On Wednesday, March 21st I did it.  I went on The Recruiting Animal Show.  If you listened to it, then you know both Animal and I had some pretty rough reviews and our scores had us both failing. Let me say this, listening back to it, I thought it was better than the reviews.  But hey- it is what it is.  Right? I went way out of my comfort zone to do something I had never done before.  Animal just did his job.

One of the topics that was discussed was that anybody can recruit.  I made the comment that I could hire a monkey to recruit.  That is when the floodgates began to open.  "A monkey" said Animal?  Jerry Albright backed me up pretty good and said "A Sales Monkey".  Then the whole age thing came into play.  "A 50 year old lady" at Kroger could do this job?  "A College Graduate?" That is a bag of worms I didn't even care to get into, but Animal led us down that track.  Oh boy, then the twitter comments came flowing and the show and listeners had had it.  

First and foremost, age doesn't mean anything to me.  Anyone who is capable of doing a job should be hired regardless of age.  Secondly, here is the point I was trying to make. Recruiting is just not that hard.  I do believe most people could be trained to recruit.  

Yes, you have to have sales skills.  Yes, you have to be somewhat computer savvy.  Those were things we talked about on the show.  

For a discussion, I would like to re-open this can of worms.  What does it take to be a recruiter?  What skills do you have to have?  Could you teach an educated, sales savvy person with no experience to recruit and recruit well quickly. My vote is yes, but I want to hear from you.  

Let's get the comments going here.  I would love to see this be the top trending article for the month.  I know a lot of you are opinionated, so yes- even Tom Bolt, Animal, Maureen Sharib, Let's hear from you.  Tweet about it.  Share it. I'm looking for 24 pages here like the Sourcing is Dead topic.  

Thanks for having me Animal.  

If you enjoted this, please check out Bulls Eye Recruiting at www.wthomsonjr.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

Views: 4397

Comment by Will Thomson on March 21, 2013 at 5:16pm

@ Noel- It amazes me how well restraunt people do in this industry.  The top producer in the Austin for an agency I had convinced to come into recruiting.. She was a bartender. 

@ Tom- thanks for the responses. 

@Animal- A hairdresser? Well- she was probably hungry for money and had credit card debt

@Amy- Thanks as always

@Amber- We did our best

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 21, 2013 at 5:23pm

Of course. :)

@Sandra - I was that young single mom you described... I've W-2'd more every year than the ex since. :)

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on March 21, 2013 at 5:45pm

My perspective is that of a person that's never attempted to train a monkey nor fully attempted to train someone to recruit. Also, I've only been on the internal (corporate) side (non-agency, TPR, search firm) of recruiting (actually a mere HR flunky also accountable for recruiting). Because of that I may feel less strongly about prioritizing the sales skills aspect, but understanding motivators, influencing and negotiating does factor in to the whole package. 

I have trained entirely inexperienced people on certain portions of the recruiting process, but not to the point of letting them loose on the full-cycle. I've seen some with solid potential and some, not so much... 

IMHO, the reason that the industry has such a poor reputation is partially due to the fact that many people believe ANYONE can recruit. I disagree. 

I've encountered some recruiters (both internal and external) that I wouldn't trust to shovel Sandra's horses' droppings. It's not so much that recruiting is too complicated or impossible to learn, but some people just don't have sufficient common-sense, self-awareness, work-ethic and brain-power to figure out the difference between doing something and doing something WELL. 

BTW: Will & Animal at least the show was memorable enough to stir up some #MonkeyChat

~KB @TalentTalks 

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 21, 2013 at 6:19pm

thanks Will.  By the by, i sent out a tweet to Albright while they were flaying the flesh off your bones yesterday.  It said, "Texas boys are a soft sell".  If all the big butter and egg men from the East wanted you to act like a yankee asshole they have not been fortunate enough to work with soft talkin Texas boys.  It's Texas women who are like tornados and that my friends is also why Texas boys are soft talkin'.  :)

At Maureen's request.  I waltzed into an employment agency looking for a new job.  Didn't want to do accounting anymore.  My "career consultant" was a lot more interested in how much child support i was receiving to make sure i could pay my fee (they were all applicant paid at that point) than she was about talking to me about what my career options might be or what she could do for me.  After about thirty minutes of this hoopla she asked me what i thought i wanted to do.  My response was, "if i knew what i wanted to do i wouldn't be here but now that you ask, i think i want your job because i think i could do it better.

