As an executive recruiter, the number one complaint about recruiters is that they don’t return emails or phone calls, sometimes at all. It’s a valid frustration and I admittedly have let the ball drop during my career now and again (horrible I know)! I am sure if you are reading this, you probably have too (let’s be honest).
I have seen an increase in poor communication in business dealings over the years and it is not age, gender or generationally specific. I hear fairly consistently from us GenXers and Baby Boomers how disappointed we are in our Millennials—They have a poor work ethic, they are entitled, they are poor communicators, they have poor manners, etc. etc. Well I have some not-so-great news, perhaps we have the work ethic, but we oftentimes take first place in poor manners and communication. We need to start stepping up here and lead by example for our future leaders.
Return Calls, Emails
I meet new people every single week of my life whether they were referred to me, met at an organized networking event, or just part of my extended network. Oftentimes, my contacts are very generous and refer professionals to me for various business reasons. I cannot tell you how many of those calls, emails, invites never even get acknowledged and in fact, seemingly ignored. I am embarrassed because when my contacts ask me if I spoke to so and so...and they didn’t bother to respond, it is such a slight and disrespect to my contact that I find myself making excuses for the referrals! Understand, this is not about me, this is about my contact.
As executives, we must pay it forward all the time, not just when it is convenient. It’s really never convenient, although Chicago is big, it can be a small business community. Everybody at one time or another will need some help, so be mindful. It is such a wonderful compliment that others are thinking of you and enough of you to take the time to connect you with another professional!
Put the phones away!
A family member of mine (Joe), who was a successful attorney and vice president of a well-known company in Chicago, recently shared an interesting story. He was chairing a meeting for his staff and noticed that all of them were paying more attention to their phones than his agenda. So, Joe took out a newspaper, put it in front of his face and started reading it. The team was like, “Hey, what the heck…. We are having a meeting here and you called it…” Joe said, “All of you reading your phones are no different or disrespectful than me reading my newspaper!” Point taken. The phones moving forward were no longer an issue.
Most of the time, there is no correspondence that cannot wait until the meeting has ended. There are exceptions to this, but they are just that. Exceptions.
Try this- next time you chair a meeting or you are an attendee and are tired of everyone’s noses in their I-phone, ask that all attendees put their phones, turned over, in the middle of the table at the beginning of the meeting. Watch and see how more productive and engaging the meeting is. Be in the moment and give the attention and respect your colleagues deserve. After all, great relationships are built one conversation at a time, not one email at a time.
Job Interviews and Feedback
I am calling out to all of my executives who are in the position to affect processes within their organization. Whether you are working with external recruiters or are managing searches internally, please give the candidate the much deserved feedback post interview. I understand we all have a lot on our plate and we have to prioritize our responsibilities, but a person took the time to put on their best business attire, research the company, prepare, arrange transportation and participate in one of the most intimidating meetings- an interview. The candidate put time, effort and their best foot forward, we need to as well.
Every single person has to go through an interview to secure their current or past positions. We’ve all been there. Technology has stripped the business world of simple human courtesies, but we are allowing it. This feedback and communication movement can start now- be part of the solution.
By Renee Beckman, CPA, CEO & Founder of Limitless Search, Inc. a financial and accounting executive search and contract resources company. www.limitlessrecruit.com o: 708.960.0592|m: 708.955.6152