Put the time in. Be a student and keep learning.
I was inspired to write this post after reading a blog I look forward to each morning, http://www.thesimpledollar.com/ It's a personal finance blog, written by Trent Hamm, and for him it was a hobby that turned into a full-time job. In today's post, "The Limits You Choose", he addresses how many people make excuses for not finding success by saying they just don't have the time to put into whatever interests them. Trent tells of how he didn't have the time either, but because he was so passionate about what he was doing, he made the time, getting up early, using any free evening time to work on his project instead of watching tv or surfing the net.
His post hit home for me because I'm one of those people who dabbles in creative writing with the key word being dabble. I'm a member of a local writing group and am helping to coordinate what should be a really fun writer's conference the end of April in Salem, MA. My job was to recruit the agents and editors and there's an amazing lineup of them. I know I'll have a good time, but I haven't been doing any writing lately and was actually quite disappointed that the NEAPS recruiting conference which I attended and got so much out of last year, falls on the same weekend as the writer's conference.
I have many close friends who joined this writing group at the same time as me, who have written multiple books and found success. One wrote 10 or 11 books before selling and has gone on to sell close to 10 more. Most people would have given up long before this. Maybe I'm not as passionate about writing as I thought I was. If I was, I'd do it, right? And, I won't be missing the NEAPS conference next year as I am going to be assisting on that conference committee. I guess this shows where my passion lies.
A great book that studied patterns of success is Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller, Outliers. In it, he showed that people many considered to be 'overnight successes', such as Bill Gates, The Beatles, and Stephen King, all had one thing in common. Each put in on average about 10,000 hours of practice before finding success.
Another interesting study looked at student violinists who were attending a professional arts school. They assessed them into several groups with one group being those who stood out as exceptionally talented. It was assumed that all had basic musical talent to get into the school. They followed the students over the years and found that those who found professional success were NOT those who stood out early as more talented, but rather those who put in the most practice.
So, how does this relate to recruiting? Years ago I heard the saying, "Do what you love and the money will follow." I fell in love with recruiting in my first week on the job and have loved this crazy business every since. Because I like it so much, I tend to put more time and energy into it, and like most things, you get out what you put in.
Some people don't fall in love with this business until they have a taste of success and that's fine too. I've seen recruiters who were a bit bewildered by it all, suddenly finding things starting to 'click' after they make a placement or two. That gave them a shot of confidence that they could actually do this, and then they caught the bug. This job can be addictive. A girl in our office who is fairly new and recently started making placements told us that her husband was shaking his head at her the other night because while they were watching TV, she was online, reviewing resumes and making lists of people to call the next day. And her activity levels have more than tripled recently.
The beautiful thing about this business is that you can turn it around so quickly. You can be in a slump today and crazy busy with activity and sendouts in a week and placements soon after.
Although I've been doing this for over 15 years now, I still go to conferences, training workshops and watch training videos online. I subscribe to several for the office, among them, Mike Gionta's, http://www.therecruiteru.com/ which I highly recommend for owners of small shops, Danny Cahill's http://www.accordingtodanny.com/ (I sent my recruiter to his rookie training camp), and http://www.nextlevelexchange.com/ (great monthly videos and a whole library of rookie training modules and scripts). I look forward to the new videos each month and always take away a tip or two that I can implement immediately. Also can't say enough about Peter Lefkotwitzs in-depth training workshops, just went to one last year as a refresher and it was outstanding. www.morgancg.com
Mike Gionta's training has been instrumental in how I've been getting a new recruiter going, measuring certain metrics and she's now starting to see how tracking that activity matters and how much control she really does have. Her sendouts are way up and she's already having a good month and is set up for a very nice April.
There's really no shortcuts to doing well in this business. The more time and effort you put into it, the more it will pay off if you are always looking to improve how you do things. It really does come down to the basics too, planning ahead and staying on the phone as much as possible.