I am not a high volume kind of gal.
Some folks have a tolerance for flingin’ resumes at companies and hoping for a win; that kind of activity gives me hives. I think we get better results (or results that require fewer over the counter antihistamines) if we slow down, take some time to think, and position ourselves for the win. I like to be aware of potential train wrecks in order to successfully avoid them. I make a practice of listening attentively. (practice means I am not always successful)
I sell people to people in order to make a living. Sounds ugly, but it is true. Essentially I play poker for a living. I like to stack the deck in my favor whenever possible. That means I ask a little more of both the companies and candidates I represent. I work hard to make better matches and attempt to avoid wasting as much time (yours and mine) as possible.
My goal is to create a higher amount of win for all involved (yes, that includes me).
It takes a little more effort, a lot more courage, and as always, a commitment to be aware, to care, and to do my very best.
The results are usually worth it.
I wrote this awhile ago, it still rings true for me:
What I do for a living is amazing. We headhunters are the envoys of employment, the captains of commerce, the of potentates of potential!! We help our clients accomplish their challenging goals by finding and securing for them the talent they need to succeed.
It really is a beautiful thing, man.
I’ve been feeling especially reflective because I am heading into my 6th year of being in business for myself. I’ve been a recruiter for wow, 18 years, I can barely believe that. I know many people have been doing this longer, but honestly, this is the longest time I’ve done anything in my life. As a recruiter I have always been a one man band, or working for a tiny little firm. I’ve never been inside. I’ve always run a full desk. For the last 18 years it has been me and my telephone carving out a living out of the shifting sands of business. I am humbled and amazed every single day.
In my mind, recruiting and self-employment combine to provide me with a unique opportunity for personal development. I get to face my fears and figure out how to pay my mortgage each month. Those things are very related. As a mostly contingency recruiter, no one pays me nuthin’ unless I make the placement. That can be daunting in itself, but really what I look at every day is how very little we really control.
We sell people to people. Think about it. There are a ton of variables in that equation and, for me, only by stacking the deck in my favor as much as possible, and only by keeping my head on straight can I manage the uncertainty.
I try to limit my clients to those who want my level of detail, positioning and advocacy. If they want someone who doesn’t ask questions, I am not their girl. If they want someone content to fling volumes of resumes without needing feedback, I am not their girl. If they want someone who must step out of the picture and abandon candidates to an internal process I am most likely not their girl, though I can be flexible as far as process goes. I took yoga to get super bendy for my clients, but there are limits to my flex. If they want the cheapest girl in town, well…no.
If they want someone who can find and enthuse excellent talent and smooth the process by ferreting out and preventing potential trainwrecks on both sides, thus resulting in a smooth and happy close, well that is my happy place.
I make a point of congruence in what I say and what I do. I strive to treat people like human beings (on both sides of the employment equation) and I think what we do is important. I am not perfect by any means. I screw up, I get pissy, I take things personally sometimes (But I am a heckuva lot better at that than I used to be). I think this business requires a rigorous program of self-honesty, a willingness to look at things as they are (instead of what we wish they were), and a determination to do it better today than yesterday, while also striving to be gentle to myself and others.
This is why I have a meditation practice and I am not kidding about that. Training my brain may be the single most important thing I have ever done for my desk.
I have a few slogans I have collected over the years that keep me on track and up my mental game. I use most of the in the personal and professional development training I do for folks in and outside of recruiting:
- Nothing is real until it is and then not until the check clears.
- Anybody is capable of anything at any time (Including me. That includes really awesome and not so much)
- Don’t assume anything. Probe the obvious to avoid trainwrecks.
- If it was easy everyone would do it.
- It is never as good or as bad as it seems.
- Do the thing you dread first.
- Smooth seas do not a skillful sailor make.
- Manage your ups and your downs.
- Step up and do the difficult thing, you’ll stand out.
- Don’t expect applause.
- Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
- Winning means cashing the check.
- Not everyone plays by your rules.
- Communication is the best lubricant.
- Be granular in all things.
- Manage expectations to get to the close.
- In sales positioning is what it is all about, and often we position on screens using pixels of persuasion.
- Too much freedom can feel like a prison.
- Life happens on life’s terms, not on your terms.
- Doing business with friends and family is always more complicated.
- It is what it is. (It always is)
- Mind Your Mind.
- Don’t postpone joy.