Updated: Jun 5

Part of a Recruiter’s job is to figure out what candidates are realllllly good at and what they may struggle with. With that in mind, we need to find a “superpower” that they have, that our clients will think is something they are willing to pay us for.

In the Recruiting Business, clients come to Recruiters mostly when they are not finding what they want. So that means we must do some digging to find what they are looking for.

Sometimes the clients do not even know what they are looking for, but they are not happy with what they are seeing from their own searches. The ability to figure out what they need and want is 40% of a Recruiter’s job. The other 40% is really identifying a sellable skill(s) of the candidates.

Superpowers include things like:

Presence – you either have this or you do not. You know what I am talking about, some people walk into a room, and they OWN the room. They can talk to anyone, and build trust/enthusiasm, motivation.

Out of the Box Solutions – these people do not look for common solutions or problems they look for improvements and design systems and procedures that make sense and are innovative. They are efficiency junkies. Most are driven by technology but not all. They are great collaborative players as they feed off others and their ideas. In their presence you can hear the gears turning in their brain.

Natural Leadership – True leaders do not need titles, structure, or direct reports to have a following. They grow their following by being an advocate, approachable, a great listener and a sharer of success. Genuinely great leaders have their egos in check as well.

Competitive Drive – Folks that are highly competitive can and do up the game of almost every employee they work with. There are some caveats to this, and you can’t have too many highly competitive people in a group or it becomes a “game of thrones” Ha.

Conflict Management – I am continually surprised by how few people can do this and do it well. If you have ever been in a situation where emotions run high, and the other person ends up defusing this situation it is really an art form. Also, gifted people in this area just do not make a big deal of this process. It happens and it gets resolved without a bunch of fuss or muss!

Simplification – these are people that can quickly understand a complex situation and turnaround and make it understandable to most people. These are SMART people that have extraordinarily little ego and who tend to be surrounded by smart people. Truly the purple unicorn in the recruiting world.

If you have one of these “superpowers” there are ways to use them during an interview or job search to nail your chances of getting an offer.

I am going to give you a couple of vague examples of candidates that have identified “superpowers” and we either encouraged them to do something for an interview or sold that skill to the client in a discussion.

1. Had a wonderful candidate walk through the door, who was getting ready for an interview and needed a bit of coaching. I knew this person and was happy to visit with them. About 5 minutes into our discussion their “superpower” was evident. I let them work through their thoughts on the interview to see if they could get to the point of nailing what they needed to do. They were interviewing for a high-profile role which I could see was going to be a match but they needed to think outside the box. I “gently” (ya I’m not gentle ha ha) stopped the discussion and ask them to do the interview as if they were in the role and talk to the interview committee by doing a presentation as they would do in the role they were interviewing for. Once people see you in the role, you are golden ……. A bit of a risky strategy and I was not 100% sure the person would do it but a week later they told me they got the role and did the presentation. Yahoo! Their “superpower” was their “presence” and “communication style” and the fact it was a great match lead to the success of that hire.

2. The next situation was we had set up a candidate to interview with a client who was undergoing a merger so a lot of changes and unhappy employees and a lot of uncertainty. This person’s “superpower” was their Natural Leadership, so I did a bit more of a briefing with them on the group they were going into and we decided that we wanted to do a mock performance view at the interview. Worked like a charm ... the interviewer took the role on of the unhappy employee and the interviewee did the role of the supervisor. It went well. The client loved the approach, and the candidate loved the clients reception to this. It was a win-win-win (I’m the last win) It was a risk and so you have to have a high-risk comfort.

I am not afraid of failure as I encountered it early in my life. I was held back in Grade 2. I was not picking up the Phonics component of reading so was struggling. Reading is important. It was embarrassing and I was labeled as “slow or stupid”. Now, I knew I was not, but began at the early age of 7 trying to problem solve and figure out why I was having problems with this. I started changing a few things at school to try and figure out what was wrong. I noticed that I did better when I sat at the very front of the class and when I was one-on-one with the teacher. Maybe I was just not focused or paying enough attention. So that is what I did for the rest of my school life, and I did just fine. I began noticing that I could read lips by the age of 10 and used that extensively but I assume everyone could. I was one of those “close talkers” and invaded people’s personal space ….. sorry to all the people that I did this too.

It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I went for a hearing test and was diagnosed with significant hearing loss. It all made sense to me then. The first time I worn my hear aid, I heard a sound I had never heard before. It was snow crunching on my shoes when I walked. I cried …… I could hear conversations in other rooms and heard birds chirping, crazy shit like that! So weird and so noisy! It took awhile to get use to my new ears’, and I had a wonking headache for a month but soon learned to love them.

Technology is so cool and so is being hearing challenged. I get to decide when I want to hear and when I do not. That is a superpower, as it allows me to enter a very quiet world and decompress. Most can not do that, and it really is awesome!

Now, I mentioned the lip-reading thing early on. Apparently, this is NOT a common thing and I have gotten some valuable information and some not so nice information when I can do this. You do get to know what people think of you when you are 100 feet away and they know you can’t hear them but …….. I could lip read soooooo …… there was that.

Also, it is true for me, that when you have something not quite up to speed, some of your other sense pick up the slack so to speak. For me I also have a VERY GOOD MEMORY. Almost Photographic. Which came in super handy in the recruiting/hr world.

I encourage you all to focus and figure out what is truly special about you and then figure out how to showcase that skill to employers. Take Risks, trust your uniqueness! Ordinary is not what you need to strive for.

Good Luck!

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