This week I made my debut appearance on The Recruiting Animal show.  For anyone that doesn’t know this show, compare this to getting the opportunity to meet with the best client you could ever ask for with the reputation of being a lot like the Wizard of Oz BEFORE Dorothy and her crew knew he was really just a guy behind a curtain.

Whatever they tell you, no matter how prepared you think you are for an appearance like this, you’re not. I was quite familiar with his format after listening myself for some time to his show. I knew that as far as recruiting and social media went, he was the top dog. I liked his show, and caught it whenever I could. The times I did, the guest was usually being crucified.

When I saw his comment inviting me to defend my blog post : 3 Secrets to Building a Great Recruiting Desk  on RecruitBlogs my first thought was, Oh Crap. I can’t say no to a public challenge like this. I HAVE to do this. Ugh. And they are going to try to make me cry.

It seems a little silly to me now, but that is exactly what I thought. Like I said, I’d listened to his posse roast some guests on more than one occasion and I was pretty sure I’d heard a whimper from a full grown man that thought he was “all that” in the recruiting industry until he met @Animal. Sure, I could say no, but then what kind of wuss would I look like? No way. I don’t just write this blog, I really believe in what I’m telling you. I did not get to where I am letting fear stop me. My parents taught me long ago that you “don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk.”

So I made it a mission to be as prepared as possible to tame the Recruiting Animal. I was convinced I could make him like me and at the very least respect my point of view. I followed his directions to the letter. I cleared it with my boss, who made it very clear that I did not HAVE to do this, but he certainly encouraged it. I chose a date in advance so I could clear my calendar for the day. I went to his site and read every page @Animal suggested.

I even listened to archived examples of good and bad shows and prepared a few stories to share. I had a quick bio and elevator pitch for REKRUTR. All of answers would be free from any of his “bad words” which was a big concern for me, because my vocabulary is something I’ve been called out on more than once in social discussions. I’ll admit, I think I use this “recruiterease” in an effort to disguise the real Southern Indiana hick talk that can slip out now and again. Phrases like ” go way beyond” when I should probably say exceeds or “folks” when I should just say who I’m talking about.  Anyway these shop-talk buzz words he hates. Words like “paradigm”, “visionary” and “thought leader” and I was determined not to use any on that call!

As the date drew near I got  back up  for my childcare, and back up for the back-up. I read that a land line was a must, so I dug out a nice office plug-in type that I used “back in the day” just to make sure there were no failing battery or electricity issues. I got on my social networks and asked for advice about preparing for an appearance on a show like this. I was ready!

Then a few minutes before the show, my twitter notifications lit up. I started to get a glimpse of what I was in for. I was responding to tweets when I would have normally been doing some deep breaths. ( Don’t laugh! Deep breaths are important prior to a public appearance. )  Before I knew it, it was just before noon. I called in. The voice on the other end said that I should press “1″ to speak and that I was the first caller on the line.

I heard my cue: “Amy McDonald, come on down.” I took a deep breath, pushed “1″ and started in with my prepared hello. Then I realized they couldn’t hear me. What? Push 1. I’m pushing 1. One. One. “Hello!” “Hello, I’m here. Can you hear me?” Arghhhhhhhh! They couldn’t. They were discussing what the protocol is for no-shows.

“What?” “Noooooooo. No. No. No.” In desperation I hung up the phone and dialed back in. “Press 1 to enter the host’s cue”.  ”Is this her?” “Yes.” Sigh of relief. Relief? I was relieved to be entering the animal’s den?

Anyway, since we are a few minutes behind, we dive right in to our conversation, and before I know it all of my preparation is out the door. I’m not even looking at my notes. I’m doing exactly what he said not to do. I’m “winging it.” Shoot.

“Define Great” he said. What? Define great. That was not on my prep list. “Give me an example of when you were visionary.”  No. I didn’t use that bad word on here, he did. I said, ” I knew I should have edited my LinkedIn profile.” You get the idea.

In the end, I did just fine. I gave a reasonable answer to support my views on the topics we disagreed on, and I didn’t leave any dead air space for the “I have no clue” moments. I think, if you listen very carefully to the broadcast you might even hear The Recruiting Animal say that he changed his mind about me. I came off of that call ready to take on anything, and I have The Recruiting Animal to thank for that.

I really enjoyed being on the show. I would encourage my readers to face YOUR animal -or high stress meeting, interview, appearance. When you do, be as prepared as you can be. Know everything you can about the person that you’ll be meeting with. Research the company, their website, their history. Then be prepared to be un-prepared.  Be prepared to be honest above all. Expect that there are going to be some questions you might not have easy answers to. Above all, be prepared to represent the most genuine “you” that you can.

In the end. That’s what most people want to know  in these situations any way. Who is this person? Could I do business with them? Could I work with them? Could I see myself referring this person to someone else? That is what they really want to know. Sometimes that answer will be no. But if you commit to representing who you really are, and what you really believe, I’m certain you’ll be o.k. with that too.

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