He usually listened in the hallway; I knew he was there. He walked past my desk, often. He collected my call sheet every single day - the one with at least sixty hash marks. He made sure that I received the printed call log from the software embedded in our phones. He kept me honest about the number of cold calls I was making. I sat in front of him days on end with a yellow pad in my hand, making frantic notes in a scribble I could barely decipher. He urged me to quit my other job and take up recruiting full time. He taught me subtleties. He coaxed me through my first phone interview and sat next to me during my first face-to-face. He taught me coercion of the best kind. I learned how to negotiate a fee and a salary package. And I soon knew how to talk to the enemy through the side of my face. He trained me to be a recruiter with a heart of gold and the ethics of C.S. Lewis.
He was my mentor.
He was my first boss. I know that I learned the fine art of recruiting from the best of the best. He didn't hold a degree or any type of HR certification. He had learned in the trenches and now, so had I. His clients valued him and returned his calls. His candidates loved him, no matter what. It is he who taught me to never leave a conversation without getting something for myself, a referral of some kind, even after a candidate sign-off-> get another candidate. "I am sorry, the client doesn't want to move forward with your candidacy. You now know this job better than anyone, is there anyone is your circle of influence that might be a good fit or could help me get the word out?"
He is my Dicky Fox.
My love for recruiting runs deep. As do the lessons I have learned over the years, of course there have been mistakes, misunderstandings, new jobs, and new heartaches. But through it all is the abiding respect I have for this profession, occupation, career, vocation, calling. Those who do it only for the money probably had a little tougher time during the last and current economic crisis. When you do it because you must, it is who you are. You survive.