Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Recruiting Super Stars and Also Rans

I got a pleasant surprise the other day when I got a call from Bill Vick, a name well known to the recruiting community for many, many years. Bill was one of those who was well out in front of the learning curve when it came to understanding the care and feeding of the Internet as it applied to the world of recruiting. Self-described as a "Big Biller, Author, Recruiter, Entrepreneur", one of his latest ventures is a site called XtremeRecruiting which is essentially a site of Podcasts Bill is collecting for a book he is getting ready to write.

So, as I said, I got a call from Bill wanting to set up an interview with me. Since I am not a recruiter, I was curious as to why, and was flattered to hear that since he has known of us for many years, and is aware of the relationships we have built with the search community, he thought my perspective might be of some interest to his listeners. He had some interesting questions to ask, one of which was what I thought made the difference between a good recruiter and a great recruiter, in other words, between a "super star" and an "also ran."

As I thought about it, lots of thoughts flashed across my mind, such as: research, segment expertise, presence, interviewing skills, written and verbal communication skills, educated intuition (if there is such a thing) and work ethic and personal ethics among others. But for whatever reason, what came out of my mouth was trust.

Essentially what I told Bill was that for me at least, what made recruiting super stars was not all that different from what differentiates people no matter what their profession - namely, how we perceive the sincerity of the relationship. I told him that the rap on the recruiting world (as he knew far better than I) was that it was transaction oriented, and thus gave it a feel of artificiality so far as the nature of the relationship between the recruiter and the candidate was concerned, and those recruiters who were able to build real relationships were those who became the "big billers." Indeed, it struck me that this was the underlying key to the success of anyone in business, and particularly anyone who was selling a service.

Later on in the day as I reflected back on our conversation (and as all of us are wont to do in terms of beating ourselves up about how we wish we had been better at saying this or that) it crossed by mind that since ExecuNet was founded some 18+ years ago, the majority of our members, both recruiters and executives, still come by referral, and referrals are the result of real relationships.

So I said to myself, "Dave, lighten up, go have a glass of wine." It was a nice way to end the day.

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