exactly the same manner. Some need a shorter leash to keep them honest and communicating, while others must be given a little more breathing room lest they should push back and cut ties because they are being pushed or pulled too much. You have to detect the subtleties of a candidate, pick up on personality cues, and play to them. There is no formula I've ever heard of that can account for human nature because we're too darn unpredictable.

So yes, a mix is good. More calls means more candidates, which means a bigger pipeline, which means more potential for placements. More potential, though, and nothing more until you practice your art and add some value to the process with your personal touch.
Hey Claudia,

This was the last thing I posted last night around 12.30 am.. Good to see some responses this morning.

I think it is an art. The "reading" of people, both candidates and clients, and the EQ that is intrinsically needed in this role is not something that can be taught. Some techniques can be taught, but it rarely works out to be a repeatable result, which is what science allows us. 2 + 2 doesn't always equal 4 in recruiting, or anything when dealing with people I'd think.

That said, I agree that the more activity the more results you get, but that goes along the same path of theory as "what goes up must come down". Is it a statement of science of just saying the obvious!

Claudia Faust said:
Well, now you've got me. If Julia says so, I may have to rethink my world view. :))

Dan, you threw this question out here so smugly this morning...what do you think???

Recruiting Animal said:
Julia says it can't be taught. You're born with it or not.
There's a well-known tenet in zoology that structure begets function. If you're a Darwinist like me, you can look around and see how people who's ancestry is equatorial look different than those who are arctic: Their biology adapted in ways that enabled them to live given the constraints of their environment. All these adaptations are the result of centuries plus of scientific intervention.

Recruiters who last through multiple business cycles have adapted to be able to take beatings and still come back for more - but with smiles on their faces.

Back to being serious, what we call intuition is something better referred to by the scientific name: heuristics or short cuts to decision making that individuals have "created" based upon some internal analysis of data over a long period of time. Humans are pretty good at making decisions with a limited number of variables at play but decades of research show that when the the situation becomes exceedingly complex, "statistical" or "mechanistic" solutions perform at least as good as the best human decision (go look up the research by Paul Meehl).

And what's creativity? Becky, when we spoke and talked about your tough jobs, my soothing advice wasn't based upon the fact that I took a nice warm shower that morning or that I swabbed some eucalyptus on the bottoms of my feet before I donned my socks and shoes - it was many years of data speaking (or if you prefer, trial and error).

These heuristics are based upon trial and error - all of them. When you're "feeling", it's your internal computer chugging away at the data trying to make sense of a new situation. It's when you don't heed the data that the art comes into play. Which leads to a follow up question...

How many great recruiters are divorced or have a spotty personal relationship record?

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