I read a lot of job adverts, I need to know where opportunities are to go find them for my candidates. It got me thinking about institutional knowledge and how this kind of thing is passed on in recruitment firms. Just when did it become accepted that we should all speak in the same, boring, monotonous, unengaging and soporific tone as each other?
The classic example of this is the well-used, universally accepted and loathed opener to almost every email a bad recruiter has ever written. I’m talking about: “I hope this finds you well?”
When did we decide that it’s OK to turn a question into a statement? When did we decide that is isn’t enough that recruiters end every spoken sentence with the antipodean end of sentence inflection; we now have to do it in written English as well?
A conversation (in writing, in person or on the phone) in a business context is still just that, a conversation. You might cut out the colourful language; discuss the football a little less and focus more on getting across key information than you might in the pub on Friday but it is –ultimately – an interaction between two human beings.
So why – through gritted teeth – I ask; do we wear a different hat when we sit down at our desks? Why do we forget who we are and what personal qualities got us a great job in the first place and put on a corporate communication hat that forces us to say myself instead of me, or reach out to people instead of talking to them? Where have we learnt our ridiculous phone voices that bear no resemblance to how we talk to our friends and family? Wouldn’t life just be easier if we talked to each other like human beings?
Life as a recruiter is hard enough without having to pretend you’re someone else. Be yourself, let people in, express yourself and people will be drawn to you. Not everyone granted – there’s always one person for whom obsequiousness is a valued quality in recruitment partner of choice but – like as not – you wouldn’t want them as a candidate or client anyway.
So drop the phone voice, write an email like a human being, be honest in a job advert…break the habit of years and start being yourself.