The barista with the best recruiter talent I have ever seen.

The barista with the best recruiter talent I have ever seen

For about 5 years I worked out of a great office in Pitt Street, Sydney, when I was running Aquent and Firebrand Talent Search.

I admit I am a coffee drinker. It’s my biggest vice (and I have substantial portfolio of those!).

So at least two, maybe three times a day, I would need a hit from Pronto, the coffee shop below our office.

And unless I could cajole, bully or bribe Carolyn Hyams or Jenny Gottlieb to get it for me, that meant me nipping downstairs and putting in my order with the friendly crew.

In 2012 I sold Firebrand and moved away from the Pitt Street end of town.

So for 5 years I have not been into Pronto. Until last week.

I was striding past, fancied a caffeine hit, and in I strolled, with no expectation of recognising anyone who worked there now.

How wrong I was.

Hello Greg”, came the cheerful cry.

There was David, the owner (I had forgotten his name of course, but his face and his persona were instantly recognisable)

Flat white, no sugar isn’t it?”

I was gobsmacked! I had not been there for 5 years, and this place must serve a thousand people a day. And he remembers my name, and my order?

We chatted. I had to ask for his name. He was unfazed.

But it gets better.

How is your sons’ cricket going?” he said. Had we even discussed that? All those years and coffees ago? “Fast bowler, isn’t he?” Correct

Is he enjoying XXXX School” David continued with a smile, correctly mentioning the school my son attends.

We chatted some more, and I left with a handshake and great coffee.

But I also left reflecting on what a great talent David has. I remembered now that he had always greeted his customers by name. But I was a five-year lapsed customer!

I wrote recently of ‘Generation C’ having the talent to make people ‘feel special’, and I admit right now, that I left that coffee shop on a high.

Great recruiters do what David does. They take enough interest to remember. Years ago I wrote about my mate, Graham Whelan, the greatest recruiter I ever met, as having an incredible memory for people and their lives.

The ugly side of technology is that it has dumbed recruitment down. It has weakened the human skills, which made being great recruiters so special. So many recruiters today hide behind technology, and avoid real interaction.

And I am a firm believer that the more technology we see in the workplace, the more complex it gets, the greater will become the need for human intervention. (Insurance company ‘help’ line, with an automated voice anyone?)

I also remembered as I walked away, that David, a full-on Aussie now, was originally from Myanmar (we had chatted at length years ago about this, because I visited Myanmar with family at the time). I paused to reflect on what I had learned about the attitude of immigrants in business and in life. David is a living embodiment of this.

David I salute you.

Recruiters, including me, take heed.

There is nothing sweeter to the human ear than the sound of your own name.

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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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10 Responses to The barista with the best recruiter talent I have ever seen

  1. Jim Roy March 7, 2017 at 9:12 am #

    Nothing used to impress an candidate more than taking their call (of course) and recalling their suburb, employer and in Melbourne their footy team (with appropriate ladder / finals comment) instant rapport!

  2. Michael Taplin March 7, 2017 at 11:17 am #

    Something I have worked on for years Greg and will continue to try and work on – I know it is crucial in any environment however I have found it to be the best branding tool in a regional recruitment setting. People value relationships more than anything; if you can genuinely take an interest in a candidate or client’s life and make them feel valued then it builds relationships that you don’t even know exist – the referral system in a small regional town is incredible!
    Enjoyed the read, keep them coming.

  3. Francesca March 7, 2017 at 11:55 am #

    Great story. Even Kristen forgot how you take your coffee after decades of working with you!!

  4. Leena Bergagnin March 7, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    Brilliant article Greg and an excellent reminder about the importance of genuinely taking an interest in people.

  5. Wesley March 7, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    I bet David follows you on Insta as well 🙂

  6. Chris Sale March 7, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

    I don’t alas have that skill but keeping your database in shape helps. A lot.

    The easiest thing in the world is to not quite get around to recording what it was they said their children were doing yet it’s also so easy to do so! And simple to type in their name as they say “Hi Chris, it’s Fred Smith” to bring up the details. Result; you’ve impressed someone and quite possibly made their day.

  7. Alex Babic March 7, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

    “There is nothing sweeter to the human ear than the sound of your own name”
    I’m remembering that one. Cheers (as usual) Greg.

  8. Joost Kreulen March 8, 2017 at 7:48 am #

    Hi Greg, love the story you shared and even if only half of it is true, I would hire David blind without an interview. The human interface in optima forma, no augmented/artificial intelligence will ever going to beat this! Great story & thanks for sharing. Joost Kreulen, Empresaria group plc

  9. Janette Sullivan March 30, 2017 at 9:33 pm #

    I met a barista like this on a holiday at the Sunshine Coast. He was the owner of the business, but one visit to his shop was enough – he remembered me, my coffee and a few important details. He could cope with seemingly unlimited orders when a whole ocean swimming club arrived at once. He was a rare talent.
    There was a lady behind the counter at our local bottle shop – if we had needed staff at the time I would have seriously considered approaching her based on serving us once. Skills like that are impressive.
    You recognized this talent well.

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