I Cannot Tell a Lie! ...And I'm Not a Politician, So It's Not Just a Catchy Phrase.

I'm giving you all fair warning and letting you know that this is a touchy-feely kind of blog. If you are looking for some sort of information on how to become a better recruiter, you will not find it here. Actually, you will probably not find it in any of my blogs ever.

I woke up at 6:30am to discover my 2-year-old son, Cole, whining in his crib. I pick him up and he cuddles next to me like a baby kooala bear. Cole is usually in great spirits when he wakes up in the morning so I was a bit baffled by his cranky demeanor. I make some coffee and put milk into a sipee cup for my son who is lying on the couch. I hand him the milk and realize, looking at his round little face, that his nose is running. I check his forehead and realize he is feverish. Great. Not how I like to start my mornings but after I gave him a "cookie bar" (what I call a nutri-grain bar to make it more palatable to his toddler senses) and he started watching SpongeBob I was able to improve my morning and was whistling dixie by the time I was doing my morning commute, coffee in hand. Then I got to the office and the semi-sunny Philadelphia day got cloudy.

First thing, I open my computer and, due to a thunderstorm last night, our database is missing information because our nightly auto system back-up was effected. Okay, no big deal. Make a fresh cup of coffee, sit down and go through e-mails. In my inbox is an updated resume I've been waiting for--hooray! I read it and my candidate added a few pieces of integral information that was missing from his original resume. It's not stellar but it's pretty good and he has 20 years of risk modeling in exactly the portfolios and functions the client needs. Doesn't have the "preferred" Ph.D. (read: required) but you can't bat your eyes at the kind of experience he has. I package it up and send it to my counterpart, an account manager here that I really love, and move onto sourcing some new resumes. The account manager then feels the need to write back and explain that she is sending in the resume even though there's a lot of "hurdles" to get past for this guy, meaning he is not at this very moment building a regression model in SAS for a mortgage finance company with his Ph.D. in Physics hanging on the wall behind him, no matter what he did the last 20 years. Every placement is a challenge and I don't need to be reminded of it, I think, and delete the e-mail. Then the phone rings.

Our offsite IT guy needs everyone to get out of the server for at least ten minutes so he can restart the server. Okay, kind of annoying because I am in the middle of a resume search but whatever. I log out and I'm starting to engage in a friendly conversation with some co-workers about international open-air markets (God only knows how we get on these topics--we can probably thank the internet because I'm sure someone read about it online in the 5 minutes our computers were up and running this morning) when my boss asks me to come into the conference room.

Currently I'm engaged in a big deal. New client is in the offer stage with a candidate of mine ($165+k for the first year MINIMUM at 25% fee) and I spent most of yesterday conducting reference checks and writing them up. We do not really have a formatted reference check sheet for Director Level types so I formatted the reference on Word as nicely as I could and sent them to the account manager here that I've been working with on this job. I slug into the conference room knowing my boss is going to want to "edit" (read: hen-peck) the references. The references, by the way, are stellar. In the conference room with the boss, the account manager, and myself we read through the references and mostly my boss wants to make the references better grammatically, which is fine because I didn't put a lot of thought into that, I just wanted to get the point across and then get the references to the client's HR recruiter ASAP so that they don't sit around thinking about this hire too much. They need someone, they like him, but I know there's a retained recruiter onsite probably telling them how much better she can do so I'm trying to combat that and stress-related hair loss at the same time. Finally I get to the point when my boss is telling me he doesn't understand why one of my candidate's references said something the way he said it and I blurt out: "Well, I just wrote what he said. I don't want to over edit so that the client thinks the references are suspiciously 'too neat'--" then I bite my tongue because I'm afraid of what else I might say. I grab the pen and cross out the line that seems to "not fit" and my boss laughs a little and asks if I'm taking it a little personally. I cool my jets, laugh and apologize and explain I don't want to waste time overediting. The references are GOOD. Nothing but good things about my candidate and trying to figure out what the client might misinterpret it only going to drive us crazy. My policy is honesty--ugly, fragmented sentenced honesty. Not that my boss or the account manager were trying to manipulate anyone's words, they just wanted the references to be clean.

In the end, my being at that table did not matter because I was not going to do the final formatting anyway, and perhaps that was what was bothering me, or maybe it was the fevered baby, the skittish server, the client that can't see a good employee without all of the hot keywords, or the client that has a retained recruiter licking her lips and sharpening her claws in the background--I don't know why I was so annoyed except that there is plenty of reason to be annoyed today. Everyday in the life of a recruiter/single mom/nurse/editor/housekeeper/household CFO/employee/magical resume sourcer there are challenges. Some days I can let the stress roll off my back, some days 20 things go wrong before 9:30am and it's a little hard to take. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve, for better or for worse, but being a professional has taught me how to reign that in. However, I will never not take things personally because I am the kind of person that puts my entire self into everything I do and that makes me damn good at what I do on the good days and on the bad days I maybe snappy, but at least I know it's because I care too much and that can't be a bad thing.

Views: 96

Comment by Steve Levy on April 22, 2009 at 1:36pm
Jennifer, you can't fake passion and its the one trait our profession needs right now. Those who aren't passionate about it and who cave in the moment some bad news comes across their Crackberry should get out now because the forecast is still cloudy (even if some amateur meteorologists are calling for sunny skies and 90 degrees).

The earlier in life Cole embraces the concept of passion, the better a person he'll grow up to be...

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