May 25, 2005

On patterns

I've always believed that recognizing patterns is the key to growth in life. And being in HR, behavioral patterns are always up for analyzing. (In fact patterns replicate not just in human beings but in nature also...but that's another story)

So it was a delight to read this post by James Durbin on on what makes him a great recruiter.

How can I say this? Because recruiting is an art, not a science. I do a lot of my own recruiting, and contrary to the praise I get about my "knowledge" of the tech industry from clients and candidates, I actually have very little technical knowledge. On any given subject, with study, I have maybe 5% of what is needed to do the job. So how do I discern who can do the job and who is blowing smoke?
Patterns. I recognize patterns in the way that people write resumes and e-mails. I recognize patterns in how they leave messages, who they call, what questions, they ask, and how they explain what they do. After scrutinizing tens of thousands of resumes, thousands of candidates, calling on a thousand businesses, walking into 300 of them, and working with over 100 clients, I see the Matrix.
This is what good recruiters do. They listen to managers and candidates all day talking about personal and professional issues that affect how they do their job. The best ones have a way of describing what they do that is specific, tailored to the task at hand, and avoids vague phrases that are meant to convince the listener that expertise is in the room.
Competent people sound the same. There is a similarity in the programmer telling me how she built a thin-client Java application in a Websphere environment and the mechanic telling me how he rebuilt the engine of a 1968 Ford Mustang. Understanding this and applying it to the job search is the only key I've found to consistent recruiting excellence.
When you learn to listen, and you add a couple thousand people to the mix, you'll learn that we are often all the same - differentiated by what we do, but strangely similar in how we talk about it.

I think it's a profound post...and shows you that Jim really passionately lives his job ! Which is the most important thing opposed to loving the job.