Bridge the Gap

When you boil it down, recruiting is really all about one thing: people. Day in and day out, recruiters are building relationships while they’re getting to know their candidates, collaborating with hiring managers, or swapping stories with fellow teammates. There’s a constant curiosity around discovering the commonalities among individuals we meet and how we can utilize them to propel a relationship forward in a positive, meaningful direction. In some cases, this can be uncovered in the most simple of ways (”You watch The Good Place too? Nice!”), but in a field where people and your relationships with them can have a direct effect on your overall fulfillment and enjoyment, you’re bound to come across someone who, to put it simply, just doesn’t jive with your vibe. I may or may not be speaking from experience (I totally am).

I’ve been on teams with folks who have had completely dissimilar, sometimes even opposite, working and communication styles. I’ve had managers who have absolutely no sense of humor or spirit of fun. I’ve worked with candidates who see our relationship as more of a business deal than a human bond. A few years ago, my immediate reaction to these instances would be somewhere along the lines of, “How can I change? What is wrong with me? What more can I do to get them to like me?” Admittedly, it was a bit naive. Maybe it was even slightly dramatic. But if you’re anything like me – a person who aims to please, who seems to rarely come across someone I can’t immediately get along or find common ground with – it can be an even more difficult circumstance to navigate. But the older I become and the more experience I get, the more I realize that this is actually more common than I initially expected.

But that’s not to say it’s a bad thing.

Accepting that people are inherently different in their perspectives, dispositions, and personalities is an incredibly universal lesson. I’m a firm believer in the notion that continuing to figure out how to bridge these differences is such a valuable practice in recruiting, in work, and in life. I’ve learned that the best way to do that isn’t to continuously change entire aspects of myself to fit a distinct, unique mold of “person” that I assume each of these relationships requires. Rather, I’ve found that it’s actually more about having a firm understanding of who I am and how I bring value, then putting forth the effort to understand these same things about the person on the other side. Zoom out on the differences, so you can also keep sight of the similarities. See also: compromise, honest dialogue, assuming positive intent.

People are complicated, multi-faceted, and constantly changing. When building relationships is your job, it can be easy to forget that these characteristics, which can sometimes make the job more difficult, can also make it so much more fun. I’m sure I’m not alone in that mindset – does anyone else agree?