June 23, 2018

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Recruiting Tip: Word Pictures Rock!

“I’m really disappointed,” the hiring manager told me. “I’ve interviewed three of your candidates, and I’m not sold on any of them.”

“So, none of them checks all the boxes,” I said.

“Exactly,” he said. “Jim is strong in sales, but weak in managing people. Roger has solid technical skills, but doesn’t know our market. And Fred is great with customers, but hates to generate reports. If only I could find one person with everything I’m looking for.”

“Well, every superhero has unique abilities,” I said. “The question is: Is it absolutely necessary to hire Superman for this position? Or will Batman be sufficient?”

“I see your point,” said the employer. “Let’s go ahead and schedule Fred for a second interview.”

Metaphors to the Rescue

Notice how I responded to each of the employer’s concerns with a word picture? It wasn’t by accident.

I’ve found the most efficient -- and effective -- way to communicate ideas is through the use of analogies, metaphors and comparisons. And if you train yourself to convert words into pictures, you’ll build a bridge to more sendouts and placements.

See? I did it again. Here are some examples of colorizing everyday dialogue:

Old: “The territory includes the state of Iowa.” New: “The road starts in Des Moines and ends at the state line.”

Old: “Employees tend to stay at the company until they retire.” New: “Retention? Are you kidding? The company buys gold watches by the dozen.”

Old: “My candidate is so strong, you’ll want to hire him right away.” New: “I’m so confident you’ll like the candidate, I’ll just pin my invoice to his jacket.”

Old: “The company is technologically advanced.” New: “It's like the difference between a Timex and a smart watch.”

A word of advice: Try to avoid clichés such as “slam dunk,” “walks on water” and “thinks outside the box.” And of course, use good judgment. There’s a fine line between practical creativity and over-the-top silliness.

Just remember that in a world of competing ideas, the better communicator usually wins. Which is precisely why President Reagan didn’t exhort the Russians to remove the economic and political barriers between east and west. Instead, he painted a word picture. “Tear down this wall!” he said. And it was done.

- 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