I am sure that got your attention – it certainly got mine when my friend Laura B. handed me the book Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni. While the book was written with management consultants in mind, it is really applicable for any service providers – internal or external. I remember thinking when I read the book, that this would be a great read for Recruiters, especially in dealing with their Hiring Managers/Teams.
The premise of the book is simple – it is about being vulnerable and transparent. You do this by overcoming the fear of losing the business (or the client), the fear of being embarrassed, and the fear of being inferior. In turn, your ability to truly serve the client’s needs increases tremendously – as does their loyalty and trust. It is not as easy as it sounds and really does require putting your clients’ interests above your own. It is risky and I can assure you from personal experience, it won’t always work out the way you want or intend. However, it will likely work out the way that it should. Personally, I believe being confident in that fact is half the battle.
These are common fears we all share. I have worn many hats – Software Engineer, Consultant, Recruiting/HR – but in my mind I have always been a Consultant, and it is how I have approached each role. Early in my consulting career, I struggled most with the fear of having the difficult conversations that might cost me the relationship or the trust I was building with my clients. With the experience and confidence I have gained through the years, I probably struggle more now with the fear of being wrong or looking stupid — or as I prefer to call ‘uninformed’
But I think “getting naked” with your Hiring Managers/Teams is critical to uncovering what you need to know to successfully address the talent needs and challenges of your teams. Ultimately their goals and objectives should also be your own. I believe the key takeaways for Recruiters are:
- Always consult instead of sell – don’t just push candidates, let them benefit from your knowledge of the market, the candidate, competitors, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to address the elephant in the room and have the difficult conversations ( “tell the kind truth”) – you can’t solve the real problems without doing this
- It’s OK to ask dumb questions or make dumb suggestions – this is how you learn (and trust me, someone else in the room has thought the same thing, but lacked the confidence or courage to raise)
- Be able to laugh at yourself – its about learning and helping, not looking good
- Believe in your client’s work as much as they do – it is hard to “partner” with them without feeling it
I encourage you to read the book — its a fast, easy read. I hope it empowers you to take some risks to build a new level of trust and loyalty with your clients. Some clients may take advantage or not be ready, willing, or able to tackle the real problems, but the risks are worth it — and will reveal when the relationship was not meant to be or is no longer right. Please share your stories – I’d love to hear when these principles have worked for you (or helped you move on when necessary)…