What makes someone an “athlete”?
This question randomly came up in a recent conversation with a friend. When she responded, her answers were purely physical, “Someone strong, someone [muscularly] built”. Her definition of an “athlete” centered around physical capabilities.
Google the word “athlete” and you get a slew of dictionary-term definitions — a person who is trained or skilled in exercise, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility or stamina. By this definition, I grew up — and am — an “athlete”. I played competitive water polo, ranked nationally as a swimmer, and continue to push my physical limits.
However, when my friend flipped the question back to me, I found I have completely different take on being an “athlete”. To me, being an athlete is about one’s mindset, not physical capabilities.
Being an athlete is:
- Striving for constant improvement. Kaizen.
- Knowing that there will be days/weeks/months that suck but pushing through it anyway
- Knowing that setbacks are just that
- Taking one step backwards to take two forward
- Showing consistency and perseverance.
If you have ever done any hiring or recruiting, I’d be willing to bet you have been told to “hire the best athlete”. But, what does this mean?
“Hiring the best athlete” does not mean that you should go look for D1 football players, Boston Marathon runners, or the next Serena Williams. The underlying common trait that these world-class athletes possess, after the super-human genetics that bless them, is that they all have that mindset that sets their drive… their driving motivators.
When you’re told to “hire the best athlete”, hire the ones with the intangibles listed above.
… Then tell them to flex so hard that their sleeves fall off. 😉
There is a “lightbulb” moment for every recruiter when their hiring leaders truly partner with them. It doesn’t happen often enough (unfortunately), but it does happen. And, when it does, we want those leaders to know that we are grateful for your collaboration with our efforts. Together, we can accomplish so much!
I am proud to be a part of a company where every one of my hiring leaders puts hiring as a priority, and sees recruiting as an extension of their own business units. Recruiting is more than just filling seats. It’s finding the best person, with the best skill set, and the best attitude for that seat. It’s finding what works, not only, for the candidate but for the hiring leader. It’s finding that beautiful match.
That being said, to all you hiring leaders who partner with your recruiting team…
Hiring Managers, this post is for you.
As your recruiter, my job is to help you hire your perfect candidate. My job is to understand your group’s weaknesses, faults, and areas that you need to improve upon. My job is to help you fill the gaps and inconsistencies. My job is to help you. I have said it a couple of times in previous posts, “help me, help you”. We work as a partnership. We need to be friends and each others’ most critical colleague.
In my career as a Corporate Recruiter, I have come across different Hiring Manager types:
- The “Helper”. In my opinion, this is the best type of Hiring Manager to work with. This is the one who wants to help the Recruiter do their job. Responding to emails, answering calls, providing feedback, being readily available for interviews… all in a timely manner.
- The “Do It For Me”. This is the Hiring Manager who thinks that the perfect hire comes without work. That they will just appear. Typical behavior of this Hiring Manager is a “do what you want with the candidate” attitude. Everything is done … albeit, slowly, and at their availability.
- The “Ghost”. This Hiring Manager is the hardest to work with. They are the ones who never respond to emails, calls, text messages. They don’t provide feedback on candidate resumes, interviews, or questions about their open positions. They are the ones who get angry at you for not filling their position three weeks ago, when you otherwise hadn’t heard a peep from them.
Each profile has their pros/cons, as with everything in life. But as YOUR Recruiter, here are some suggestions on how to work with the ones who are trying to hire for you:
- Be responsive. All the time, on time. We work hard for you. We cold call, research (some call it “career stalk”!) candidates, extensively screen candidates for tough information (ie: salary and compensation structure, reasons for leaving, what they hate about their current position). We spend a LOT of time trying to find the best candidate for you. Please respond timely to emails/phone calls. Your company’s Candidate Experience relies on it also.
- Provide feedback. Did I send you a candidate profile that wasn’t a good fit? Tell me why. Was it his personality? Was he missing a programming language? Did he not show up to the interview? Wrong background? Too tenured, too junior? The more feedback we get from you, the more refined our search becomes for your perfect hire.
- Accept interviews. We understand you are busy doing your “real” job… the one your title suggests. But, to build out your team, you will need to accept interviews at odd hours (sometimes after 5pm). If you don’t make time to interview these candidates, how can we get to the point of extending an offer? Bottlenecks are not good.
- Be open minded. No candidate (and I repeat … no candidate) that is 100% what you are looking for. Be open, and willing, to think outside the box. You never know who may surprise you, and with what.
As always… chin up, head down! Work hard, stay humble.