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Lately candidate treatment, technique, and discussions of the like have been pretty hot, and two posts in particular got me to thinking. One was Becky's admission to on-the-job bullying, and the other was Dan's response touting the virtues of being true to yourself. The more I thought I about it the more I realized that I actually had a very hard time coming to terms with these issues when I first began recruiting.

When I accepted my first job as a recruiter I actually had no idea what I was to be doing. The only recruiters I had ever heard of were the marines who stood in my high school cafeteria trying to coax unassuming teenagers into enlisting. I was assured I would not be 'that guy' but was still very green. In lieu of a formal training course I was fortunate enough to be seated right smack in the middle of several senior recruiters, all of whom had very different styles. It was an outstanding, if not overwhelming, learning experience that almost burnt me out before I ever got started.

The problem was that every time I heard something I liked in their intro, process, or close, I would try to do the same exact thing. In no time at all I was a hodge-podge mess of recruiting blather that didn't flow very well or make much sense at all. I was terrible on the phone and I knew it. How could I be surrounded by such successful recruiters, use each of their best techniques, and still just flat-out stink?! It was truly maddening until I figured it out. I was not being one bit of myself on that phone. It was as if the clouds parted so I could bask in the heavenly glow of my revelation. I was faking it.

Starting with my very next phone call I did almost everything differently: no more rigid structure, no more kung-fu death grip close; just a relaxed, conversational approach of getting to know my candidates. I immediately started feeling better about my calls, starting getting more quality candidates submitted on jobs, and starting getting hires on the board. It was amazing what a difference it made to do things the way I was most comfortable!

Over time I've continued to tweak my approach adding to my repertoire my version of somebody else's successful approach. I'm still far from perfect, but I'm getting better and I think it has a lot to do with refusing to just copy and paste somebody else's style.

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Tags: follower, recruiting, technique

Comment by Becky Metcalf on February 27, 2009 at 5:04pm
"I was faking it." Now, that is a statement, doesn't that just sum it all up? It really covers everything, from developing our own recruiting style to authenticity with candidates. It's important to remember to keep true to ourselves, even as we learn from those "super-stars" we are lucky enough to have around us. Nice post Gino!

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