Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Small Fish, Big Pond or Big Fish, Small Pond


My daughter has been in a great school district since kindergarten through her 8th grade year. This school district is ranked at the top in our state. Needless to say we have been very pleased with the quality of education she has received. It has, however, been growing rapidly. In fact, if I’m not mistaken it is the fastest growing school district in our state. Because she has always been a kid that tends to feel more comfortable in a smaller environment we decided to explore options for her for this upcoming school year. We toured some different schools and found one that seemed like a good fit. The school Administrator asked her, “Do you like to be a big fish in a small pond or do you like to be a small fish in a big pond?”

Small schools offer certain advantages, as do big schools. The bottom line, each individual must weigh out all these things and make the decision based on what is best for them.

This whole process reminds me of a question I often ask a candidate that I've met for the first time. That is, "Do you prefer a smaller company environment or a larger company environment? Or do you even have a preference?"  To be best positioned to assist someone on their search, understanding their interest only helps us better help them.

It is strictly a personal preference but there are, no doubt, things to be considered.

In a small environment you can often have more opportunities. More opportunities to take on responsibilities that perhaps in a larger organization you would not. In a smaller environment you are often challenged to push yourself outside your comfort zone. Not exclusive to a small environment, but often more frequent. In smaller environments often you can move more nimbly. More opportunity to put your thumbprint on something.

In a larger organization, on the other hand, sometimes you have access to more resources. You can have opportunities for more advancement simply because there are more positions in the organization and often more layers. You can have opportunities to steer your career in different paths that may not be available in a smaller company.


I could certainly take both of these lists much further. And many people certainly will have their own thoughts on how those lists should look. The thing to think about from all this is that this is simply another piece to the search equation that should be addressed. 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Should a Recruiter “Sell” an Opportunity to a Candidate?

Should a recruiter “sell” an opportunity to a candidate? The other day a candidate criticized me for not “selling” an opportunity to them. I've never favored “selling” a candidate. I've always believed that a recruiter’s job is to provide accurate information and be a resource for discussion. But a recruiter should not “sell” a candidate on a job. In this situation I had contacted the individual whom I've known for a number of years. This person had told me at various times over the years that they wanted to stay in a certain region of the country. When I called with the opportunity they again said that while it sounded like an excellent opportunity and something they would otherwise be interested in, they wanted to stay in the region where they were at and their family would not be interested in moving to that area. I followed up a few weeks later only to find out that they had interviewed for the position. I contacted the candidate and they told me that I had not done a good job selling them.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “sell” as: 
to persuade or influence to a course of action or to the acceptance of something

As a recruiter am I to persuade or influence the candidate into interviewing? Okay perhaps it is a fine line, but I still like to think of my job as providing information about an opportunity. Provide information as to why the opportunity could be something that would be a logical career move based on their interests and expectations. If I have to convince someone to explore an opportunity that to me is selling them. And if you have to sell someone on a job, my belief is that the odds are it won’t work out. More importantly perhaps, if you have to sell the candidate and their family on moving to an area of the country they have never been interested in previously, my experience is that in the long run it typically does not work out.

Now a discussion about the benefits of exploring an opportunity based on fact seems perfectly fine. But, if I have to influence someone, that in my opinion is selling them on the job or a location.


What are your thoughts?