Selecting talent is a tough job; it seriously is. The cost of making the wrong hire can be exponential and the reward in selecting correctly can take any business forward. It is a rare skill to be able to select for both the immediate and long term needs without making an error and it takes a brave and intelligent person to back their instinct to do so. I have worked in recruitment for many years now and still get it wrong sometimes no matter how many checks and balances I put in place. I was talking about this to a competitor whom I respect greatly this morning and he told me to target people who are memorable for the right reasons.
I have mulled on this comment for a few hours – it has really got me thinking. I was thinking about people who I have worked with over the past years; if they were memorable and what made them so. I can actually see a correlation with performance. The high performers were memorable for the right reasons. They had a personality and a presence. They were experts and had the confidence to deliver their expertise. Above all, they left a positive impression and they were sorely missed when they moved on.
This got me to start to think about people in my own social circle and whether they are memorable and could be successful in this industry. I considered a few close friends and a couple of clients and thought that they could probably be successful. A cousin sprung to mind as he is smart, relates well and has some presence about him. However the person in my social circle that is most memorable for the right reasons is my brother Dave.
Now Dave is a few years older than me and I have always had to live in his shadow to an extent. He was an exceptional athlete and a state performer across many disciplines. He was scholastically intelligent and achieved extremely high secondary and tertiary results. He excelled with members of the opposite sex and was extremely popular as a young man. However, it is his innate ability to leave a positive impression in any circumstance that leads me to believe that he would thrive in our industry.
You see, Dave just “gets” people. He relates brilliantly with people from all walks of life irrespective of age, gender, race or occupation. He can shape a conversation with ease and leaves people with a sense of enjoyment. He is empathetic to people’s needs and has an ability to attract people into his circle of influence. Most of all he is likeable.
Now Dave has suffered some pretty serious health issues of late and I flew down to see him recently. He came to meet me and my family at the airport. Before we met him at the gate he was swarmed with random “well wishers” stopping to speak with him. He received about four kisses from ladies and somehow ended up with two dinner invitations (he is married). That afternoon, we went to the pub for half an hour and all of his time was taken up by people wanting to come up and say hi. My two sons followed him around as though he was the Pied Piper and he received phone calls that night from both of my other brothers and my mother (he may or may not be her favourite). The next day was the same as the last; he was stopped repeatedly at the beach and in the main street. He had people drop in to see him and the phone did not stop ringing. I was amazed how Dave left every single person he met with a smile and usually a social invitation of sorts. People just wanted to be around him and speak with him.
Now Dave is not a celebrity of any sort. He would describe himself as a humble school teacher in fact. He lives a relatively simple life in modern standards however people just want to be around him. I have seen it and admired it my whole life. Dave is memorable and memorable for the right reasons. If only he wasn’t paid so much, I would try to hire him!
Brad McMahon – Managing Director