Doris’s Story

Apr 14, 2008

I have had the honor to work with a woman named Doris, who is 70+ year’s young (she’s not counting anymore)! Doris continues to work full time, “sourcing” 6+ hours a day. Now when I say sourcing, I don’t mean what most people define as “sourcing” today (scouring websites, advanced internet sourcing, emailing candidates, etc.). I mean actually picking up the phone and calling a person about a new job opportunity.

As we all know, there are two parts to sourcing:

– Name/prospect generation – identifying a qualified person with a certain set of skills
— Candidate Development – Making contact, developing a rapport, and soliciting interest.

Most discussions (and hype) I have seen lately on the topic of sourcing have been around the name/prospect generation. And rightfully so! If you don’t have a prospect, you can’t turn them into a candidate. Guys like Shally Steckerl are innovating how we all identify new prospects and driving us into the new age of “sourcing.”

But a prospect is just that; a prospect. A candidate is someone that is qualified and INTERESTED in an opportunity. Prospects are turned into candidates during the Candidate Development Process!

To me, Candidate Development is probably the true “art” of sourcing. Don’t get me wrong, while it takes a ton of creativity to identify prospects (also an “art”), I have found that many folks work on that part of their recruiting game a lot more than they do the Candidate Development piece.

Kinda like golfers. They go to the range and spend 80% of their practice time on getting off the tee. Little to no time is spent practicing how to get out of the sandtrap and/or making a 5 foot putt (half their strokes!).

Back to Doris’s story –

Doris actually spends 6+ hours a day making outbound calls (not hiding behind email) to people discussing/pitching new career opportunities. Now I have been recruiting for over 19 years and have always prided myself as a person that had the stamina to “pound the phones” with the best of them; but . . . 6+ hours a day? Day in and day out? I would say that is “Tiger Woods-ish” for our industry! I am humbled and amazed at her tenacity and stamina.

Each day, she gets up and starts recruiting candidates (other folks do name generation for her), promptly at 7:00 a.m. About 4 years ago, after observing her routine for over 3 years, I asked:

“How do you stay motivated? How do you stay fresh? How come you haven’t burned out after all these years?”

Her answer:

“David, I truly love what I do. I get to spend all day talking to interesting people. They become my friends and I often get the opportunity to find them new positions that they are truly grateful for. I enjoy finding that one person for a position that has been open for a long time. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. It is a lot of fun. I actually get a chance to positively affect people’s lives on a daily basis.”

Doris is not COLD CALLING, RAIDING THE COMPETITION, POACHING, or STEALING TALENT… Doris is changing people’s lives!

Think about it . . . If you have been recruiting for any length of time, I am sure you have recruited one person (or hundreds of people) to your organization (or your client’s), that is truly grateful for the experience you have provided them and their family. I am sure you developed life long friendships during this process. You have seen some of your “placements” move up an organization and turn into executives. You have brought families back together. You relocated families to a better lifestyle.

It is truly why I love recruiting more than sales (I am a sales guy at heart). It is the only sales job where you are not actually “selling” anything. You are “offering” something!

Now it is tough not to get caught up in the negative aspect of outbound solicitation. Heck – I fall into that trap all the time!

In this era of anti-spam, anti-solicitation, anti-social society, people often perceive the act of candidate develop as “cold calling.” In a general sense, yes, it might actually be a “cold call” because the person is not expecting your call; but again . . . you are not selling anything, you are offering something!

But, as Doris has reminded me time and again, we are not SELLING anything. We are helping others; we are networking with folks to help others; we are CHANGING people’s lives!

Tip for the day: Put a sign up in your cube/office/break room stating/asking, “Did you positively change someone’s life today?” Next time you get on the phone, do you truly have that mindset?

Not only will it make your sourcing efforts much more productive, it will make it a lot more rewarding!

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