Talent Acquisition

10 Phrases Every Recruiter Ought to Know

“Just because it is trite, does not mean it is not true.”

That is just one of the many pithy sayings I pull out of the woodwork. As Rodney Dangerfield said, “Honey, I got a million of ‘em”.

The staffing business has changed since I started in 1998 – when I first began, email was pretty new (as was the World Wide Web). COBOL was as hot as Too Close by Next. The guts of the staffing game have not changed at all. It doesn’t matter if you are behind a wheel of a Model T or the super-hot New Tesla car, you’re driving. In Staffing, it doesn’t matter if you are calling off a list your boss bought or InMailing via LinkedIn, what you are doing is Head Hunting.

With that in mind I have a ton of stories, sayings, aphorisms, yarns, anecdotes, proverbs, dictums, and, even, maybe some axioms! I am going to limit myself to just 10. If I stole something from somewhere, let me know – I’ll give credit where credit is due, but I have repeated these things so many times, their source has often vanished into the ether. So, without further ado:

  1. The young salesperson says to the older salesperson, “I brought my client to the water but I could not make him drink”. The older salesperson replies, “Kid, your job isn’t to make him drink, it’s to make him thirsty!” – Sell the Sizzle, not the Steak!
  2. An Egyptian Pharaoh says to his advisers: “Can you make me something that will make me feel sad when I am happy but happy when I am sad? A mood balancer, a pre-historic Xanax, maybe?” The advisers thought and thought and thought. They gave him a perfect circlet of gold, and inside it was written: “This Too Shall Pass”. This business has a lot of ups and downs – know that and don’t get too excited to too disappointed.
  3. My first boss had three acronyms above his desk in picture frames. Each one was bold faced black lettering on a pure white background. CTFM, STFR and JFDI. Call the fucking manager, Send the Fucking Resume and Just Fucking Do It.
  4. Princess Leia to Grand Moff Tarkin: “The more you tighten your grip Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers”. Don’t hard sell your clients or candidates. Be a benevolent despot at your worst and a trusted adviser at best.
  5. “Just because something hasn’t been, doesn’t mean it cannot be”Chairman Mao I think that sums it up. Keep at it, work hard and it will happen
  6. “Opportunity is missed by most, because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”Thomas Edison. This is for you, as a staffing agent, and a great line with candidates
  7. 100% of Zero is still Zero. Be Flexible to make placements and deals! Work, share and split. You’ll never place everything so place what you can. Profit isn’t a dirty word. (There are dirty ways to make a profit but that’s a whole other article)
  8. With that in mind, “When in doubt, send it out!”. This is very different then “Throw shit against the wall and hope something sticks”, another saying bandied about all too often in our field. If a client has a poor job spec, either not clear or just not possible, you still need to send a resume. However, send a good candidate, who is great and can do the job even if the skills aren’t a perfect match and then create a dialogue. Explain why you sent them, why they can do the job even if they are missing Skill #X. Get them in front of the manager if you can. This goes both from a salesperson pitching the person to a Hiring Manager to a recruiter pushing a resume on an internal sales manager. Have a background story and answers to all the “Whys?”. At the very least, you’ll learn enough to tighten your search. Best case, an interview you might never have had!
  9. “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”-Another favorite of an old boss. I guess he didn’t know Marshall McLuhan’s, “The medium is the message”. Language and word choice is so important for people like you and I spending hours on the phone each day. Positive words, reinforcement, and encouragement can make or break a dialogue. Positivism and Enthusiasm are contagious.
  10. “You always need to listen”– Man, this is so true on so many levels. Everything you’ll need to make a placement (or the fact that it will NEVER happen) will be said at some point in the process. Listen for what’s being said, not what you want to hear. I have much difficulty with this personally, but it works. On a whole other level, I say this to candidates all the time. You need to hear what is out there even if you have an amazing job. At the very least, You need to know what your peers are earning and doing.

I don’t think there has been anything original in the world in a very long time. We just build on all things that have occurred before to create new and better things. They aren’t that original though. All of the above are old and well used. It doesn’t mean they aren’t true.

By Jeffrey Newman

Jeff Newman a.k.a. The People's Recruiter, has been a Full Life Cycle IT Recruiter and Full Desk Placement expert for over 14 years. He prides himself on always making sure that what he is offering a candidate is an Opportunity and not just another job. He is a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Mobiquity. Watch Jeff live on stage: "Recruiters: The Good, The Bad, and the Devious."