She looked at me funny for a minute and said, "Let me talk to my boss, i hate this damn job, i came in here looking for an accounting job so they hired me to work the accounting desk."  If you want it i think (and she actually said it) a trained monkey could do a better job than i do."

In a few minutes i was interviewing with the agency owner, i was hired, i placed her in an accounting job the next week and all the monkeys were happy.  As to training, i sat in on two interviews and was handed two little books.  One had job orders and the other had candidates and the rest is history.  Maybe one just has to be the right kind of monkey to be a recruiter.  I never had the disadvantage of being mucked up with all the fancy training.  All i was told was that we placed people in jobs now go do it.  Pretty basic but the rest is just the way failed recruiters pay the rent in my opinion.  But ya gots ta have the right kinda monkey who knows how to find the bananas, knows what a banana looks like and that not bananas are alike.  Some are too green and some are too ripe.  Now they call that discrimination.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 21, 2013 at 6:25pm

So was i Amy.  Where that statement came from was when my ex told me that i couldn't get along without him.  Oh yeah, well by the end of next year my W-2 will be bigger than yours.  Talk about motivation.  He was a trust baby so i thought there might have been a better way to phrase that but i never forgot it. And it was.  My horses have a bigger trust fund now than he did.  Have to be sure they are taken care of if i start drooling in my oatmeal.  Recruiting has been berry gud to me.

Comment by Will Thomson on March 21, 2013 at 10:16pm
@ Sandra. I think you summed up Texans pretty well and I appreciate the comments. You don't know how much it means to me that you supported me that way. I liked your story also.

@kelly the last sentences of Sandra's comments are pretty dead on.

Anyone else? Can't stop the thread here!!!
Comment by Robert Wright on March 22, 2013 at 4:26am

Yes you can train anyone to be a recruiter. But will they enjoy it and will they sustain it?

Comment by Maureen Sharib on March 22, 2013 at 9:43am

Sandra, that's a good one too but I was thinking of this one you told in the Fordyce Letter.

When I started in recruiting (resumes were chipped out of stone tablets by little monks; they were heavy and could not be attached to applications), my divorce was about 45 minutes old, I had two grade school kids, and all of us were pretty shook up.

I explained to the troops what I was going to do for a living. Daddy and his trust fund had shuffled happily off to rehab. All they really understood was that I was going to help people find a job, it was called being a recruiter, and if I made a placement I got paid money. Okay , let’s roll.

Everyday when I came home, my son would look at me with a worried look and ask, “Mommy, did you make a placement today?” Every day for a month I had to answer, “Not today, sweetness, but don’t worry, maybe tomorrow.” Then see the look in those little, worried eyes…

Monday of week four I hit the floor with one thought: I cannot look at that little face one more day and say, “Not today, maybe tomorrow.” I’ll never really know whether it was divine providence, my turn, the hard work of those scary first three stumbling weeks, or if I willed it, but before that day was over three placements fell like the giant redwoods.

I walked in the door that evening. My serious little kid looked at me with his little worried look and said, “Mommy did you make a placement today?” I looked at him with a big grin and said, “No sweetness, I MADE THREE, as in 1,2,3 PLACEMENTS TODAY!”

My little kid ran to give me a hug with the biggest smile I had seen in months and said,


That is when one knows what it feels like and what needs to happen to be a GREAT recruiter.

He’s 47 now. Lives in a different city, calls every few days and says, “Hey Mom, did you make a placement today?” We both laugh.

So maybe all those motivators play a part, but what motivates me to be a “ Great Recruiter” is…… I MADE A PLACEMENT TODAY!

Comment by Will Thomson on March 22, 2013 at 11:40am

@ Robert- Good point.  I guess that really is what it is about.  Will someone enjoy recruiting or not?  Just like every other profession, you have to try it to see if you will like it.  Yes, they could probably do it, but would they like it?  I think it depends on where you recruit, how much training you have, how much support you have and if what you recruit interests you.  I have seen IT developers who have become excellent recruiters, because they can talk their lingo.  

@Maureen, thanks for sharing.  That gave me a good giggle!

Comment by Dyll Davies on March 22, 2013 at 11:41am

Sandra as ever you hit the nail on the head!  "Can you train a monkey to recruit?  Sure if your idea of recruiting is to post a job, read resumes and forward 5 or 6 to a client so the client can pick the one they want.  I call those "resume monkeys"." - so do I and they are why I continue to stand out in my little niche from all the other animals!  Honesty, integrity, intelligence and a bit of personality are not difficult qualities to acquire but it is amazing how few recruiters have them it seems.


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