Do You Speak My Language? Or Further Reflections of a Rookie Recruiter

By Jennifer Copley, Rookie Recruiter, Q4B

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.”  - Charlemagne

I am not sure when I first fully appreciated the importance of having learned a second language. I took French in high school and college and most of my friends and peers took some language as part of their course requirements. For many of us it was just another subject, sometimes required, that we needed to pass in order to graduate.

In college I took a few trips to France, traveled the country side, visited the museums, sampled the exquisite cuisine, the wine, the cheeses and spoke to or tried to speak to the locals in their language. Over time I became more comfortable with speaking French, my second language. And I began to see France through a different lens. And I liked what I saw.

I am now in my third month as a Rookie Recruiter for Q4B. I am also in my third month of learning a third language. A third language, you might ask, maybe Spanish, Chinese, German? No, although any one of those languages would certainly be of some use no matter what business you were in. No, the third language I am just beginning to learn is the language of Recruiting.

I read somewhere that English is considered the language of business, that French was considered the language of diplomacy (at least up through the mid 20th century) and is considered the language of love. If that is so then Recruiting should be considered the language of success.

My job as a Rookie Recruiter with Q4B is primarily to source and screen candidates for the various positions that we are trying to fill for our clients. In other words, I am the first point of contact with candidates and it is my responsibility to understand our client’s business, their market, the position and identify the basic requirements that the candidates must have in order to be considered.

From the very beginning I knew a couple of things. One, I had no knowledge of our client’s business, the position requirements and most if not all of the terminology was foreign to me. In other words it was a foreign language. And Two, I needed to approach each assignment the same way that I approached the subjects that I took in school, in other words, I needed to learn another language.

Before I begin working an assignment, a job order, I read the information that the client gave us during our needs analysis meeting. I then research the client’s web site, picking up information on the company, the culture, any press or media information, their blog (if they have one) as well as information on their key executives. I also read their own job description on their site. I then research their LinkedIn page, their FaceBook page and their Google+ page in an effort to gather even more information. I make a note of any specific words, phrases, terminology that are unique to this client’s business. I look up the definitions for these words, phrases and terminology in order to better understand them.

With each assignment that I am given I am slowly beginning to learn a third language.

The language of Recruiting is quite broad. There are just so many dialects, so many colloquialisms, so much local slang. Every industry has its own way of speaking; every job has its own terminology. Learning to speak French certainly was a whole lot easier, but perhaps not as rewarding.

Learning to speak Recruiting has opened up doors that I never dreamed existed. And just like my experience with speaking French on my trips to France allowed me to see that country through a different lens, learning to speak the language of Recruiting has allowed me to see the opportunities that exist in each of the markets that Q4B works and the value that we bring to both our clients and our candidates, through a different lens. To say the least this experience has been eye opening. And I like what I see.

So, do you speak my language? Or should I say, “Parlez- vous Recruiting?” Because I can speak yours!

Views: 591

Comment by Sandra McCartt on July 31, 2012 at 5:51pm

Fun blog, and don't forget that one of the best ways to learn a language is to converse with a native speaker rather than try and bull your way through with just vocabulary.  :)

Comment by Jennifer Copley on July 31, 2012 at 5:56pm

Thanks Sandra. Yes, emersion is the best way to learn! 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on July 31, 2012 at 7:44pm

LOL what Sandra said!! :) Nice job Jennifer I wish I was half as smart as you when I first started recruiting.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on July 31, 2012 at 8:10pm

I was fortunate enough to have some clients and candidates who trained me.  Life before the internet was a bigger learning curve for what people did and how they did it.  That was brutal both in terms of goofy sendouts and feeling like you were playing raquest ball in the dark.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on July 31, 2012 at 8:12pm

Not sure what raquest ball is but it may have been a freudian typo.

Comment by Jennifer Copley on August 1, 2012 at 11:30am

@Amy: Thank you :) But the credit must go to my bosses who taught me everything!

@Sandra: I admire the people who know this trade without the internet. The web surely makes it easier for me to contact my international candidates!

Comment by Tim Spagnola on August 1, 2012 at 12:43pm
I always tell new recruiters to 'act as if' and that it is OK to say 'I don't know'. There is so much information needed to be taken in when starting to build a desk and I agree that it can be overwhelming, but over time by asking for the most part the same questions and get the same information back you do become an expert. So perhaps I should shift my motto to 'talking the talk'. Thanks for sharing Jennifer.
Comment by Jennifer Copley on August 1, 2012 at 12:56pm

Thanks Tim!  Yes, there are certainly times when I feel overwhelmed.  Luckily, I have great professional role models who teach me the tools so that I can solve the problems on my own next time.  I love this job because I am constantly learning from my superiors, the candidates/clients, and fellow recruiters :)

Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 1, 2012 at 3:36pm

I find that most people (candidates) are responsive to a recruiter who has the guts to say, " Look, i don't know squat about what all these buzz words in your industry mean, i am not an engineer or pathologist or an IT guru."  "My job is to be a recruiter not do what you do so this is my job description, tell me if it is a fit for what you do, if not why not and what i need to contact you about and what should i look for to fill this spot?" 

It has been my experience that people like to talk about what they do and how they do it and what tools they use and are more responsive to a recruiter who doesn't try to bullshit them that they know all about what the candidate does.

I have built a lot more long term relationships by being honest about my lack of expertise than i have by throwing around how much i know or trying to speak a language that i don't know what it really means when i say the words.

Hang in there kiddo, those candidates will teach you what you need to know if you let them know you don't know it.  :)


Comment by Nicole Sawyer on August 1, 2012 at 4:44pm

Amen Sandra!


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