In speaking with a longstanding friend and client recently, I was again reminded of the fact that I am regularly inspired by so many individuals within the recruiting and talent acquisition arena who I have been fortunate enough to meet and know over the course of my career.

Jackie Connors of the Connors Group is someone I genuinely enjoy speaking with because she’s an incredible recruiter and, more importantly, a tremendous person. Despite her phenomenal success in recruiting over the years, Jackie is someone who’s always striving to sharpen the blade and who’s always working to get better – she is also a true student of the business. Blessed with an infectious laugh, Jackie has always struck me as the embodiment of someone who possesses a “glass is half full” outlook – pragmatic, yet eminently positive and hopeful – all really good things in recruiting, right?

So, as our conversation pivoted for the 10th time, as it always does when we delve into the nuts and bolts of recruiting best practices, the following question surfaced:

What is your absolute favorite moment in the recruiting process?

Oddly, despite our many conversations over the years we hadn’t addressed this particular topic previously. Maybe even more ironic is that I’ve long known my favorite moment in the recruiting lifecycle – the moment, above all others, that I find to be most gratifying.

Now, if you haven’t previously contemplated this question, take a quick moment to consider it. Think about everything you do in your role as a recruiter. Think about the candidates you encounter, the interviews you sit through, the hiring managers with whom you interact, and all the steps associated with your recruiting process. Think about the people you really enjoy working with, and think about the people who annoy the hell out of you. Think about the unique activities in which you are involved – think about it all, and see if you can distill this blur of activity into one identifiable instance in your recruiting process that stands out as being more fulfilling than anything else. Now, write this down on a piece of paper: My favorite moment in recruiting is: _______________  Oh, and writing Friday at 5 PM as your answer doesn’t count!

I guarantee that some of you are answered with, “My favorite moment in recruiting is when I present an offer to a candidate, and get to hear them say, “Yes, I’m taking this job!” Or maybe you’re thinking that your favorite moment is telling a hiring manager that you just got an acceptance on a position that’s been open forever!  Or maybe it’s getting favorable feedback on a candidate from an especially challenging hiring manager, giving you hope that maybe – just maybe this particular position will be filled.  And, I’m sure that some of you are thinking that your favorite moment is the point at which you submit several well qualified candidates to an impressed hiring authority – You’ve got this thing handled, and they know it. Not a bad feeling. And maybe others simply find the opportunity to advocate for a specific candidate – that diamond in the rough – to be wholly satisfying (especially when that diamond in the rough gets the job and surpasses everyone’s expectations).

So, when my friend Jackie and I got into our discussion about this topic, I said, “I can absolutely pinpoint the one moment of the recruiting process that I find to be more gratifying than any other, and it’s NOT closing the deal.  Jackie laughed out loud and said, “I think we may have the same favorite moment.”  I went on and conveyed that my greatest joy in recruiting comes from cold calling an entirely passive candidate – someone that I’ve identified via research, never communicated with previously – called out of the blue, and presented with one exceptionally compelling story about an opportunity of a lifetime– digging in on their background, cultivating their interest, and then realizing that, in Jackie’s words, “I just found the guy or gal” who will win this position.

Jackie immediately confirmed that this too, was her “pinnacle” moment in the recruiting lifecycle – effectively taking nothing other than a few shreds of information about a specific person, initiating contact and engaging a talented professional in what subsequently becomes a life-changing dialogue. In short, turning nothing into something really significant.

And, sometimes after one of these connections, I honestly wonder if I’ve experienced divine intervention at work. So to this day, “finding THE RIGHT guy or gal” to use Jackie’s expression, remains among the most gratifying and fulfilling moments that I get to experience.

Whatever your favorite moments within the recruitment process may be, I hope that the balance of 2016 provides you with numerous opportunities to realize as many of them as possible!

This is Paul Siker, wishing you ongoing success.

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