Insights into the forces shaping our industry.
By Ted Konnerth
Recruiters are a diverse lot. There are some bad recruiters just as there are bad cops, bad priests, bad teachers and bad doctors. But a few bad people shouldn’t besmirch an entire profession. Recruiting is perceived as an easy-entry business, with very low barriers to entry and potential high earnings, so it attracts a breadth of people; mostly good people.
At a recent gathering of global search firm owners, I was struck by a comment that one owner made… that he recruits generous people as his recruiters. Of all of the skills that high performing recruiters require; intellect, tenacity, empathy and resilience, ‘generosity’ struck a chord for me. The one thing about recruiting that has always interested me is the ability to help people. There is nothing negative about what we do; despite being painted by a broad brush; poisoned by some bad practitioners.
Recruiting has 2 impacts; help our clients attract employees and leaders who will help the company grow and prosper and help qualified and talented people expand their careers. Our services have to be conducted with absolute confidentiality and the utmost professionalism. And then there’s generous.
According to Wharton Professor Adam Grant, ‘Givers’ are the most likely people to succeed. In his book “Give and Take – A revolutionary Approach to Success” he argues that true Givers who help others unconditionally are predictably more successful than Matchers, who only help others who have helped them or Takers who ask for help but rarely offer help*.
In evolutionary theory, altruism is a rarely demonstrated trait in the natural world. In the most extreme example, you can’t pass along your genes to the next generation if you lose your life helping others, so it’s a rare occurrence that animals behave with true altruism; including humans. True altruists tend to be deeply faithful people; Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Buddha, etc. but then there are Givers who rise to extreme generosity; e.g. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and the other billionaires they’ve recruited to pledge to give away their fortunes to their charity of choice. Generosity carries forward powerful benefits to the Giver. Seeing the benefits of your wealth distributed across philanthropic endeavors around the world, is very rewarding.
Successful recruiters tend to have the shared philosophy of recruiting for the giver aspects of our trade; not strictly ‘for the money’. We regularly receive calls or letters or thank you cards from people we’ve helped to better their lives. Those responses are still a thrill to receive. And it’s a thrill to us, because we are inherently generous. We’re generous with our time with candidates we can’t help, or clients who need our expertise to figure out what they need to help them grow. Our approach has always been consultative, not transactional. We help our clients and candidates; often without expecting compensation for our time.
As we enter that time of the year to reflect on the good fortunes we’ve found and in light of the terrible and terrifying events of the world, we give thanks: to our clients, our candidates, our friends and our loved ones. And we contribute to our personal charities as a show of generosity; because we are so thankful… and we care.