We had dinner last night with a friend of ours (for the sake of this we’ll call her Jane). Jane is a brilliant technical program manager who works for a major hospital system. I first met her when I recruited and hired her in a former role.
The core focus of a recruiter’s job is to deliver is talent that you have evaluated to be an appropriate fit with the technical, cultural, and effectiveness requirements of the position and to build candidate interest in your organization/the position. To do this, a recruiter must build rapport quickly with a broad diversity of personality types and engage candidates in a dialogue where they ask questions about the candidate’s experience, skills, and accomplishments without making it seem like an interrogation.
A good recruiter should always demonstrate an interest in, and curiosity about, people. That curiosity should be evident through the types of questions they ask you about your experience. There should be an innate drive to learn things they don’t know in order to better understand the business they support and/or the technologies for which they are hiring.
Does this ever translate into a recruiter and a candidate they hire becoming friends? In my experience, rarely. Jane is a notable exception for me. We discovered that we had friends in common when we ran into each other at a mutual friend’s event. Last night, she mentioned that when we met for coffee after she onboarded, she’d thought, “He’s an interesting guy”. But I always seemed to have a solid professional wall up that she couldn’t break through.
I hadn’t thought of it like that before, but she’s correct. Recruiters walk a fine line between building rapport with people as we go through the attraction, evaluation, and offer process and not going beyond. We don’t become personally invested because 1) It’s a business transaction and it might not go the way one or both parties want; 2) it’s important to follow employment law and not ask illegal questions.
I consider myself fortunate that we connected, as Jane and her other half are interesting, thoughtful people who are doing work that benefits communities both regional and global.