I’m 40 years old. Female. A Scorpio. 5’ 4.5” (yes, I included the ½ inch) and weigh 116 pounds. No, this is not a personal advertisement. I love a dog’s soft tender underbelly, extra dark chocolate, cherry red scarves, stick shift convertibles, sauvignon blanc on the beach, and Don Julio 1942 for a really good time. I donate to animal shelters, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Special Olympics. I love running five miles really fast (or as fast as I can at 40). But I tend to forget this and run Marathons instead. I choose Karhu running sneakers over any other brand; guilt over regret; silent company over chatty camaraderie; a book over TV. I sleep with one eye open. Literally. It’s the right one.
What does all this have to do with recruitment?
We deal in people. Attracting them and finding them. Matching them and hiring them. Retaining them. Try doing this without knowing someone personally. You could be decent at it. But you’re never going to be really good at it, and it’s never going to juice you. You’re always going to have those candidates who you think are going to take the job, or those clients who are going to hire from you. But then it occasionally all goes to hell. Why didn’t you see it coming? Why didn’t they tell you they had other offers, other opportunities, or your competition was doing it better?
The answer may be because of their impressions. They don’t really know you. And they think they’re just another number to you. Thanks for the resume. Stand in line.
When I was selling recruitment services, the best client I ever had was the one whose daughter napped in my spare bedroom one summer afternoon before going to a Bat Mitzvah party. We laughed, shared a bottle of wine, and after her daughter awoke from her nap we put some blush on her cheeks, gloss on her lips, and dolled up her hair.
You can take your candidates and hiring managers to lunch, but lunch alone does not connect you. How are you getting to know them? People do business with the people who deliver and with whom they’re engaged. So how are they getting to know you?
You start first. How do you introduce yourself?
“My name is Bob Smith and I’m a recruiter for Acme.” Full stop.
Can you hear the ringing? Bo-ring.
If this is how you start then stop now. Know thyself. Now know how it relates to the person you’re talking to.
Try: “I’m calling from Acme, my name is Bob Smith and I ran my last Marathon in your Karhu Fluid Fulcrum sneakers. I had a personal best finish and love the shoes. The patented technology behind your shoe is amazing and the results of the studies are impressive – shaving up to four breaths per minute off of a runner’s exertion. I’ve noticed though that you’re still somewhat unknown here in the U.S. and could be doing a lot more in social media. I’d like to come in and talk to you about the services we provide and how we can help you here and in other areas...”
Now that you’re in the door, you better be wearing your Karhu sneakers to the meeting. Even if they clash with your skirt. Remember, you’re trying to be memorable, and to break down social barriers. (Unless of course, your name is Bob. In which case, I suggest wearing pants. A skirt is a little too memorable.)
There’s no road map to building relationships. It’s a giant doughnut and you can bite anywhere to get into the center. Here are a few ideas for getting beyond the resume and building relationships with candidates and clients.
It's so easy to sit behind a screen and push buttons all day but the true gift of a great recruiter is his or her ability to build relationships, and connect with people. I've come to the conclusion that our ability to speak to complete strangers, establish a rapport, create an environment of openess and trust where people feel comfortable enough to express who they are within a few minutes is a gift and a rare talent. People interact with those they feel comfortable with and trust. In this day and age trust has become a rare commodity where people and organizations have to work hard to reestablish.
I think there's a message in there.