Make Them Want A Seat At YOUR Table

Stop clamoring for a seat at the table, people – make them clamor for a seat at yours.  Honestly, I think this whole prospect of a “table” at all is a little silly.  Aren’t we all in this together?  We should be.  Frankly I am not much interested in working where it is not this way.  If you don’t trust your clients, business leaders, or hiring teams, you shouldn’t be there – and vice versa.  My philosophy has always been, my objectives are the same as the team, company, or client that I am serving – and I need to do my part to help achieve these goals.

It should be obvious to your client that you are interested in everything about their team, business, goals, challenges, etc.  If you aren’t, good luck trying to fake it.  I don’t understand how you can truly add value or make a real impact without this.  Maybe I am just lazy, but I want to work smart, not hard.  The more I know, the better I can help.  I can tell you this, there are two things that have served me well over the years – curiosity and resourcefulness.

Even when I was a Software Engineer, I wanted to understand who I was building applications for and why.    How else was I going to make the system usable, adoptable, valuable?  Maybe it sounds arrogant, but how did I know what they were asking for was the right path/solution?  Maybe what they were requesting was limited to what they knew was possible.   Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have all the answers either – but collectively we could get there.  It is the same with Recruiters, Consultants, or any service providers.

Let’s just focus on Recruiting though.   It’s important to ask questions, request to be included in meetings and distribution lists where appropriate — and help them understand what is in it for them.  Don’t be disruptive  – listen and learn.  Please don’t expect to be spoon fed everything — resourcefulness is as valuable here as it is in finding candidates.  Read and study.  Learn strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – understand how people and functions interconnect.  Study the dynamics.  Know your market(s), competitors, talent pools.  When you run across things you don’t understand, do some research first.  The homework you have done will be appreciated when you do need to ask questions.  But don’t worry about asking dumb questions, you can learn just as much from them as the smart ones!  Listen and learn from your candidates too – they are an excellent source of information.

The key takeway is this:  Be curious and resourceful.  The insights you will gain will be invaluable – to you and your clients.  Not only will this help you find and assess the right talent your team needs, but you can also make an impact by sharing market and competitive intelligence you find.  Do this and trust me, they will be at your table….

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Chris Havrilla

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06 2011

4 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. 1


    Well said. I so agree about the table…sick of hearing about that. Also, I love your point about understanding your client. The research and inquisitiveness is crucial. I believe is is what separates the good consultants, recruiters, etc with the GREAT!

    • Chris Havrilla #

      Thanks so much Cathy – totally agree!!

  2. 3

    Interesting use of a child’s table as an image for your post…

    Remember when we were writing software and had this thing called software requirements specifications – SRS (FYI, No ESP, no “trust us, we know software”, no outlandish demands to sit at a special software coding table…

    Much of the current state of Human Resources is still focused on furniture as defined by the Ethan Allen Syndrome where “they” want a seat at the table (except perhaps it should be renamed the “Unpainted Furniture Syndrome” because I believe any table would satisfy most in HR). Does your HR organization have an its own related SRS – with the same level of detail?

    If not, why would anyone want to sit at THAT table?

    • Chris Havrilla #

      Great points Steve – and well put! I am glad I was not drinking my coffee when I read the part about the ‘Ethan Allen Syndrome’



  1. The Ethan Allen Syndrome « 21 06 11
  2. Can HR Earn A Seat At The Table? | 28 09 11

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