Dancing shoes ready:
I am an avid fan of the BBC1 Dance show, Strictly Come Dancing. As a keen intermediate learner of the ballroom and Latin genre, I can critique the celebrities each week, judging their technical ability over flair, substance over style….
Whilst watching this latest series, it dawned on me the parody it has with recruitment and how hiring managers/decision makers should be more like Craig Revel-Horwood…
As recruiters, we often hire our own staff on superficial style over the actual techniques. Let me explain:
As a Rec2Rec, I could easily be bamboozled by recruiters using over indulged jargon and catch phrases- the worst culprits: “engaging with stakeholders”, “devising strategy with my client partners”, and then generalising their achievements with Royal “we” over sales, profit and performance.
I learned very early on in my recruitment career (thanks to impressive training from Bill Boorman) that you don’t accept anyone’s first answer. You probe further- the old school putting your pen down when discussing salary expectations, you can’t expect to get £Xk, and so on…. a bit naff and I would never be that obvious, however, it does ensure that you get to the bottom of someone’s motivators and ability.
Reverting back to the context of Strictly, each week, the performers have to learn, polish and then execute a new dance routine with aplomb, style, finesse and technique.
Len and Bruno are renowned for their “sugar coating” feedback- giving positive responses even to the worst dancers- those who simply can’t demonstrate any rhythm or ability.
In interviews, do you seek out the positives in someone’s experience like them? Can you ignore their cock ups and their proverbial “floppy arms”? Or should you dwell on the negative aspects as Craig is notorious for. Is it a better strategy for finding out someone’s TRUE ability or is it dismissive and not competitive to display such brutal candour?
Have you got the X Factor?
If you are more of an X Factor junkie, (I am certainly not this year, but that is a different conversation all together)- we can compare recruiters to Simon Cowell versus Louis Walsh.
Simon is incredibly honest- he says the things most people are thinking. I am more like Simon- if someone is unsuccessful in an interview, I tell them exactly why. I won’t dress it up to make them feel better- I do gently warn them it is bad news- but what do we gain if I don’t tell them the truth? Mel B is fast becoming my favourite judge for her innate ability to speak the blatant truth regardless of the person’s ego….
I hear so often of recruiters going for interviews through other R2Rs and never hearing back. So obviously, they are a “no” but they never hear why? How does this help anyone learn?
If you prefer to avoid uncomfortable feedback, you could always be a Louis or Cheryl; saying encouraging things and ensuring the person still feels amazing.
Frequently, we see contestants on the XFactor who simply just won’t make it in the celebrity world, either because of lack of ability or lack of stage presence. They have people clearly encouraging them out of misguided love and it saddens me that the same happens in the recruitment world.
All too often I meet recruiters (usually juniors) who simply aren’t good enough, are not enjoying it and have a ill advised group of people suggesting this challenging career path to them.
Be the best you can be!
Life is just too short and precious to embark on a career you a) aren’t naturally good at, regardless of how much training you receive and b) you aren’t enjoying very much.
So, which judge are you most like, or who do you aspire to be like? When you are recruiting for yourself, or on behalf of your clients, do you rub people’s egos like Bruno and Louis, or do you cut to the chase like Craig, Simon and Mel?
Don’t sit on the fence, is my advice. You get splinters and what value to you actually add to the parties involved? Have an opinion and learn to express it tactfully and constructively.
So remember….keep dancing J and stay true to yourself in recruitment.