A real conversation always contains an invitation.
You are inviting another person to reveal herself or himself to you,
to tell you who they are or what they want.

– David Whyte

Organizations are complex. So are human beings. Pithy to be sure, but as such it’s the essence of what makes recruiting a very challenging business. From start to finish, executive search is an intricate and dynamic process. A process of discovery. And making genuine connection.

The art and science of recruiting

Any expert sales recruiter (salespeople too) will tell you in-person conversations are the most revealing. They agree, even if their business model doesn’t support it, that the richest learning comes from shaking hands, making eye contact, unpacking problems, and discussing specific needs and wants. More than any other mode of communication, the most effective tool for evaluating candidates comes from knowing what to ask, how to ask, and sitting down and talking. Again and again.

The ability to ferret out how candidates think and behave is both art and science. Which probing questions elicit confidence or uncertainty? What do they really value? How do they sit in their chair? What forces them to look away? Capturing candidates responses and perspectives on a full range of personal and professional issues in person provides critical information.

Once is not enough

The second conversation is never like the first. Think about when you first meet someone. Then the second time. Then the third. The conversation can’t help but get more intricate. More revealing. When interviewing and evaluating sales candidates, the goal should always be total immersion. Adept recruiters open pathways for candidates to formulate and articulate opinions, beliefs, goals, and desires more richly. One meeting is not enough, nor is it strategically sound. Inherent to gaining insights to predict on-the-job behavior and performance is the need to delve and assess. Bringing soft skills to life.

Soft Skills make the match

In a 2019 LinkedIn Talent Solutions report, survey results of 5,000+ talent professionals in 35 countries combined with behavioral data from LinkedIn, the value of soft skills to company success is undeniable:

89% say bad hires typically lack soft skills
80% deem soft skills increasingly important
57% state assessing soft skills accurately is one of their greatest struggles

The importance of soft skills is not new, particularly in sales. But against the backdrop of increasing reliance on automation and artificial intelligence in recruiting and hiring, the value of assessing for soft skills has grown astronomically. Soft skills companies need but struggle to find include, creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management. The advice the report imparts is clear: “If companies want a hiring strategy for the future, they need to change how they identify and hire for soft skills.”

So what we’ve known and mastered for decades continues to ring true, with more value than ever before: face-to-face conversations are the most significant tool in a recruiter’s toolbox. An immersive approach and ongoing dialogue are vital. We remain confident the value of our strategy will never become obsolete. Let’s talk.

Share This Article