June 19, 2018

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How Good Are Your People Skills?

In the war for talent, we sometimes forget that our candidates and employers are people, too. And as such, they should be treated with respect.

A careless word, interruption or shading of the truth can damage your relationships and drive down the odds of making a placement. In the spirit of the Golden Rule, here are five quick tips to help improve your people skills:

  1. Keep it short. Unless you’re specifically asked to enumerate on a topic, it’s best to keep your presentations, explanations and sidebars to a bare minimum. Words are cheap, and have an inflationary effect. The more you use, the less their value. Besides, you’d be surprised how boring we sound to others most of the time.

  2. Don’t interrupt. Stepping on others’ words not only stunts the conversation, it makes the other person feel angry and frustrated.

  3. Show an interest. Sometimes, we want to make a point or steer the conversation so badly we forget to listen to what the other person is saying. The more attention-deficit our culture becomes, the more people will appreciate your acceptance and validation.

  4. Avoid the temptation to argue. If you don’t like what you’re hearing, an effective approach would be to ask a question or paraphrase the concern. Instead of digging in your heels, you’ll show you’re trying to understand the other person’s point of view. You might not ultimately agree, but a demonstration of empathy is like karma in the bank.

  5. Accept criticism and absolve mistakes graciously. Sometimes it pays to concede a point or admit to a failing, especially if it’s true. And when it’s not true (or the other person goofs), it might just make sense to take the heat anyway.

Not too long ago, a client of mine “forgot” to mention an important point that was critical to my search. Their mistake wasted a lot of my time and made me look bad in front of a candidate. But rather than call them out, I took the blame, knowing that from that point on, they would owe me. And sure enough, a couple months later, they made several major concessions that led to a placement.

Scoring rhetorical points may drive up ratings in cable news, but it can be deadly to your brand as a recruiter – and to our collective reputation. Remember, the quality of your words and decisions is just as important as the sheer quantity of candidates you’re able to find.

- Bill Radin

Bill Radin is one of the most popular and highly regarded trainers in the recruiting industry, and has trained many of the largest independent and franchised recruiting organizations, including Management Recruiters, Dunhill, Sanford Rose, Snelling and Fortune Personnel. His speaking engagements include the NAPS national conference, the annual Kennedy Conference, and dozens of state association meetings and network conventions, including Top Echelon and