My husband and business partner has been in the staffing and recruiting industry for over 20 years. He’s worked in corporate recruitment and at agencies, he’s been a contract recruiter and now owns his own executive search firm. I was an educator. I taught from first grade up to college until I decided to make a change and come to work for our company full-time as a recruiter. I remember how I would listen to Kendall’s phone screens when he worked from home which helped a lot. I felt comfortable to begin my new career, but understood that there would be a learning curve.

After a few years of recruiting and taking on other responsibilities in the firm, I strengthened my skills and was becoming a successful recruiter. I enjoy continuous learning, so I attend workshops, webinars and networking events to help me keep abreast of the best practices and strategies in recruiting. My most effective learning experience was when I began running with my husband.

He and I will sometimes run in our neighbor or at the high school track. We do sprints, jogs and even run the stadium stairs. One day while running in our neighbor we approached a hill that has quite a steep incline. We had already run about two miles and I was not ready to take the hill. I was tired. He shared that we should run it with everything we had so to not prolong getting up it and it would bring us closer to our goal- finish our work out and get home. We took off! Full speed. Of course being the competitive people we are both of us wanted to get to the top of the hill first. He accomplished that goal first, but I walked away with a great lesson: Approach candidates the way I approach my run.

Take the hills with all my energy! Candidates that are not actively seeking employment are my incline candidates. You can either passively approach them and try to gain their interest or you go at them with a lot of energy. I tend to take a deep breath and run up the hill with candidates that are not looking for a new opportunity. Recruiting the super passive candidate can be a challenge, just like the hills.  I have to not only convince them that the role could be a great career opportunity for them, but most importantly I have to develop a professional relationship with them, so they are willing to trust that I can help them find their next opportunity. This is not always easy or the “fun” part of the job, but it’s worth it. You can secure a quality candidate that can either fill the current position or become a part of your network for future possibilities.

Vary your work out when running! Sometimes you run at a moderate jog and other times you sprint. Varying your workout helps you to not become comfortable and no longer push yourself. Certain candidates return calls immediately while others seem to go into hiding when you need to speak with them. I learned to vary my approach to communicating with candidates. Technology has helped to make communication easier and efficient. Text messages, email, social media and phone calls are a regular part of my day. As I work with each candidate I ask what is the best way to communicate and when. This allows me to keep constant contact, but provides a candidate-focused approach.

In the recruiting industry you are constantly facing change. No matter how organized, efficient or diligent a recruiter you are you will still face hills and possibly stagnation. It is how you approach it that makes all the difference. You can run up a hill slow, conserve your energy and take longer to get to the top or you can give it all you got and get to the top quickly. You can use traditional methods of communication like home phones and email or you can include a variety that will help you expand your reach, and personalize your communications between you and the candidates you are working with. Either way is sufficient because the goal is to make it to the top of every hill and complete your run. As a recruiter my responsibility was to see which was best for me. I like to run the hills as fast and strong as I can. What type of runner are you?

(Originally posted on 9/26/2016)

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