Recently, I was speaking with a candidate for a Sr. Desktop Support position for a Top 3 New York City law firm. The firm requirements and expectations on the candidates’ backgrounds were extremely detailed, thus requiring a lengthy screening call for a long list of candidates. On an initial conversation with one candidate (let’s call him Peter), we proceeded down the long line of questions. While discussing various technologies, hardware, software and soft skills (customer service, presentation, time management, etc.), we talked about personal interests as well. Being that he was on his way home, Peter mentioned that he could not wait to get home and see his pig. Unsure if it was the bustling traffic in the background or my hearing being a little off, I responded with a chuckle and what I thought was the obvious question of, “Did you say pig?” This led to an unusual side bar that I was not expecting. Peter gave me the ins and outs of porcine pet ownership that was almost as detailed as the job requirements I was calling him about.
Side note: About a year ago, I found an article online about mini-pigs and ever since then, I have wanted one. My condo association passed a rule about pets that residents cannot have cats, dogs or other animals that weigh more than 35 lbs. There is also a rule that all animals, when they need to relieve themselves, need to go out the back door in the basement, through the parking lot and out to the street. (Every time I think about it, I start singing “Over the river and through the woods…” in my head.) The other half of that rule states that in order to bring pets through the front lobby and out the front door, you need to carry them. This is a completely ridiculous rule if you ask me. With all the restrictions and my penchant for couch-and-TV-time once I get home from a hard day at work, I had decided that having a pet may not be for me at this time.
Enter, Mini-Pigs! Not only can they be extremely clean, but they can also be potty trained. Not toilet-trained, per say. I think I would stick with litter-box training. This alleviates the problem of making a bundled-up, always-too-long trek into the cold and rainy streets of New Jersey to make sure my pet has a nice quality of life. (Completely selfish, I know.) In addition to this, they are friendly, adorable, don’t shed, and, from what my research shows, they are cuddlers. They are just like cats and dogs, minus the mounds of pet-hair around the house! Sadly, my love for these cuddly, cute animals is not shared by my boyfriend (I have to take his opinion into account since he cooks and cleans) and so, alas, I still have no pets.
Back to the point at hand. Through this long conversation with Peter, now discussing Citrix, iManage, and alpha- and beta-testing, our conversation was not solely straight forward business. We had made a “bond” and though not a fit for the role at hand, he and I left off on a friendly note. Roughly a month later, we got a new opportunity that Peter seemed appropriate for. I was not personally handling the new role, but one of my managers had called Peter to see what his interest level would be. Upon hearing “Glenmont Group”, Peter’s response was “Oh! How’s Susan? Did she get a mini pig yet?” Not only did this get a chuckle and a quizzical look from my manager, but it also showed the importance of getting to know your candidates.
Making a connection is so important when working in the recruiting world. Great technicians and skilled workers get calls all the time from recruiters. Some people don’t go a single day without hearing from one of the many staffing firms out there. It is important to stand out from the crowd and stay in your candidates’ minds. Whether it is talking about your children, discussing music, schmoozing about sports or even sharing a love of mini-pigs, make sure you make that connection. Without that, you will just be another person on the wire trying to steal a minute of time. Make an impression that will stick with your candidates. Good relationships, professionally and personally, can lead to great referrals and recommendations which, as I’m sure any recruiter knows, can lead to a successful career.