Back when I started in the recruiting industry, (I can hear you now: “Yeah, yeah. Uphill both ways, against the wind and in 6 feet of snow, you old fart!”) we did not have all the tools we do today. Now, don’t get me wrong - I love our tools. It has made our recruiting efforts much easier however; the only “tool” that has not changed and WILL always remain the most important is our ability to communicate!
The most significant thing you can do for yourself, your candidates, and your clients is listen. I mean really listen, not just hear. I have sat in on meetings and interviews with other recruiters and business owners, only to find that their pens were writing frantically or their fingers were typing furiously, instead of their eyes making contact and creating a true connection.
Yes, I realize that we need to take notes because we are communicating with so many different people over the course of days, weeks and months; it would be impossible to remember everything everybody said. However, why not create a shorthand system for yourself so you can place your eyes on the person in front of you and really connect with them. (This connection can also be made over the phone if your priority becomes the person and not your notes).
By doing this, you gain the opportunity to utilize your power of listening. Much like when I teach young goalies the “power of nothing”, (just stand your ground on angle and let the shooter waste their energy trying to fake you out) recruiters should learn the “power of silence”. Ask a question; then shut-up. Do very little with your notes and simply listen to your candidate. It is truly amazing how much more information you can collect by allowing someone to talk and fill empty space. Humans do not like silence in a meeting or interview setting so they tend to create noise. Listen to the noise and see if any further information can be obtained.
Making eye contact while listening is also very important in order to fully understand the message your client or candidate is truly relaying. By removing your focus from paper or keyboard and directing it to the person, allows you to read the non-verbal signs but more importantly, it will make your guest feel as if they are the most important person in the room. Should you feel uncomfortable looking someone in the eye, I would like to recommend that you watch their mouth instead. This will still appear as though you are engaging in eye contact with them.
Listen and see how much more information you can obtain during your meetings. When you are really good at the “power of silence”, give it a try and go ask your boss for a raise. Present the question, shut-up and allow them to fill the silence with a BIGGER number*.
*(Disclaimer: The Author is not responsible for any reaction of your boss negatively however we will take some credit for a positive reaction.)
Live, Learn and Laugh!