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 Murray Clarke on March 22, 2013 at 4:25pm

I was going to write an answer but then read Sandra`s comments. I totally agree. Yes, you can train a monkey to be a low performing, low level recruiter but you need a certain DNA to get high performance and someone capable of handling senior search. All her points are good.

It may offend some but I tend to think of "separating" recruiters (more passive) from "headhunters" (proactive hunters). A monkey may be trained to be a lower performing "recruiter" but couldn`t figure out how to headhunt and sell.

Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on March 22, 2013 at 5:08pm

A very dear friend of mine is a surgical nurse, works only with brain surgeons.  Has been doing that for a very  long time.  She loves it.  She's the chief nurse in charge of a bunch of others.  They sometimes work weeks in advance for special surgeries not often performed and go through a drill much like firefighters go through drills to be prepared, stay in practice, or add a new skill (new equipment, surgical tool, etc.) so on the day of performance they're ready to succeed.

I'm always amazed by her because she looks into someone's open scalp, brains exposed almost every day, and hands the surgical equipment to the surgeon as he or she requests it.  It has the be the right piece of equipment and she has to know exactly where it is on the prep table.  And let me tell you, they go through a lot of pieces of equipment for just one surgery.  If she screws up, does the patient die?  Nope!  However there are many other consequences that do fall on her shoulders if she's not prepared and on her game.  And........she always says this when I tell her how awesome she is.  "A trained monkey could do my job!"  Right!  But guess what?  She's serious.  She breaks her job down into technical components, step by step procedures and processess to the point where I actually believe I could step in for her one day if needed.  Right!

The morale of the story is this.  You can train just about anyone to do anything if they have at the very least a moderate amount of motivation, confidence and will power.  What you can't train however is passion and innate ability.  That comes from somewhere within each of us, and then it's up to us to apply it to something we love. She's loved medicine, brains, blood, goo, icky stuff from birth.  She's also the most organized person I've ever met.  I believe she found her mojo a long time ago, but got the necessary training to do what she does.  Pretty simple.

I started out as a retail buyer.  I was very good at my job and quite successful.  I travelled all over the world for many years to "buy stuff" that I hoped others would either want on their body or in their homes.  It was a lot of pressure.  You were forever gambling that you were chasing after the right trend, or better yet, starting one, or veering one onto another lane that was even sexier than the first one.  It was a lot of pressure because if you didn't get it right, you wasted a ton of money, constantly got berated by Sr. Management, and blah, blah, blah.  You were always worried that you could potentially be out of a job in a nano-second because in that industry, you're only as good as yesterdays sales flash.  I always thought that buying was going to be my dream job.  But guess what?  I HATED it!  It wasn't what I wanted to do with my life.

The job that I thought was the most fun was that of the corporate recruiter who actually hired me into my very last buying job.  I thought he had a cool job.  Why?  Because he was like a talent agent to me.  Not much different than those agents who worked in the entertainment industry.  And he loved working with people.  He was a great talker, but an even better listener.  He was genuinely interested in what made people tick and what they might be good at.  He also did succession planning for the company too, so internal career development was also a big part of his job.  I thought to myself, I want that job, because what made him good at his job was just those few things.  We all have to have tough skin to survive life in general.  So that's not a quality for success.  It's an essential quality of survival if you're going to be a functional human being that has the basic coping skills to get you through those tough days.  But the other stuff......the listening, the caring, the talking, the molding, the suggesting, and being sincere.............those are the things that make a great recruiter, and keep us in the game 10, 15, 20+ years later.

I eventually found my way from the buying office and into the human resources office and I've never looked back.  Did I get training in order to be successful?  Sure I did.  For the technical stuff.  But the non-technical stuff came pretty natural because it was something that I "knew" I could do well, and perhaps just a little bit better than the average Joe or Jane.  Maybe not every day, but most days.  So........can you train a monkey to do just about anything?  Sure.  But to be very good at something, you can't train that.  Either it's there or it's not.  You don't even have to be good at sales to do this job well.  Most people "freak out" when out you mention the "sales' aspect of this job.  But sales is talking and listening.  That's it.  We all do that every day.  My partner sells real estate.  His job is NOT to sell houses to people.  His job is to SHOW houses to people.  They client sells themselves the right house when they find it.  He just has to ask and then listen for the right values that they want, and then show it to them.  They do the rest.  It's not magic!

