As a person with a great deal of experience within the recruitment sector, I regularly get asked what makes a person hire somebody. What characteristics impress potential employers enough for them to hire applicants? My response is always the same; there are no set characteristics or specific competencies, I think that some people just “get it” and your “gut feel” often gives you the inclination to hire them.
Recently I had an interaction with somebody who I feel “gets it” and will have a very successful career in her chosen discipline. I had our baby sitter come over at short notice to look after my two sons. My boys are pretty quiet kids (generally) and they are reasonably easy to look after. A simple DVD will suffice if you feel tired and they will be ready for bed. However, Holly (I will not release her surname as good baby sitters are almost impossible to find) is able to engage with them and get them involved with activities of all sorts. When she comes over, the boys make sure that they have their best clothes on and their rooms tidy. They get all nervous and become desperate to impress her. As soon as she walks through the door, they tear down the stairs and she starts playing with them. A typical night with Holly involves board games, art and reading before turning on the TV and the kids adore her. She understands my sons and they love her.
The thing that sets Holly apart from anyone else who has ever looked after my children is that she has an acute business brain. Holly knows that parents, particularly mothers, are sensitive to leaving their children at home and often feel guilty for doing so. The first thing she always does is interact with my wife and find out what she wants her to do with the kids while she is out. She reassures her that everything will be fine and makes sure that she plays with the kids straight away.
On this particular night, we were going out to dinner with friends, and their baby sitter fell through. I simply called Holly and asked if she would mind looking after two more kids. Her response was simply “the more the merrier”. Within two minutes, she had made the other parents feel content and the four kids were busy into activities. Nothing seemed to have phased Holly and she has now picked up a brand new client (much to my chagrin). The four kids played well through the night and a good time was had by all, and it was all due to Holly.
In my humble opinion, some people just “get it” and Holly is one of those. Without ever being told or prompted, she is able to assess a situation and provide a solution. Her manner is always impeccable and she has an uncanny knack of being able to make the decision makers (usually my wife) feel as though she has received absolute value for money. She always does more than is required to get the job done and is flexible enough to adapt to changing situations. She is smart, commercial and never without a smile on her face. One day, I would love to offer her a job because I know that she just “gets it”.
One last thing – please don’t contact me to get her details for baby-sitting……… she is too valuable for me to lose!!!
Brad McMahon – Managing Director