Sophie's Blog


As a trainer and coach of recruiters and recruitment business owners, it surprises me that people do not have more awareness of the connection between our thoughts and our outcomes. Or perhaps it is because the focus tends to be on what skills people need to do the job. Yet how we think about those activities will determine the results, we get. Which is why we need to start with what is on our mind.

In coaching we talk about Think - Be - Do, which essentially means that the thoughts we have, be they conscious or unconscious determine how we show up and how we show up determine how we do our activities and how we do our activities determine the results, we get. In order to achieve great results, we must first examine what thoughts we hold in our heads to ensure they serve us and our cause. But how can we know what our unconscious thoughts are, as they by their very nature, are not at the surface?

Fortunately we all have tell tale signs of what our thoughts are as our language will leak how we really view ourselves and our relationship to our clients, candidates and the job we do. When I listen in on recruiters’ client calls in training, they may say: “I know you are very busy, but I only need a minute of your time”. First of all how do they know, how busy the client is? Or are they in fact projecting their own thoughts onto the client as though they are real? Having personally made thousands of calls to clients, I know for a fact that if they are too busy to speak with you, they will say so without hesitation.

Then why do some use an opening like this one? Are they really thinking that the client’s time is more valuable than theirs? That they think they are in fact being a nuisance? By saying they only need a minute, are they devaluing the service they offer? I have even heard some recruiters say: “ I’m sorry to bother you” By having unhelpful thoughts and therefore language, they show up in a subservient and apologetic way. 

If the client then is brisk on the phone as a result, that client may the labelled rude, but realise they are only behaving this way because of the way, you show up.

Recruiters sometimes complain that clients do not have any respect for them and the job they do. 

The real question to ask is how do you view yourself and the job, you do? Do you view yourself on a par with doctors and lawyers i.e. as a true professional? Your willingness and ability to lay down some ground rules of engagement will reveal how you really think about your role in relation to your clients. Do you tell clients how the process is going to run or do you ask them, what they want and pander to their every whim even when you know it is to their detriment? E.g. are you willing to demand that your clients interview candidates within 48 hours of you presenting them? Do you demand that they give you feedback within two hours post interview? Do you use your expertise and tell them that you are in fact protecting their brand in the marketplace not just for now, but also for future recruitment? Do you tell them this is the way it must be? After all you are the professional. 

Can you imagine going to a doctor and the doctor asking if you want an x-ray? Unthinkable as you want to go to a doctor who knows what is best for you. Essentially you cannot demand respect, if you do not show up as a professional who has principles and stands by them. People treat you the way you unconsciously let them treat you. Before you ask for respect from others, you must respect yourself and the profession you have joined and behave accordingly.

Therefore to improve your results, you need to change your thoughts and your language pattern will change accordingly.

Whilst you work in a industry that is based on making placements and placing temp staff, rather than think about your $ target and how to get it, change your thinking.

A mantra that I share in my training is “Service, service, service and money will follow” 

When you think about how you can best service your clients and candidates, you show up with a value adding mindset and you are there ‘for them’. When you think about your $ target and KPIs, you are there for you. Have you noticed that clients can tell when you are there for you? E.g. when you are in a trough and you desperately need jobs and you get on the phone? They can tell. Whereas if you are on the phone thinking & talking about their business, their challenges, adding value, then you get more business. The rule of reciprocity works; the more you give, the more you get. 

Understand that to achieve change you have to undergo a 3 step process: first you need awareness of your unhelpful thoughts, then you make a decision to change, then you need to take action.

Step 1; listen carefully to what comes out of your mouth, analyse to see if you are unwittingly setting yourself up in a master - servant relationship. If so, go deep to see why this might be. Do you believe that the client doubts your expertise? Ironically by projecting this thought onto the client as though it is real, you show up in a subservient and hesitant manner, which will make the client doubt you! You then enter into a self fulfilling prophecy. Every time you find yourself thinking that you know what someone else is thinking, ask yourself if you have any proof e.g. did the client ask about if you were qualified to do the recruitment for them? If there is no proof, it is almost certainly projection on your part. Plus we suffer as humans from confirmation bias where once we have formed an opinion, we will constantly look for evidence to prove our opinion was correct to the point of negating any evidence to the contrary. Once you become aware of your language patterns and the thoughts, that led them there, you have a decision to make. 

This is Step 2; do you want to change? If so, you need to decide on a course of action.

Step 3; your action plan may be before you start each day to ask “What will my laser focus be for the day? How can I best serve my 3 top candidates? Where can I send them for interview?”

Another laser focus might be: “Which clients can I serve today? What do they need from me? What problems can I solve for them?” How will I use my professionalism and expertise to best serve people? 

Before you dive into learning skills and doing your job, get clear on your thoughts. Decide that you ARE a professional and behave accordingly. Helpful thoughts will guarantee you show up with a mindset of knowing what is best, wanting to share generously of your knowledge and adding value. Service, service, service and money will follow!


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