The Essence Of Recruiting

At A Sales Guy Recruiting, we push harder, dig deeper, and challenge ourselves to be the best.  We’re not just good recruiters.  Good recruiters fill open positions.  Great recruiters are efficient and are well-connected.  The best recruiters seek out the candidate story.  Why?  Because we know that a rigid recruiting process that isn’t tailored to each specific job and the goals associated with them, and each individual candidate and their personal strengths and weaknesses will ultimately skim over THE BEST candidates. Those special Steve Jobs types will never pass the traditional recruiting litmus test.  Traditional recruiting methods don’t allow for the eccentric highly motivated and skilled “A” Players that don’t fit your traditional mold, because traditional recruiting methods discount these “A” Players based on —- criteria like college degree, certain # of years experience, etc.   Changing the Landscape This is the narrow world of recruiting we live in now.  We’re trying to change the scene, but it’s going to take some time.  What traditional methods allow for is great minds to go unnoticed.  Take a look at these greats that were rejected. Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 11.15.15 AM         Michael Jordan: After being cut from his high school basketball team , he went home, locked himself in his room, and cried. Steve Jobs:  At 30 years old, he was left devastated and decompressed after being unceremoniously removed from the company he started.   Oprah Winfrey:  She was demoted from her job as a news anchor because she “wasn’t fit for television”. Walt Disney:  He was fired from a newspaper for “lacking imagination” and “having no original ideas”. The Beatles:  Rejected by Decca Recording studios, who said “We don’t like their sound” and “they have no future in show business”.   Albert Einstein:  He wasn’t able to speak until he was almost 4 years old, and his teachers said he’d “never amount to much”.  Just a few examples of why we take the story so seriously.  There are a lot of missed opportunities if you go by traditional standards.  The best candidates don’t fit neatly into prescribed checklists and requirements.  Here’s a shout out to those candidates out there who know you’re the best.  Keep on keeping on!  You will make it!  Check out Job Searchers, Don’t Give Up by our Lead People Strategist Robye Nothnagel.  She’s got an innate ability to find the “needle in the haystack” as Robye likes to call it. Here’s the deal though, most people have a hard time finding the essence of who they are; their own story.  They don’t know who they really are professionally.  And it’s mainly to do with the expectations of how companies hire.  Most recruiters and hiring managers hire based on a list of requirements, experience, and skills one must possess.  So candidates have been trained to revolve their story around their past experience and skill-sets.  ASG recruiters dig deeper. I love this post by Neil Bearden- Harvard Business Review: “The Value of Being the ‘Weird’ Job Candidate”  It talks about personal branding, essentially.  When  a candidate goes into an interview, they should consider “how will you be separated from the other guys?”.  Essentially, “What is your story?”  Your story is distinct, it you, it differentiates you from the other chumps.  It’s what makes you the best candidate for the job.   What is your story? It’s important, in fact, it’s critical as a candidate to differentiate yourself.  At A Sales Guy Recruiting, we frame it with the question “What is your story?”  Why?  Because it’s about people, not resumes.  If it were about submitting resumes, the process would be a lot simpler.  You match the requirements of a job with a resume that checks all the boxes.  Not that simple.  An ASG recruiter incessantly mines the story from a candidate.  That’s why we ask behavioral questions when we interview our candidates.  That’s why we get better candidates.  We get the “A” Players vs. the “Look good on paper” candidates.   The story uncovers the essence. When you dig deeper with a candidate, and don’t stick to your traditional methods and checklists, you are able to determine whether he/ she has the three traits that matter: Analysis, Creative, Determination/ Grit.  These key traits trump any amount of experience and get to the core of who your candidate is.  How your candidate demonstrates these three traits will determine if he/she can get the job done.

“Without these 3 traits nothing else matters.  It doesn’t matter how well you listen, if you can’t do anything with what you heard.  It doesn’t matter how engaging you are if you have nothing creative to offer once you’ve engaged the client.  It doesn’t matter how honest and trusting your clients see you if you quit because they don’t buy anything in the first 3 months.   It doesn’t matter how well you can communicate if there is no substance to the communication.  It doesn’t matter how well you can focus on “needs” if you focus on the wrong needs because of poor analysis.”   Experience Doesn’t Matter — If Your Sales Candidates Don’t Have These 3 Things 

  Nothing else matters without the three key traits.  This is the essence of candidates we try to discover. Whether you’re a candidate prepping for an interview, or a recruiter trying to get better, remember our business revolves around people, there’s no prescriptive way to line up the best candidates for jobs.  It’s about capturing the candidate’s story to demonstrate he/ she is the best person to get the job done.


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.