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Comment by Ryan Carfley, President & CEO at Personify

Erin Matson, a three-time NCAA Division I Field Hockey Champion at UNC-Chapel Hill, recently wrote an article called “Simple is the New Black.” Erin is widely recognized as the best player in college field hockey today. She was named one of the top ten female athletes in ACC conference history, and Erin’s name is often mentioned in the same breath as fellow UNC alumni Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm. Yep, Erin is that good.

Matson isn’t the biggest, strongest, or fastest player, but she is the best because she never stops pursuing excellence. Her tenacious attitude, work ethic, and relentless actions she takes in pursuit of excellence make her a leader among her peers.

In her article, Erin points out that to excel and be great at what you do, you must master the basics, the “simple, mundane stuff…[and] whether you can handle brutal honesty or not, you’ll never be great if you can’t do that stuff better than everyone else.”

Erin is 1,000% right. Whether you are a house painter, salesperson, surgeon, Division I field hockey player, or a recruiter, you’ll never be the best if you don’t first master the fundamentals. Unfortunately, most people don’t like to spend much time practicing all the “boring stuff,” as Matson puts it. They want to jump to the cool stick tricks without putting in the hard work on the basics. But the great ones don’t cut corners, and they never stop practicing the fundamentals because that’s where greatness lies. Matson’s article got me thinking about the basics required to be a great recruiter; if you want to be among the best, you must master the following recruitment fundamentals:

Skill 1: Strong listening skills. Communication with hiring managers (HMs) and candidates is a critical recruiter skill. For HMs, recruiters need to listen carefully to not just the job qualifications the HM requires but also the ones they desire. This enables recruiters to identify the best possible candidates based on the HM’s actual needs and motivations. When it comes to candidates, recruiters need excellent listening skills to qualify candidates while understanding their “motivations” to ensure a job opening is a good fit. The devil is in the details when you think about something as critical as making a career change. Understanding those details and ensuring the opportunities presented meet or exceed hiring manager and candidate expectations is a critical part of the matchmaking that goes into recruiting. Recruiters must practice and refine these skills every day. We take it to the next level at Personify with weekly call reviews and peer-to-peer role-playing sessions to constantly hone our skills.

Skill 2: Time management. Recruiting is a dynamic job. Most recruiters experience busy days filled with researching job markets, fielding hiring manager calls, sourcing candidate target lists, reviewing candidate applications, executing screening calls, maintaining passive candidate relationships, managing data, attending meetings, and more. Of course, in labor-deplete markets, the speed of now applies, so every activity in the recruitment process needs to be done faster and more efficiently. Recruiters who can’t manage their time effectively will lose the best candidate to those who can. And nothing hurts more than losing a great candidate to a competitor who moved just a little faster. At Personify, we constantly reinforce the importance of time management skills by starting and ending a meeting on time and providing recruiters with a tech stack that drives efficiency at each step of the recruitment process.

Skill 3: Ability to adapt quickly. The only thing that stays the same in recruiting these days is change. The talent market changes all the time. Candidates enter and exit the market rapidly. Client requisitions can open and close in a moment due to changes in the internal business environment. Hiring managers are often re-assigned with little notice, so candidate requirements based on a new hiring manager’s preference can change. New technology becomes available at what’s starting to feel like warp speed, and tech platforms evolve constantly. This means recruiters need to be prepared to adapt quickly and pivot strategies on a dime. Having an open mind and a can-do attitude are key skills among top recruiters. Personify recruiters proactively look for updates in the market, recruitment technology, and clients’ business environments so they don’t fall behind when change happens.

At Personify, we promoted Hillary Revington, a seasoned leader who developed our proprietary internal program to train our recruiters on the fundamentals of recruiting.

Personify’s Team Leads (recruiting team managers) monitor recruiter performance looking for the tell-tale signs of inefficiencies and skills erosion. Recruiter calls are regularly reviewed, and areas for improvement in candidate and hiring manager interactions are identified. Manager feedback and course corrections aimed at improvement are made in real-time.

Team Leads report to Manny Hawkins, Head of US Delivery. Manny ensures standard processes are followed, targets are met, and works with the managers to identify areas for improvement on both an individual and team basis. Recruiter career ladders are well-defined and clearly outline the skill and performance requirements required to advance.

Process improvements, collaboration, and accountability are achieved in quarterly performance meetings with clients. These “Quarterly Business Reviews” (QBRs) are led by our Program Management team led by Nick Pokoluk, who has been with Personify for more than 20 years.

