July 25, 2016

It's Not What You Say or Do That Matters Most

Think about a time in your life that still makes you smile and creates a positive feeling.  What caused you to react this way?  Did someone help you?  Did someone say something to make you feel this way? More times than not, you won’t remember exactly what people did or said that caused you to have a great experience.

A childhood friend of mine that works in the hospitality industry preaches this idea every day to his employees:  “People remember how you made them feel more so than what you said.” You may recognize this concept from Maya Angelou-- “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” They’re right. Just as people will remember negative feelings, they also don’t forget the positive experience and feelings.

I’ve since adopted this concept and have incorporated it into my recruiting career.  Recruiters often get a bad reputation because candidates have had negative experiences with a recruiter. As a recruiter, you have twenty, fifty, maybe even hundreds of candidates you’re managing at any given time. However, to the candidate, you are their only point of contact. Sometimes this results in taking too long for feedback, an overall lack of knowledge, or the position suddenly disappeared—the candidate has a negative experience that doesn’t make them feel good while the recruiter doesn’t notice. You have to treat each candidate as a unique individual.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had my own troubling experiences with providing feedback or the job details changed mid-search, but I still attempt to inform people of the changing dynamics as they occur. People and candidates want to know that you are genuinely invested in them and will support them as much as possible.  I attempt to keep the dialogue consistent throughout the process, whether the message is good or bad. 

Over my 10-year career in recruiting, I’ve received sixty-four letters in the mail from candidates thanking me for my time and effort in their recruiting process.  I’ve kept every single one of them.  One even had a coaster included that I keep on my desk and look at every day.  It worked because I will always remember his name.  Some of them are from candidates that didn’t even get the job.  Most of them commented on how they enjoyed the communication and constant updates, even if it was just to say, “we’re delayed a few days” or to deliver frustrating news.

There are things in recruiting that you can’t control, but each day is an opportunity to treat others with respect, authenticity, and kindness. If you take that approach daily, you will have a successful career in the recruiting industry.  It’s the power of personal.

Tags: RPO, #powerofpersonal

Brian Haney

Brian is a Senior Talent Acquisition Manager within the RPO team where he oversees the freelance staffing for an advertising network. He joined TSP in 2008 and enjoys golfing and watching baseball in his spare time. A graduate of Winthrop University, he studied Sociology and Business Administration.

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