Mother teaching little unhappy girl to tie her shoes Mother’s Day is fast approaching, meaning millions of people will flock to gift shops and pick out flower and rose arrangements to honor their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, wives and all other women who’ve given birth. Why? Because, these mothers have given something invaluable to their children (and grandchildren), and this special day each May is just one of the many times to recognize that.

Mothers raise and teach their children, often instilling in them wisdom and knowledge the child will keep with him/her throughout the individual’s life. In fact, a “mother’s touch” can ultimately affect the quality of a person’s life, shaping and molding him or her and inevitably influencing his/her character. Yet, did you know this is also true in the recruiting world?

Those same words of wisdom mothers offer over the years can be applied to hiring and managing employees. Check out the following six “what Mom said” phrases and how you can apply them to your recruitment and management processes:

1.  “Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want every Mom in the neighborhood knowing about because we will find out.”

In the small suburb where we lived, the ‘Mom Mafia’ was out in full force. These Moms were hooked up! If you tried to get away with something and one Mom found out – you could count on your Mom being informed. When managing people, the same principle applies. Don’t do or say anything you would be embarrassed for your Mom to hear about, because you never know!

2. “You’re judged by the company you keep.”

Now when Mom said this she was referring to our friends and how their actions could reflect on us. This ‘Mom maxim’ certainly applies to hiring. Every person you hire is a reflection on your judgment of people and your management abilities.

3. “Always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.”

Yes, she actually did say this (as did my grandmother). I apply this to business as being prepared for the unexpected. One of the ways you can get “caught with your pants down” is not having a “talent bench.” You should always be interviewing, even if you don’t have any immediate openings.

4. “That’s how I’d always hoped you would dress.”

I was a “tom-boy” growing up and rarely wore anything other than jeans and t- shirts. When I got my first job at a T.V. station, it was causal dress there as well. But when I went to work at an ad agency I had to buy a whole wardrobe of office clothes. In showing them to my Mom, she got kind of teary eyed and said, “Oh, that’s how I’d always hoped you would dress.” Dressing appropriately was a reoccurring theme with Mom and she was right. If you are managing someone who isn’t doing this, you owe it to that person to tell him or her. Being a manager also means being a mentor, just like Mom was.

5. “Think before you open your mouth/Watch your tone young lady/Who do you think you are talking to?”

Ah, yes, these all fall under the heading of being disrespectful. It’s true that many times we give strangers more respect than we do our family members, because we take them for granted.  I think this can also happen with coworkers. Just as with Mom, we need to watch our tone and think about how what we say will come across to the other person.

6. “How can you find anything in this room – it’s a pig-sty!”

Like a lot of teenagers, my room could get well…gross. My Mother would constantly be on us to clean our rooms and sort things into some kind of an orderly fashion. Being organized in my work has made me much more effective in getting things done. If you manage young workers, one of the greatest tools you can teach them is how to implement an individualized organizational system that works for them.

Want to learn more about how other ‘Mom maxims’ can apply to recruitment? Be on the look out for part 2 of this article.



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