I have a confession to make. I’m a total dork in my everyday life. I know it’s hard to believe – I’ve been called a social butterfly and have at least once been the life of a party. For more than 10 years I’ve gotten a thrill out of calling up total strangers and convincing them to completely change where and what they spend the majority of their waking hours doing. I get a kick out of those who think recruiters have to be social butterflies (what a stupid term, really) who just adore people to be really great at this job. That. Is. Not. Me. Some days I don’t even like people. But I am a really good recruiter. Put me in a room full of people, or on the phone with a client or candidate, heck even on the Recruiting Animal Show – I can talk all day long.

Not so much in real life.

Put me in a social situation where I have to talk about non-recruiting things, I completely clam up. I am immediately back in 3rd grade, starting my 4th elementary school, wishing the ground would just open up so I could disappear. I’ve spent countless little league games, church potlucks, PTA meetings and block parties over in the corner playing with my phone. Not because I’m rude or anti-social, I just don’t know what to say. I don’t do small talk. And nobody outside the business wants to talk about recruiting. I tried to get my kid to listen to my latest Animal Show appearance and she said “no offense Mom, I think you’re really funny and witty, but recruiting is BORING”.

Boring?? Recruiting is FASCINATING! There is so much to dissect – stupid behavior, bad advice, the value of job boards, the death of resumes. To tweet or not tweet? How important is my “brand”? But seriously, where can I find a performance diagnostics Program Manager with solid coding skills?

I could do this all day. I freaking love my job SO MUCH I want to talk about it ALL THE TIME. Maybe that’s the real reason I started writing about it. I can have these conversations in my head, get them on paper and hopefully turn them into real conversations with all of you. My family sure isn’t listening and I obviously don't have any non-recruiting friends.

So introverts, take heart! You don’t have to be “social”. Great recruiters will usually have certain traits in common, but being sociable doesn’t have to be one of them.

Views: 2553

Comment by Amber on September 4, 2013 at 6:06pm

While I'm not sure if I can picture YOU clamming up, but...

I am married to a guy who can talk to anyone, anywhere. And does. Kind of person who you say "can sell ice to an Eskimo". I am almost opposite that - although that changes as I get older. Any hoo, I have ended working in sales for over 25 years. AND did well - what a surprise! I never thought I would be able to talk to or call complete strangers. I have been in and presented many seminars, training classes, etc. over the years but figured out pretty quickly it was all boiled down to pretty basic stuff:  be authentic and keep trying.

Maybe it is easier for "social butterflies" but I have to say that many of the best recruiters/salespeople I know are more of the "dorky" type. 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on September 4, 2013 at 6:23pm

RIGHT?? :) thanks Amber I totally agree. I am completely comfortable in groups, presentations, one on one as long as it's related to recruiting. I am a total failure when it's "just" social lol

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on September 4, 2013 at 6:53pm

I think it is a myth that someone has to extroverted, super outgoing or endlessly social to be successful at recruiting (sales, and so many other occupations). In fact, I'd say introverts may even have a slight advantage due to potentially being more attuned to subtle cues and nuances about different personality types and communication styles.

From my observations, extroverts sometimes tend to diminish introverts' capabilities when interviewing them because they can't easily relate to someone being more subdued in how they convey their skill set and achievements. They almost always favor the more gregarious and animated types.

They may inject too much subjectivity based on their own comfort (or not) with someone different than their understanding of proper social behavior. An introvert IMHO is more likely to adapt their approach, tailor their questions and truly listen or probe for information before ruling someone out for being "too quiet" dull, or dorky. 

That said, I'm not trying to generalize or stereotype anyone or suggest one way is better than the other. 

Comment by Mike Chuidian on September 5, 2013 at 9:43am

So that means we can't talk about sneakers, Amy?! I'm outta here, man.....YOU SUCK!!!....................................................................................................................Not really. I absolutely love you! :)

Comment by Will Thomson on September 5, 2013 at 9:50am

Funny you wrote this Amy.  You know when Animal asked me on the Animal Show if I was the life of the party, I said without hesitation- "NO".  I was at one time that guy, and most people would think that I am, but REALLY and TRULY I am not.  I'm the guy that will sit in a corner, drink a beer and get to know a few select people, but I could care less about getting to know everyone in the room.  I am not a social butterfly, but can play the part.  I do however, present that when I am a recruiter.  Interesting that I am not alone.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on September 5, 2013 at 12:05pm

@KB - ya know, I've always suspected the extroverts were always the ones who had a hard time focusing/staying on the phone and just generally getting stuff done. :)

@Mike I do make exceptions for shoes. I'll gladly listen to you talk sneakers if I can wax poetic about stilettos :)

@Will I totally get it!! It's not that I can't be "on" when I need to, it's just way more comfortable for me to own a room in that way if we're talking about recruiting. :) Ask anyone who's attended a ProLango career mixer with me I always end the night practically having lost my voice I talk so darn much.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 2, 2013 at 12:23pm

Thanks, Amy. I'm a little confused about how it might be hard for an introvert to be a good recruiter. After all, introverts are said to have a hard time with people (or at least large groups of them). Since when do recruiters have to deal with people?




Comment by Amy Ala Miller on October 2, 2013 at 1:19pm

hi Keith,

I think introverts can be excellent recruiters. If anything, true extroverts might have a harder time, since they tend to be far more social, likely to fall in to the "likability" trap, and perhaps lose focus during the process of recruiting. Then again, I know plenty of extroverts who are great recruiters. Takes all kinds :)

Comment by April Hendricks on October 18, 2013 at 4:59pm

All kinds, its what makes the world go round.  Thank goodness.  Good read!


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