Why did you ask?

My husband has a love / hate relationship with my career choice. Always has. I’ve been a recruiter longer than I’ve been Mrs. Ala, so this is not new to him. In fact, at one point early in our relationship I was THE go to recruiter in his field. People would slip him resumes on job sites and ask for my phone number after meetings. It’s not easy being married to me, and that was before all this social recruiting / LinkedIn / Facebook / blogging stardom. Poor Mr. Ala.

One would think that he would know by now not to ask my advice. So when work came up over dinner recently, I told him what I thought. I gave him some specific points to share with his fellow employees as well as his bosses. Naturally, he didn’t like it. He had an argument for everything I suggested. Reasons why this wouldn’t work, or that would be shot down. I finally just threw my hands up and asked him why he even bothered talking to me about it. See, Mr. Ala is in construction, and when I can get him to do a project at home I’m certainly not in the kitchen telling him what kind of thin set to use to set the tile.

This happens more often than you might expect. I get hit up all the time by friends, family, and acquaintances asking questions about the recruiting process. I’ve reviewed countless resumes, re-written cover letters, advised on a hundred different ways to approach recruiters or hiring managers. I’ve suggested follow up emails, thank you notes, and employing the good old Strike Sheet method of figuring out target companies to go after. If you talk to me about career / recruiting / HR related stuff, I’m going to tell you what I think. You’ll then ignore my advice, still do what you want, and be pissed off when it doesn’t work.

So what’s a recruiter to do? I’ll tell you what I’m going to do – not get emotionally invested. That’s it. I know, easier said than done. We are, after all, in a people business. And people make logical (or illogical, I suppose) decisions based on emotions. All. The. Time. How do I feel about this? And… GO! How many of us have had our recruiting hearts broken by a candidate gone wild or a client gone silent? It stings. That feeling is only amplified when people you’re close to disregard your professional opinions.

I’m not talking about strangers and professional acquaintances. I’m used to those guys ignoring my advice. But my friends? My FAMILY? The very ones who have had a front row seat to my recruiting success? Yeah, I don’t know what I’m talking about as far as they’re concerned. So from now on, I’m going to have a little fun with my responses:

Q: I don’t like my boss. What should I do?

A: QUIT. But don’t just resign, quit in spectacular Jerry Maguire fashion. Steal something on your way out. Doesn't have to be a goldfish either.

Q: I’ve applied to 150 jobs this week but no one is calling me! What should I do?

A: Troll them on Twitter. See how many corporate handles you can get to block you.

Q: I’m hiring, and have interviewed a bunch of people. I don’t know who to hire. What should I do?

A: Cage fight – Mad Max style. Two candidates enter, one candidate leaves. There’s your new employee.


What epic advice do you have I can share?

Views: 1110

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 12, 2013 at 1:14pm

A social rule of thumb:

1) Don't offer advice unless you're asked for it.

2) Don't ask for advice unless you indicate:

a) You'll take it OR

b) You're just gathering advice for now and may not take it.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on November 12, 2013 at 1:21pm

good advice Keith. :)

Comment by Dane Anar on November 12, 2013 at 2:05pm

Next time someone does ask for your advice and goes against it .. wait a couple days/weeks and then ask that person for their advice on something that THEY'RE amazing at, then blatantly ignore it and when they get mad, be like, NOW YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL PUNK.  

Works every time.  

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 12, 2013 at 2:55pm

@ Amy: good one!

@ Dane: Why waste your time doing that, Dane?

Comment by Bill Schultz on November 12, 2013 at 3:48pm

my buddy asked advice on responding to a hiring manager who is interested in meeting him but wants to know his salary requirements.  So, I gave him the wordspeak and said "Do not deviate"  Waiting to see if he mentioned pet care or some other resume suicide.  

Comment by Ligia Madeira on November 15, 2013 at 11:15am

I'm new to recruiting--used to be an attorney and I faced the same problem in my old profession. But I loved how people would stop me for advice everywhere I went.  My favorite was when I was making a deposit at a bank in the drive through.....and the teller asked me if I could give her some quick advice.  I did.....and I'm sure she went on to disregard it anyway. All in a day's work, I suppose!

Comment by Terry Hall, CSSR on December 5, 2013 at 2:26pm

Amy, This is spot on!  I get so involved sometimes too... and I'm right there with you about the hubby; LOL!  Being a recruiter for over 15-years, I've learned the hard way that I cannot control people.  I often get requests from people to meet in person (for coffee) or to help them with their resume.  It's tough but we must set healthy boundaries for ourselves... we aren't here to be a resource to everyone for everything "job" related.  I've learned to say "I'm not the best resource for you, but this resource may be useful ... (insert article link or name of someone in my network who makes a living from doing people's resumes!)  Keep up the good articles Amy!!

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on December 6, 2013 at 7:42pm

that's a good one Terry I'm going to try that. :) I'm inundated with those kinds of requests, and I really do want to help, but yeah... boundaries.


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