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.)

What’s next?

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.

  • Find out what charities, sports, hobbies, community activities are important to your prospect. And engage him at that level. These are the things he invests valuable time in.
  • Connect with your prospect through LinkedIn groups and Facebook
    (not just your profiles). These are shared areas where you can participate in an online community and provide value.
  • Connect your prospect to other people with similar interests inside or outside of work.
  • Share a favorite book. Not much of a reader? Loan her a favorite NetFlix movie that she can just drop in the mail and return when she’s done. Do you both do evil Sudoku puzzles? Send her a Sudoku puzzle that stumped you.
  • Does she like Italian food? Send her a recipe for your grandmother’s Bolognese.
  • Have you both traveled to Italy? Do you both have dogs or cats? Are you both parents of grade school kids? Share pictures either via email or Facebook or an online album like Shutterfly.
  • Start a newsletter or a blog. Set up Google Alerts for things that are of interest to your prospect and send them to her.
  • Send a handwritten Thank You card after your meeting. Everyone emails. Go back to the basics and break through the clutter.
  • And here’s one other that your mother (or manager) may not have told you: Two truths and a lie. It’s an ice breaker or a drinking game – depending on how well you know the other person. One person tells two truths and one lie about herself and the other person has to guess which one is the lie. Then switch roles. Remember though folks -- what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Amy Renz is the President and COO of HireAbility.com, LLC, a privately held recruiting services and software company based in Londonderry, NH. Its ALEX Desktop app turns resumes from email attachments and desktop file folders into searchable, 'syncable' vCards. The Company processes several million resumes monthly in over 14 languages from 35 countries and counts among its clients the #1 job board, #1 vendor management system and #1 applicant tracking system for healthcare. Amy has over 15 years of recruitment industry experience including sales and management of multi-million dollar accounts and leadership of high-performance teams. Amy has run four Marathons; the latest was the 2010 Boston Marathon in which she had her personal best finish at 3:39 (in her Karhu sneakers, of course). She enjoys yoga, slalom skiing, and her puppies.

Views: 183

Comment by Heidi on May 11, 2010 at 12:27pm
Hi Amy: This is excellent advice and I would like to say THANK you for sharing. I am not sure where, how or why it happen but as an industry I feel that we've lost touch with what our job is all about - "PEOPLE".

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.
Comment by William G Morgan on May 11, 2010 at 12:52pm
How Ironic! 1 minute ago I recieved an email from one of my consultants who emailed me to let me know that she is taking a full-time job elsewhere, in a new market. Next email was involving this email.
I think there's a message in there.
Comment by Randy Levinson on May 11, 2010 at 5:06pm
Amy, what I love most about this post is that in its heart (and yours) is the message to connect to people. Connecting in a way that lets you know you are listening to them and interested in who they are. A few weeks ago I was interviewing for a new job. The hiring manager and I went off on a tangent that somehow touched on whether we ever really landed on the moon or not (yes, this was an interview for a recruiting job). He, not being from the US originally, did not believe that we truly landed on the moon. I believe we did. It was not a heated argument, just a tangential issue in passing. So in my thank you note to him I dent him a link that actually shows a lunar image of the landing site and you can see the remnants of the lander (it's a cool image and I think I got it off either a NASA site or Wikipedia). Anyway, he loved that I followed up with the information even though it was an odd way to connect. And yeah, I got the job
Comment by Craig Silverman on May 12, 2010 at 5:57pm
great article amy! it's good to see you here.
Comment by Bob Collins on May 13, 2010 at 5:07pm
Well said. When moving fast it is easy to forget our product is people.


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