So there she is, my “new” 1985 Cadillac Eldorado.  It is a wedding gift from my husband.  It is big, blue and in need of a great deal of work.  Now I know a little about cars.  I was lucky enough to have parents who believed in making me create my own path.  In high school, I worked for my money and drove my father’s 1983 Mercury.  It was not cool, fast, or any of the other things 16 year old wants their car to be.  It was, however, mine.  I took care of it, changed the oil, rotated tires and learned how to listen to the car.  It always seemed to tell me what me what was really going on.

Fast forward 25 years and I am again listening to my car.  This one is speaking very loudly and its list of needs and wants is very long.  I was driving my new Caddy on the beach last night, and it was obvious the car needs a new muffler.  With nothing to dampen the sound of the small explosions being produced in the eight cylinders, the lack of a muffler was evident to me, and those around me.  What I really had to listen for were the pistons in the engine.  Could I hear the tinny sound of loose pistons rattling around?

As I drove I thought about much of my day work as a recruiter is listening.

Being a good recruiter is to listen a closely to both clients and candidates.  A recruiter must master many skills, cold calling, negotiations, perseverance, and listening.  I believe that listening is the greatest skill a recruiter has.  Much like my Mercury, and my Cadillac, candidates and clients tell us exactly what they need and want.  Our job is to listen.  And while it seems simple enough, true listening skill takes years to master.

My candidate and clients make the big noises, and while they are important, it is hearing the softer sounds that make for a good recruiter.  To hear these softer sounds, the true details about the situation, the recruiter asks questions, dives deeper and clarifies everything.  For example, when a client says I need someone with strong communication skills (the big noise); the reason may be a dysfunctional team (the soft noise).  The client may be in need of someone who can come in and unite the team.  The search changes 180 degrees with the soft noise understanding.

How much do you listen to what your clients and candidates are telling you?  Are you getting the complete story?  If you feel like you are presenting candidates and not getting a match, try listening for the softer sounds of what your client needs, it will make a world of difference.