I know this sounds weird coming from a trainer, but it occurred to me that as an industry, we might be a tad over-trained.
For example, some recruiters seem to be information addicts. They’re constantly on the lookout for all manner of training and coaching, but seem to make the same mistakes over and over again. There’s nothing wrong with training, as long as there’s some LEARNING going on.
Of course, at the other extreme are the recruiters who are totally self-taught. As a trainer, self-taught recruiters drive me crazy, because you can't teach them anything. By nature, people who are autodidactic—that’s a fancy word for self-taught—are pretty much resistant to any way of doing things they didn't figure out for themselves. No matter how you advise them, they just go back and do it their own way.
Striking a Balance
I've found that the most successful people—recruiters or otherwise—are people who are receptive to training and eager to stand on the shoulders of giants. They're comfortable working within a system, as long as they get good results.
But people also have a sixth sense for when a system breaks down, or they need an answer that can’t be found online or in their training materials. At that point, their inner coach kicks in, and they begin to look for ways to solve problems, or at the very least, learn from their mistakes.
That's why I love the expression, "Success is a poor teacher." No matter how rigorous your training, there's no better—or more personal—learning experience than a setback or a failure. Being forced to learn on the fly can be difficult and frustrating. But as Tony Robbins once observed, there's a lot to be gained from turning the frustration of a problem into fascination for the solution.
Giant leaps in proficiency rarely occur as a result of preparation alone. Rather, success has a way of arriving just in the nick of time, at that lonely intersection where formal training and the need for self-preservation collide.