Have you ever seen that poster “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”? inspired by the book of the same name? I can’t remember when I first saw that poster but I was young enough that I distinctly remember rolling my eyes at it. As I have aged, though, and especially since I’ve become a parent, I appreciate that poster much more. I find myself noticing so many of those simple lessons most of us were taught as children but somehow have forgotten.“If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing,” I am reminded of a lot when I surf social media sites for example.
It is always a good idea as recruiters that we re-visit these topics because most of them focus on how to get along with others, and let’s face it, we need to “get along” with others better than the average person to survive in our business. One of the big ones to remember is one of the easiest. What would you say if I were to say to you, ” What’s the magic word?” I use that one with my kids all the time. The response I am looking for of course is the word please. So simple, yet so powerful is the magic of the word please.
If you are a recruiter and you are struggling with direct sourcing for example, you know, name gathering, then you should really consider how often you are using the magic word please. If you aren’t using this word on every call you are probably not getting the results you should or could.
One of the best sourcing professionals I’ve ever known was my friend Mary Jane. She worked on my sourcing team back when I managed large scale projects for pharmaceutical companies. Let me just say, that there is not a Mary Jane on every corner. I simply could not write this blog about name gathering without thinking of her anymore than we could have been so successful with our sourcing efforts without her. Mary Jane, or MJ as some call her, has the remarkable ability to make a friend in one telephone conversation. She is always professional and polite but above all of this, she is genuinely kind. She cares about the people she is soliciting and lets them know how much she appreciates their help. You won’t find her missing the word “please” when she asks for something and it works very well for her. Maybe it is the sweet southern belle voice she has, but I can still hear her voice in the next cubicle on the phones, and no matter whom she was speaking with she always included the magic word.
”Hello Dave, I wonder if I could please have just a moment of your time for some research I am doing for my boss in Boston.”
“Hi Janice, thank you and yes, I hope you can help me. I’m trying to find a contact at your company that is familiar with … Could you please help me find the best person to talk with? ”
“Please tell me, Dan, do you collect business cards of sales professionals that call on your company.”
These are just a few examples of how Mary Jane might have used the word please. It may seem like a given to some, but I think you might be surprised to realize how many recruiters are not showing a genuine kindness to the caller and well, just aren’t using that magic word. If you think I’m wrong, assign your team to a 30 minute call blast for name gathering and walk around your bull pen listening for the word “please” specifically. Don’t tell them what you are doing! Jot down those that are using it and those that aren’t. Then compare their results. I’m willing to bet that those who were using the magic word got more names. Listen for the word please when you receive calls from vendors, and business colleagues.
Do you feel compelled to comply with a request when the caller says please? I know I do.What other things you’ve learned as a child are easily forgotten in business? Are you using the magic word on a regular basis?
Amy McDonald is the President and CEO at REKRUTR. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy participates as a thought leader in Recruiting for BIZCATALYST360°