"When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish."

In other words, better recruiters will speak less yet say more. Or to put it colloquially, give someone enough rope and they'll hang themselves. Better yet, you have two ears and one mouth - use them proportionally. Get the picture?

Just like so many in HR believe they have an innate ability to understand people (they sure did a great job of promoting leadership in financial services), so do many recruiters believe they have an ESP-like ability to snuff out talent no matter how veiled it may be or how little a candidate offers, regardless of the experience level of the recruiter in finding these rare gems. "I'll know a crack developer when I speak to them" or "I've recruited so many tax experts that sometimes I think I can do the job myself" or other absurd statements.

This is an issue that hits corporate and TPRs alike, and I'm seeing it more and more in younger, less experienced recruiters. Dare I say that this is an echo boomer malady caused by parents and educators who reinforced the notion that when younger these recruiters were "perfect"? Give a new recruiter a quick success and they're ready to run the office, right? Bully pulpit aside...

Recruiting Leaders and Recruiters often approach recruiting from the direction of talking too much when saying less and requiring the potential customer or hiring manager or candidate to say more will produce a treasure trove of data. Instead of allowing the hiring manager to speak freely about the job, the Recruiting Leader or Recruiter will quickly fill in the blanks believing the real job can be identified simply by following the Mad Lib Principle - change a noun or adverb here and there and you have a job description that works. Remarkable how recruiters who pride themselves in being able to drill down into a candidate don't take the time to effectively drill down into the job with the hiring manager. What is left is merely a shell of the real job - Lou, so much for performance based hiring - that is exceptionally difficult to pin down.

Instead of allowing the candidate to actually answer the question - which may lead to the person being DQ'ed from the search and the recruiter's reputation tarnished - the recruiter babbles on, leaving it to their intuition to drive the go/no-go decision. In recruiting, a double negative never turns positive!

How about the TPR who calls up a company and utters the special phrase, "I have the perfect person for you" without knowing what the company really needs and keeps yapping their gums until the person on the other end hangs up or dies? Nice approach, eh?

The goals of a recruiter should be to keep the potential customer, hiring managers, or candidates talking and for us to actively listen - not the reverse. Get more information, not less. Don't assume. It's frightening how many decisions are made with a job description that says little more than 3-5 years experience and the recruiter babbling on about how great a place the company is to work. I'm concerned that a good deal of our profession is inhabited by people who see only beige rather than an infinite spectrum of colors.

The power - and color - comes from using silence to empower customers, hiring managers, and candidates to offer information that typically goes unspoken. But you can't get this when you have diarrhea of the mouth and your ears are clogged.

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