Wednesday Wisdom: What My Kids Taught Me About Being a Better Recruiter

We’re departing from the normal format today, my friends: this week there is no Q and A. The thing is, this week I became a grandmother for the second time – and these kinds of life events call for some celebration and reflection. Becoming a parent is a sobering experience to be sure, but the torch is truly passed when you watch your child do the same; it seems that the earth holds it breath for a moment while you finally accept that all bets are off, and your carefully constructed web of nets and training wheels for their safety are gone for good.

As I watched my son hold his son for the first time, his face held all of the wonder that I’m sure mine did when I held him as an infant so many years ago. Memories came to me in a rush: from being pregnant to the sound of his first tiny cry; from middle-of-the-night-drinks-of-water to scary-first-days-at-school; from homework and baseball teams to driver’s licenses and girlfriends; from finishing school, to moving out and moving on, and all of the independence that followed.

I wasn’t a recruiter when my boys were little; that came years later when they were teenagers and life lessons seemed really big for all of us. Looking back, I know that my children helped me to grow up; but to be honest, they also taught me lessons that I still apply to my role as a recruiter. So in celebration of parenting and all the ways it made me stronger, better, more confident and competent, here are a few of the things raising kids taught me:

- Question everything. Why is always more interesting than what.
- Messes, like diapers, are harder to clean up when you procrastinate.
- Everyone is on a learning curve, even the ones who look smart.
- Pick your battles.
- The simplest explanation is often the best one.
- Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.
- Patience is good; curiosity is better.
- Too much curiosity can be a bad thing.
- Trust your instincts and your intellect. There’s a reason why you have both.
- People don’t always do what they say they will do.
- When words and behaviors don’t match, the truth lies in the behavior.
- Trust but verify (ok, that came from Reagan – but I was raising my kids at the time and it served me well).
- Don’t ask a question if you don’t want to know the answer.
- Make sure you ask the right questions. It’s important.
- A dash of humility is a good thing.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me, what have you learned along the way that has sharpened your recruiting game, and where did you learn it? This inquiring mind wants to know.


In my day job, I’m the Head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here.

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Congratulations Claudia -a new baby - how fun! You're very lucky.
When my first of two daughters was born, her wizened and wrinkled pediatrician told me, on our first visit, "Ignore all that you can." I'm not exactly sure I always did that to the extent he recommended and I have paid plenty of dues for getting it wrong.
As my Mom likes to say, her grandkids are her reward for not killing her own children.
Especially in recruiting, sometimes fiction is more entertaining than truth (I wish tax and treasury people would write more entertaining resumes)
Claudia, congratulations on the birth of your new baby. At least you get to count your blessings one at a time!

Some of the things learned from my kids that have helped me sharpen my recruiting game?

- Allowance is not guaranteed even when the chores get down. So, get paid up-front!
- It's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission [especially, if you've been paid up-front]
- Succession planning: Blood is thicker than water unless there are attorneys involved
- No guarantee on candidates placed with companies that tout "we treat our employees like family."
- Love is unconditional, even in business.

Claudia, I'm happy for you and your family. Be well!
I think my clients are like children sometimes. I have to make each of them feel like they have my undivided attention and they are the most important thing to me while juggling a million things at once. Congrats on your newest grandchild!

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