I don’t think I’m the only one whose mother said a million times “Didn’t you hear what I said, put your shoes away”. Sounds simple doesn’t it, but did I stop to pick up my shoes and put them away. Nope, I was too intent on doing what I wanted to do, finish watching my tv show or today it’s the kids taking just a few more minutes to finish playing a video game on their iPad. Good listening skills are critical to being a good recruiter and if you have them you know what I mean. I know many of the best recruiters have type A-personalities so it’s really hard to be a good listener when you’re full of thoughts and always running a mile a minute but as soon as I get on the phone with a candidate or client – I slow down! I have to or I might miss the most important thought with either my candidate or my client. It’s the quality of the contact you have with each person that gives you the ultimate competitive advantage. You are not the only person your candidate and your client will be talking to, so it’s important to be the one who hears what they are saying. A good quote I read about listening – J.P. McEvoy said, “When you talk, you are repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” How easy is that. Just take a moment to listen whether it’s your client or your candidate and then use that to your advantage. One of my favorite placements came with an AHA! moment. My client wanted an FIO (Functional Information Officer ). Do any of you know what that is? I didn’t at the time although I do now. It’s not a typical job description that you see every day. When I asked my client ” how long have you been trying to fill this position” and she responded with 6 months I knew this would be a difficult search. My first thought was I’m never going to fill this position but I like those kind of challenges. I listened as she described the position which was still pretty confusing, just like the title and still wasn’t quite sure what she was looking for. Then I asked “what skills would your perfect candidate have”? She said, well it’s really a jack of all trades, someone with analysis skills, people skills, and process improvement methodology. When she said process improvement methodology, that was my AHA! moment. I knew the perfect person for this job and if I had not heard her say “methodology” I would have never thought of George for the job. Process improvement methodology was important to my client but not in the job description. How silly of them, but so good for me and George. I submitted George the next day and within a week he had the job offer. That’s the kind of AHA! moment I’m talking about.