Feedback and Grains of Salt
I like to see myself as an open person, willing to try things, willing to take feedback on board, give it a try.
When I was younger and not as confident, I would take things said to me as gospel, especially as I moved into a Corporate environment, where coming from the Agency world I did feel like a fish out of water initially. I was probably treated that way too, you know, a Agency Recruiter in an HR world. I was viewed with suspicion. Too Salesy to fit within the HR world. Feedback came thick and fast, good and bad.
Here is some of the “magic” advice I received.
I was too loud!
Too relaxed, didn’t look stressed or hurried
Walked too slow
Used the phone to much
Wasn’t formal enough in interviews
Didn’t use interview guides as a script
Gave too much information about the company
I got it, we were a conservative company, and people should have been honoured to work with us.
I bought into it, I mean hey, what did I know right? Just an Agency Recruiter, entering the corporate world, we all have to adjust. So I adjusted.
Well, guess what happened? I sucked! I couldn’t find myself, I had been beaten into hiding the real me, I was living a lie at work, and I felt my performance suffering. Sure HR and some of the corporates were happier, but I wasn’t doing what I was brought in to do. And what’s worse? I wasn’t having fun. I was working to other people’s template as to what “being professional” meant.
I took a step back and looked at the situation. What was the issue? There was a culture issue. Was it me? Was it the people who had given me the feedback? In the end, it was probably a mix of both. I spoke to the executive of the company, and voiced my confusion. What is the message you need to world to see about your/our company? And thus solidifying the fact that as Recruiters we are the front line of a companies success. Only as good as your people? Where do they come from? That’s right boys and girls…. US (no not the US of A) Recruiters! We are the Gatekeepers of the culture, and this was my chance to define that culture with the Executive.
From that I could see that the “stuffy” overly conservative style of Corporate Recruiting wasn’t going to cut it, it wasn’t really working towards the values they wanted, it turned out I could bring a bit more ME into the role. And the world got better (for me).
I learned some big lessons in this time. You can’t pretend to be something your not and be successful long term. Whilst people will give you feedback (and you must be thankful that they care enough to give it) not all of it will work for you, take what works and ignore the rest.
I’ve been given some great advice (that I now dispense) in regards to perception management, and toning down that Agency Dan in the corporate world, it was important, it was hard to hear, but heeding the advice and working with that really helped cement my standing in the environment and build on it.