Great topic!

Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on March 22, 2013 at 5:10pm

Sandra...................I say this a lot, but I never get tired of saying it.  I just love you.  Your story about your son asking you every night if you got a placement just melted my heart.  Awesome story and anology! 

Comment by Will Thomson on March 22, 2013 at 5:23pm

Forget my blog post!  I think Peter and Sandra should have "Featured Responses".  Peter, that was very well written and I think your comments could be a blog post as well as Sandra's.  I love your analogy and it drove the point home very well.  Thank you for sharing!

@Mark- I think Peter said it best - "But to be very good at something, you can't train that"

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 22, 2013 at 6:11pm

Thanks Peter.  It was in fact one of the proudest moments of my life.  Your regard is very important to me as well as your art work.  For those who may not know, Peter is not only a great recruiter/HR manager he is also an acomplished artist.  Multiples of his work hang in my home and in the home of my son in Denver.  We have never met but have exchanged many fun emails and a phone convo or two over the years.  He has certainly solved the problem of what do you get the guy who has everything for Christmas.  Time for more "Ladies" Peter.  :)

Will, Peter and I have written many blogs over the years, now we sort of rest on our laurels or at least some part of our anatomy and make it our life work to comment rather than create.  :) 

Comment by David Wells on March 22, 2013 at 6:31pm

I don't know how to articulate it but good recruiters are always good at making connections.  Be it connecting the perfect candidate (who often does not have the perfect resume) to a position, or connecting clients that are facing similar issues, or even connecting what you hear in one conversation and using that information when needed later.

Everyone who is very good seems to do these things seemlessly and its one of those things I am not certain you can train for.

This is of course in addition to many of the previously mentioned attributes.

Comment by Danny Powell on March 26, 2013 at 11:18am

Great comments all on target. As for me, I like hiring Intelligent  people that are driven to be the best no matter what they do. If you hire an intelligent, self-actualized individual, teach them and put them in an environment that breeds success, they will be successful.

I like this definition of self-actualization:

The achievement of one's full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.

Comment by Will Thomson on March 26, 2013 at 12:47pm

@ David- An earlier post I wrote was called "What is your Gift".  I was asked on the show why recruiting was my gift and I believe you are right by saying people who can connect people to others, clients, and have an ease at doing so will be very successful in recruiting.  You are exactly right.

@Danny- I agree!  Hiring someone who is educated or intelligent is imparative.  Without that trait, it makes it very difficult to train someone to recruit. 

Comment by Brandi Cooper on March 26, 2013 at 2:00pm

@Sandra  Hilarious comment & that's a true story Ms. Sandra!  It's been passed down through generations of grandmothers, the Molotov cocktail of Southern Belle & western frontier pioneer woman.  "It's Texas women who are like tornados and that my friends is also why Texas boys are soft talkin'." 

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 26, 2013 at 4:29pm

:)  Yesum Miss Brandi.  My grandmother climbed off a covered wagon in the Texas panhandle had nine kids, rode a horse sidesaddle to three different schoolhouses to teach school, helped run a 9 section farm, could/would chase a herd of young bulls waving her apron if they got in her garden.  If we asked her anything she would say, "ask your grandaddy, he knows everything so smile when he tells you something then come ask me again what you want to know.  She played the organ at the church each Sunday and never got over the fact that my grand dad bought the local pool hall in the closest town.  Her take was that if the wind wasn't blowing the air would be full of bad stuff, boys should open the door for girls, lift heavy stuff and girls better be ladies but they better not ask for help unless stuff was too heavy to lift.


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