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Confessions of a Generationally Confused Recruiter

OK, OK, it may not be en vogue to say it out loud, but I’m 43 years old. A typical girl of the 80’s who survived the days of Aqua Net, leg warmers, and losing my babysitting money by pumping quarters into the closest Pac Man game. That statement, however, comes with one caveat. In my mind I’m convinced I’m still 25. Thinking this way can have its plusses and minuses. While my teenager is convinced I was never his age and am one step away from the retirement home, I try to prove him wrong through my understanding of how Snap Chat works, knowing who is leading the AFC East, and being able to sing all of the words to One Republic’s Counting Stars.

I could never be an effective recruiter without embracing today’s generation and new technology. When I was a recent college graduate, one differentiated themselves from the rest by printing their resumes on expensive, oddly colored paper. Oh, and who could forget my business suit with shoulder pads that could double as protective gear in the before mentioned AFC East. Today, I wouldn’t know what to do with a paper resume if you gave me one, my Applicant Tracking System is my life line, and I’d rather have you take my pinky finger vs. my social media access. We can work around the clock while staying connected globally. We are all around quicker, faster, and more productive thanks to technology.

In the days of flash and bling, it’s easy to run towards the newest tools while leaving some of the basics of doing business behind. I was reminded about this over the weekend. While flicking TV channels, I found Jerry Maguire. It’s a great movie and many remember it through famous quotes: “The human head weighs 10 pounds”, “SHOW ME THE MONEY”, and “You complete me” (swoon – but I digress). I had, however, completely forgotten about Dicky Fox. Jerry had grown to be a fast talking sports agent, valuing style over substance. As the movie rolls, we see Jerry receive much needed reminders through a series of flashbacks from his mentor, Dicky. These nuggets are applicable to all of us, regardless of function, but rang especially true to me as a corporate recruiter. For those of you who can view You Tube under your company firewall, here you go:


I have a few favorites in there:

"The key to this business is personal relationships." I feel that recruiters fall back on emails or texts as a way to reach out to potential candidates. Granted, they are great ways to contact many people the quickest way possible. These tools are invaluable, but they shouldn’t be your only ones. If I had one piece of advice for new recruiters it’s to PICK UP THE PHONE. You can learn so much more about a candidate via a 30 minute phone discussion versus corresponding in writing. Short questionnaires are great, but they can’t take the place of actually speaking to someone. Don’t be afraid of the dreaded cold call or to really dig deep about a candidate’s motivation for looking for a new job. Go out on a limb and let your personality shine so that you are remembered. Think of it as corporate speed dating J. I know…we are all busy, but I promise it’s worth the time. How else can we create a book of prospective clients for current and future roles?

"Unless you love everybody, you can't sell anybody." I started my career in Customer Service for a plastics company where many times I had to have difficult conversations with customers (alright, you caught me, it’s the one I interviewed for in my linebacker business suit). I once took a customer service course where the trainer gave us a tip of actually smiling before picking up the phone and engaging with the client. As hokey as it seems, the idea is that if you are happy and smiling, it can be felt on the other side of the line, resulting in a positive experience. I use this tip every single day.

As I move forward, my goal is to effectively recruit with a foot in each generation, taking the best pieces from each. I’ll leave you with my favorite quote of the bunch: "Hey... I don’t have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I have failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my life. I love my wife. And I wish you my kind of success." ~ Dicky Fox

This blog was written by Mary Connery. Upon earning a Bachelor’s Degree from Siena College in Loudenville, NY, Mary began her career with a global plastics company where she held progressive roles in Customer Service, Sales, Training, and Human Resources. After taking some time off to welcome her two sons, Mike (12) and Tim (11), she joined Yoh HR Solutions. She’s been a member of the Yoh team for 10 years, primarily supporting the staffing and recruiting efforts for the Commercial and Supply Chain organizations of the Innovative Plastics division of SABIC. Mary resides in Charlotte, NC

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