Guess What? It’s not about technology at all. It’s about connectivity!

Recruitment and staffing has been around a long time. And I have had the fortune to witness its evolution for almost 30 years. I have worked in many countries and recruited across many sectors.

And guess what I have learned.

The more things change… the more they stay the same!

It was not that long ago that if you walked into a successful recruitment office, every person you saw was on the phone. And why not? There was no computer to tap away on. There was no e-mail to compile. There was no resume to adjust. If you were not on the phone, you stuck out like a sore thumb, because there was nothing else to do.

Walk into some consulting offices now, and it’s like walking into an old-fashioned typing pool! Everybody on the keyboard. The phones silent and unused.

Technology has transformed our lives of course, and we need to embrace it, use it and profit from it. But there is a danger we are seduced by technology, such as email, PM, and texting, to the point where we give away the biggest advantage we have – that being the power to control the outcomes of our interaction with clients and talent.

And in fact its controlling outcomes, though connectivity, that will determine the successful recruiters in today’s market.

Now here is the real point. In my opinion, sending an email is a missed opportunity 5 times out of 10. It’s also supremely unproductive.

Recruiting is about relationships. Selling is about hunting, listening, empathising, influencing, persuading and consummating. Email is bland, annoying and often not read by our clients who are all suffering from IBFS (In-Box Fatigue Syndrome).

Don’t misunderstand me on this please. Technology has incredible application and I obviously use it all the time. You are reading my blog after all. BUT I keep asking myself “what outcome am I trying to achieve, and am I more likely to achieve it by phone or face to face?”

Our job is about compelling people to action. A great recruiter is focused on creating outcomes and facilitating decisions. Email does not do that. Your job is about selling, understanding and building trust. Email does not do that.

OK lets get real on this. How often does it happen that you call a client to check on a temp you placed? Almost as an afterthought you ask, “ Are you busy at the moment Mr Client”? . And so a conversation develops, and by the time you put down the phone you have picked up a perm order, extended the temp assignment, or learned that a big acquisition is about to happen which will lead to new opportunities for you. An email asking how your temp is performing will at best get an e-mail reply saying, “fine”. Where is the value there?

Success in recruitment is about connecting – technology is an enabler. If you want to compete effectively as a recruiter today, make sure you talk to clients and candidates on every possible occasion. Ask questions, listen actively, provide insights, and solve problems.

Challenge people in your office. Challenge yourself. Why send email? Give your talent a call. Go and see your client now. Get out of your seat and go and talk to your colleague in the team across the room about a shared client. Don’t send an email!

Use your intellect and your personality to interact with clients, not your mouse.

People sometimes tell me “But my clients like to interact via email”. That is a cop out. Yes of course sometimes a quick email is appropriate. But pick what to communicate in what way. If we have built a relationship with our client or talent as a trusted advisor, they will want to talk to us!

Instead of sending 30 emails a day – have 10 meaningful conversations and three targeted meetings with potential customers. See your billings rise, along with the fun you get from your role.

About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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4 Responses to Guess What? It’s not about technology at all. It’s about connectivity!

  1. @jerry_albright December 1, 2009 at 1:10 am #

    Possibly one of the most accurate posts on the entire subject. Being somewhat connected to thousands of people does not necessarily equate to having a productive desk in recruiting. You MUST be able to move those relationships to action.

    Well stated Greg.

  2. Alconcalcia May 24, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    I think the automated phone system has a lot to answer for if you’ll excuse the pun. i remember when the company I was working for at the time had a new system installed and we had training about how to record an away message, set the phone to divert, put it on do not disturb etc. etc. I thought to myself that this isn’t actually progress and I still struggle to see that it is. “Press one for sales, two for accounts, three for IT, four for blah blah blah, five for etc. etc. etc.” no one really wants to hear that when they make a call. They want to talk to a real live person, yet we have to a great extent become a world of leaving messages, sending emails and texting people, rather than actually speaking directly to them…and often when we do, we are so wound up after having had to go through the automated maze in order to get hold of someone that we come across as being tetchy, impatient bar stewards. If that’s progress, I’m a Chinaman!

  3. Tracy Clancy May 25, 2010 at 1:08 am #

    RE: Walk into some consulting offices now, and it’s like walking into an old-fashioned typing pool! Everybody on the keyboard. The phones silent and unused.

    here here Greg!

    get off the keyboard and get on the phone!

  4. Rowan Price May 7, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    The hallmark of a good advice/idea post is that it applies across multiple industries. This post seems obvious for recruiting, which I know little about, but could easily be applied to technology consulting, which I know a little bit more about. I love Basecamp, Highrise, Salesforce, Gmail, etc., but the best tool of all for a technology consultant is picking up the phone and talking to the client. It’s not the only tool, and sometimes email is a better one, but it’s a pretty important part of anyone’s arsenal for building client relationships. I think CRMs should figure out a way to reflect this reality in their design.

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