Sometime this morning, between my first blissful cup of Monday morning coffee and checking my voicemails from the weekend I received some interesting news from my very best client. They were putting together an offer for one of my candidates…huzzah.
But that’s certainly not the interesting part. No, the interesting part was that they were coming in at approximately $20,000 under the salary I had presented my candidate at. As a reminder…it’s only Monday. The good news/bad news part of my week shouldn’t have started yet. A bit puzzled, I gave my candidate a call to touch base. Were all the figures we had discussed correct? Had my candidate suddenly dropped his salary requirement by $20K? They were. And he did. (sigh)
When you start off in this business, there are some things that come with time, and some things that you learn straight off. One of those basics is the fine art of locking down a candidate. Oh sure, with time there is some pizzazz and polish that gets added to your repertoire of recruiting skills, but locking down a candidate is one of those basics that you learn day one and never forget…isn’t it?
With my morning’s debacle straightened out and the placement buttoned up nicely, I took some time to think about how and why the placement (and my reputation with my client) had been put at risk. The obvious answer? I hadn’t locked down my candidate. Granted he apparently got a little desperate or excited during the interview, but it’s something I could have and should have prepared for. Going over the conversations with my candidate I realized that I had picked up some fantastic skills over the years. I knew from the first two minutes that he was perfect for the job, perfect for my client and thus, a slam dunk for me. We’d met in person, discussed the role several times, prepped for the interviews, honed the resume and basically blew the interview out of the water. But I had ignored some of the basics. I hadn’t drilled down into that salary requirement quite enough.
As you spend some time in this business you gain some valuable skills of perception, communication and nuance. But as a professional, you still need to spend time focusing on the basics and learning your trade. Realtors, electricians, doctors, attorneys…they’re all required to take further education courses and continue growing and training as a professional, so why shouldn’t we? Professional development is the cornerstone of any successful career, be it recruiting, medicine, sales or teaching. But in the case of recruiting, it’s a bit more complicated. Much of what makes recruiters good at what they do is an intangible quality of insight and observation…not always a quality one can teach. To make the equation even more complicated, recruiters are primarily self-directed in both their day-to-day work as well as their own professional development. As with so many things in the world of professional recruiting, it falls on the individual to ensure their own success.
Continuing to take a hard look at yourself on a regular basis is a vital part of being a true professional. That means capitalizing on those skills that make you successful and working on those that don’t. Perhaps your weakness, like mine, is that you move too quickly when you know you have the right candidate. Maybe it’s not keeping up with new recruiting trends like social media. But whatever your particular rough spot as a professional, you owe it to yourself to identify and work on it…though you don’t necessarily have to engage in brutal honesty and then go posting it online for your colleagues. (Oops!) Happy Headhunting!