I remember having debates with classmates regarding the question of nature versus nurture - which one is more important? Are all things predetermined by your genetic code? Is the environment in which you were raised more relevant in the formation of your personality, your likes and dislikes?
I got to thinking about this the other day at the hairdresser's. Yes - the hairdresser's. Going in for my tri-annual cut/color ritual, I noticed that the weather outside was beautiful. The mercury was flirting with 83 degrees, the sky was blue without a cloud in sight, and there wasn't a hint of humidity to be found. I knew and my hairdresser knew what that meant: Nancy's going to ask to have her hair flat-ironed.
My hair is extremely curly. This curl is natural - it does not come from a bottle or from a curling iron. One of the things that "straight hairs" (non-curly haired people) take for granted on a daily basis and we curly hairs are jealous of is the ability to brush your hair. When you have curly hair, you can comb it or pick it when it's wet, but lo - if you touch or play with it during the day, it will frizz to high heaven. Your hair will be a halo of fuzz that will sway gently to and fro in the breeze and will be a testament to all that you committed the Curly Hair Cardinal Sin: Unnecessary Handling. Far worse than touching your hair would be BRUSHING your hair. If I took a brush to my hair, I'd look like Rosanne-Rosanna-Dana after she stuck her finger in a light socket.
But when the weather is dry and it happens to coincide with the one of the three days of the year that I find myself at my hairdresser, I ask to have it flat-ironed. I don't think this looks good on me – my hair is cut for curls. For one or two glorious days, however, I get to take a comb and actually brush my hair from the crown of my head to the beautifully flat ironed ends of my hair. It's GLORIOUS.
No matter how silky smooth my hair has been, it will spring right back into its curly form the second water hits it. You can alter the course of my hair for a short while, but you cannot ever permanently change it. The nature of my hair is curly; its look can be changed by various hairstyling appliances, but its intrinsic "being" is curly. Nothing can alter that.
I started thinking about how similar my hair is to the entire recruiting process and how it sometimes has a life of its own. We create a lot of our own frustration because we are externally trying to alter the course of something we have no control over. Sure, I could fight the nature of my hair, have it straightened chemically or spend two hours each day with a blow dryer and a straight-iron trying to make it conform to my will, or I can go with the natural curl/flow, finding ways to tame frizz, condition it, and make it work for me. Occasionally, I can break out and really change the way I view it and deal with it - but eventually, I will go back to the natural order of allowing it to curl into little ringlets that need a little guidance and maybe some product to get it looking “right”.
Are you fighting nature? Swimming against the current? Fighting processes at every turn only to come out exhausted and battered at the end of the day? There are some issues that we absolutely cannot be flexible with. It is important that the recruiter retain control of their candidates and have direct communication with hiring authorities whenever possible. Complete and thoughtful feedback and a reasonable time-to-hire are also important. But trying to get companies to do business YOUR way is as impractical as it is impossible. And at the end of the day, you’ll end up frazzled, frizzled and exhausted.
I believe that successful recruiters employ the same type of balance that I’ve utilized in my hair care routine. It’s not all nature and it’s not all nurture. Being flexible and working with nature along with nurturing positive change whenever possible is the key to a successful company/recruiter partnership. Learn which tools to utilize and which tools to avoid in order to become a valued consultant to the company and help them achieve their objectives. This way everybody will come out ahead and you’ll avoid the frizzed out, ultra-teased burnout that can occur so easily when you fight the natural order of things.