Finally, our Quality and Innovation team, led by Donna Horowitz, a 30-year veteran Human Resources leader focused on talent acquisition, monitors all of our delivery metrics and processes, looking for ways to improve performance and innovate our recruitment approaches in partnership with Personify clients.

At Personify, we recognize that to be among the best in our field; we need to practice and hone the fundamentals of recruiting, just like the best athletes, like Erin Matson, who take the field in collegiate sports. As Erin Matson notes in her article, “excellence is not a singular act but a habit.”


‘Simple’ is the New Black

It boggles my mind how people get bored with the simple.

“Erin, what did you do to make your hands so quick??” Lots of cone drills.

“How can I make my hand speed better?” Track how many pulls you can do in 30 seconds.

“I want to learn that really cool shot you did.” Well you can’t do that if you can’t receive the ball and have a good first touch in the circle.

“Erin, you don’t just stand still and do pulls in a game; why do you do them so often?” You’re right … in games it’s pulls on the move, big enough to get around defenders, and at a quick enough speed. But I can’t do them on the move, big enough to get around defenders, and quick enough, if I can’t master yard-length, stationary ones. So, I’ll never stop doing the same ones that I’ve been doing since I was 9!

People don’t want to hear about the “boring” stuff. They don’t want to continue working on the simple, mundane stuff. But whether you can handle brutal honesty or not, you’ll never be great if you can’t do the that stuff better than everyone else.

(If you’re Ms. Graham, my fifth grade teacher, and cringing at how many times I just used the word, “stuff,” I apologize. But, “stuff” is a great word. I like, “stuff.”)


@fihockey @worldsportspics @usafieldhockey

The amount of people who ask the questions above and expect a revolutionary, mind-boggling answer is absurd. Sorry everyone, I hate to burst your bubble, but it really isn’t anything crazy exciting.

Or is it…

Like most things, it’s a mindset. The difference is that the boring, simple, mundane stuff isn’t one bit boring, simple, or mundane to the greats you tell stories about at the dinner table.

The “here we go again” thoughts are what set you apart … are what help you make it to the top and remain at the top. Embrace them.

Winning teams and individuals are rooted in habit. We know that. So, why do we tend to lose sight of that? Aristotle said it best, and Coach and my parents constantly provide reminders: “You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not a singular act but a habit.”

**Notice how he didn’t say perfection; he said excellence. More on that later too.**

@fihockey @worldsportspics @usafieldhockey

Let’s talk math. (I can’t believe I willingly typed that because I absolutely hate math.) I’ll keep it 101 though, trust me. We’ve all heard this law before:

  • If a=b and b=c, then a=c.

So if we name the variables as such:

  • a: never getting bored of the simple

  • b: more consistent, quality skill execution

  • c: greater likelihood of sustained success

Then, the equation would read:

  • If never getting bored of the simple means more consistent, quality skill execution, and more consistent, quality skill execution means a greater likelihood of sustained success, then never getting bored of the simple is also equal to a greater likelihood of sustained success.

Read that again.

Are you here to finish third? Or even second? Because I’m sure as hell not.

So why are you not doing everything you can to create habits that generate winning? And then, why would you forgo those habits when it’s proven they make a difference? (This also might sound obvious, but winning means #1.)

There is obviously a lot more that goes into the bigger picture than just the fundamentals. But that’s the foundation that allows you to not only run but to fly. Without a foundation, there’s nothing to build upon and there’s no stability. And without constant care, attention, and maintenance, there’s no sense of longevity either.

I’ve learned a lot over the years about pushing my limits and feeling challenged to take the next step in getting better – whether that means taking my body further than I thought it could go, mentally being more confident, and/or everything in between. There’s no question that being an elite athlete, CEO, coach, parent – anyone, requires you to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

That said, I believe in balancing those challenging moments with honoring the fundamentals and trusting that they will forever make a difference.

I’ll never stop doing my pulls. I’ll never stop focusing on basic receiving, passing, and shooting.

I’ll never stop trying to execute the simple as cleanly and as efficiently as possible.

You can ask all the questions you want, and I’ll continue to give the same answers. You can also judge me all you want, or you are always welcome to join me in the corner of the field to work on the boring, simple, mundane stuff.

Your choice.

“Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.” – Leo Babauta

@fihockey @worldsportspics @usafieldhockey

Credit: Erin Matson
#RethinkRecruiting #HR #RPO

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