The Next Generation of Scripts


There's a timeless quality to the classic TV drama, "Perry Mason." But compared to "Law and Order," the show seems hopelessly out of date.

Not only has color TV replaced black and white; the dialogue has changed, too. The language is more nuanced, reflecting characters whose motives, relationships and life situations are infinitely more complex than those depicted in the 1950s and 60s.

And yet, some things never change. Today's actors still memorize their lines the night before the camera rolls. They understand that without faithful adherence to the script, there would be confusion in the story line and chaos on the set.

Open-Ended Questions
Recruiters aren't actors, of course. But we still play an important role in an increasingly complicated job market. And I've found that the more our scripts match up with contemporary values, the greater their impact.

For example, if a candidate says he's happy at his current job-and feels reluctant to explore a new opportunity-you can take his statement at face value.

Or, you can ask the question, "If there was anything you could improve in your current situation, what would it be?"

Asking an open-ended question like this helps foster dialogue and demonstrates your interest in the candidate's own career assessment. A variation on the question might be, "That's great. Can you tell me what you like the most about your current situation?"

The more you know about the candidate, the better you'll be able to understand his motivations and satisfy his needs. And the more the candidate feels comfortable with your role as an advisor-rather than a sales person-the more likely it is that you'll do business together.

The Evolution of Recruiting
Back in Perry Mason's day, a "soft" response to an objection or concern was considered weak and ineffective. A typical old-school way a recruiter would address a candidate's fear of change was more confrontational: "I see. So you're married to your current job," or, "It must be nice to be fat and happy."

Such statements might have scored big points when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president. Today, this type of condescension would border on badgering the witness.

That's not to say you don't need to gather hard information or get yes-or-no answers to move things forward. But in today's recruiting environment, the key to success increasingly depends not so much on how vigorously you fight, but on the degree to which you listen to what your candidates are telling you.

By Bill Radin
 BlackDog Recruiting Software Inc.
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