30 Years of Headhunting
This month, I will be celebrating 30 years in the executive search business, and 20 years with BOB Search. I dispense a lot of (so-called) “wisdom” – or at least pontificate extensively – but have I learned anything? YES! I really relish the opportunity to learn, and appreciate learning very much. Here’s a few things I’ve learned over 30 years:
- Recruiting is fun. The recruiting game is exciting and different every day. You get to deal with new, different, interesting people every day. Every situation can surprise you.
- Recruiting is hard work. Figuring out whether a company, job and person actually fit is hard to do. You can’t phone it in. No cruise-control days in this business.
- Recruiting is a collaborative process. You must always be on your client’s side (the employer), on the candidate’s side, and achieve a Win-Win-Win scenario in each engagement. I try to picture my arm around the shoulder of whoever I’m talking to, in an advocacy posture, so that whatever I’m saying is good for the person I’m speaking with.
- Recruiting carries a lot of responsibility. You will be changing the candidate’s life, and hopefully impacting the employer’s bottom line.
- Truth will be revealed in increments. Candidates regularly hold their cards close to the vest, and so do employers. As rapport and trust increases, an increasing amount of truth is revealed. Many times the info withheld is really important! So, I try to develop rapport and trust ASAP.
- On the other hand, people say the darndest things. Some people will reveal so much truth, you can cringe sometimes.
- Recruiting is hard to train. I’ve had lots of people work for me. There is a natural combination of skills (integrity, extroversion, persuasion, logic, intuition, observational ability) that is required to do this job well. Technique can be taught, but the basic profile of a recruiter – either you got it or you ain’t.
- Social media and modern communications have changed recruiting. Used to be everything had to be done by phone. Now, candidates and even employers are often more responsive by e-mail and will sometimes initiate new relationships via LinkedIn more readily than by phone.
- LAST BUT NOT LEAST: My team means the world to me. I work with the best people, and I appreciate them every day.
There are probably really poignant and touching memories I’ve left out, but that’s age for you. I look forward to continue to learn, and to celebrating more anniversaries in this business!