In true St. Louis “baseball fanatic” fashion I want to talk a little about what I affectionately call the “curve ball”… I was thrown said curve ball late last week and my lack of refinement in my initial response to it immediately reminded me of just how important flexibility and a dynamic attitude can be in recruiting. To be honest, it’s been a little while since I had a pitcher who really “stepped up to the plate” and surprised me – (okay, I’m done with the baseball lingo now, I just wanted to use the title!) so as I was driving home, feeling a bit bent and nearly broken, I was reminded of a toy I used to play with when I was young. Gumby… Remember him from the TV show? He was made of green rubbery material on a wire frame, perfect for moving and shaping into exactly the pose you wanted. Ideally flexible while still holding his shape – just like we must be.
Flexibility is so important because our business is incredibly dynamic, whether you are an internal or third party recruiter, your day can change completely with just one call from a hiring manager. We must be committed to dealing with changing priorities, and adept at seamlessly managing new needs. Even when it means starting from scratch or swallowing your pride. What I have learned is that while we have to be flexible, we need to not break that wire inside of us. It’s what helps us to bounce back, to push back when necessary.

I’m interested, when a situation calls for an about-face, how do you manage it? How do you maintain the integrity of your position while affording your client the flexibility that they have come to expect from you?

How do you swing for the fences on even the tough pitches that catch you by surprise?

Views: 104

Comment by Maureen Sharib on February 26, 2009 at 7:31am
I dunno that we have to swing for the fences each and every time Becky. Sometimes a fast, hard line between bases is what's called for. Or a pop-up sacrifice fly that moves the runner to third, a soft ground ball that pulls everyone off their postiions or a blooper that softly plops giving everyone time to think.

The push back part of your post caught my attention - I think many of us (especially these days) are becoming more and more wary of it but it in itself is becoming more and more important. I'm interested in the "push-back" scenarios of others -and - I'd like to hear more about the curve ball you were thrown Becky!
Comment by Becky Metcalf on February 26, 2009 at 10:02am
Thanks Maureen! Way to continue my baseball theme! You make a good point, and really illustrate what I am “driving home” here - that we have to be flexible. And sometimes that means a line drive or even - gasp - taking one for the team.

Push back - yes, let's hear some more about that. I think we could all learn from each other there as it can be a touchy subject. Because we work in such a people oriented business we always have to be wary of how we behave affects our relationships with our candidates and our hiring managers - pushing back can be a good way to damage a relationship if not handled correctly.

I'm getting ready to post a discussion about push back with an embarassing story about a lesson I learned the hard way.
Comment by Maureen Sharib on February 26, 2009 at 10:09am
I look forward to your pushback discussion! So I guess what you're saying is we should all learn to be better "utility" players?
utility player - A player who fills in at many positions.
Comment by Julia Stone on February 27, 2009 at 11:08am
I had a very strange interview this month. It was with someone I found through social media, so I didn't have their complete history. Bottom line was that I thought I was interviewing him for my VP position and he thought he was networking with me to help me find candidates.

He was a bit condescending at first and I found myself being immediately being put off, especially when he started talking down to me about technology which is something I understand pretty well. He wanted me to give him more details first, and I try to interview candidates before I give them lots of details. Somehow when I give candidates the run down on the job first, they are always a perfect match, go figure?! I decided to put my reactions aside and delve deeper into the situation.

Finally, I said, look, if you are making 500,000 a year in a job that is challenging and you enjoy, I am not so sure that I can offer anything that would be of interest to you.

Suddenly, we both understood each other and were able to move forward, he not only referred me an excellent candidate, but told me he would like to work with me in the future.

So if I were to add some baseball lingo...I was very close to a called strike out and it may end up being a triple.

I will reluctantly admit that my first instinct was to get off that call as quickly as possible. It was late in the evening and I was convinced it was going to be a complete waste of time. I was wrong, and came very close to just being "another recruiter" in his eyes.
Comment by Maureen Sharib on February 27, 2009 at 11:14am
Julia, I think you mean a "Grand Slam."
Comment by Becky Metcalf on February 27, 2009 at 11:22am
Julia, great story! That is a wonderful example of just the flexibility I am talking about. When expectations are askew we can be sometimes be taken by surprise, but with a dynamic approach and an open mind we can turn an iffy situation into a great success! It would have been easy to end the call scratching your head and getting huffy because you were put off by the nature of his approach, but instead you worked through it and realized he didn't have an attitude after all - rather he was there to help you make that big play!


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