Are you worth recruiting?
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job Search
If you know anything about me, you know that I’m really into football. And I mean really into it! One Saturday, last month, was a tough day. Three big games on television at the same time. Should I watch Ohio State and Penn State battle it in the Big 10? Or maybe Stanford and Oregon in the Pac-10? Or, what really was the biggest game of all, Alabama against LSU – fighting for who would go to the SEC championship game. I ended up starting off with Ohio State. They were talking about Tyrell Pryor – and what a great athlete he is, but what a lousy job Ohio State has done with its recruiting class (especially the offensive line).
Recruiting from high school is pretty simple. You’re big. You make big plays. You’re big. You play for a big team. You’re big (did I mention that already?). You attend camps and combines. You might get a shot.
When colleges are recruiting the upcoming class, they’re always looking for amazing talent. And very specific talent I might add. They recruit for key positions. They look for talent to fill those positions. And they fill those positions first. When you look at the recruiting sites like Rivals and Scout, you’ll find the top-rated recruits by position. AND…then, when you can’t fit them into a category (because they have many talents – but not necessarily a single standout), they get assigned the role of ATH (Athlete). And this means, “We know they’re good, but we’re not sure where to play this person yet. We’re going to try them out in a couple of positions and see where they can offer the greatest contribution to the team.” Coaches are taking a risk with these recruits, so they fill in key positions first. Then typically recruit ATHs to fill in the gaps.
This got me thinking about job seekers. Too often, I see them position themselves as the equivalent of an ATH. Let me tell you what I hear when you say things like:
YOU SAY: “I have a lot of strengths, so I don’t want to limit my focus.”
I HEAR: “I’m not really sure what I’m best at.”
YOU SAY: “I’m a HR generalist.”
I HEAR: “If you’re looking for someone to solve a specific problem, I’m not the right fit.”
YOU SAY: “I’m strong in finance, operations, marketing and sales.”
I HEAR: “I’m not really good at any one thing, but I’m relatively mediocre at all of these. Maybe if a company wanted to combine them, they could have me for ¼ the price (and ¼ the talent) they’d pay for people who are REALLY good at each one of these disciplines.”
Too many times, I hear people say “well, I could do a lot of things.” Guess what? Companies aren’t typically looking for people that can do a lot of things. They’re looking for people who can do one thing amazingly well (and then a lot of other things pretty good!). And they’re looking for that talent who solved virtually the same exact problem they’re currently facing.
Recently, at one of our meetings, Sara was talking about her background. She’s looking for a CIO-level position. She started off with the typical CIO-spiel (people, process, technology). I asked her a few questions. What makes you different? What makes you interesting? What talent do you have that ensures you stand out above everyone else? After a little bit of prodding, it came out that Sara has a real talent for companies with high transaction volumes. Now we’re getting somewhere. Now we can actually start focusing. Now we can start identifying the logical targets that would see incredible value from Sara’s skill set. Add to that a few key issues she solved while maintaining that millions of transaction volume, and Sara just turned her ATH equivalent of a CIO into a 5-star rated CIO.
When you are you going to finally realize that specific really is terrific? And more vague just brings on more plague? Specific finds great opportunities. Vague keeps you on the couch watching Oprah and eating Bon Bons.
It’s time you owned up to the fact that you’re better at some things than others, and quit acting like you can do everything (because, honestly, you just sound really insecure and unfocused).
So, back to the games. Which one did I end up watching? Well, after Ohio State looked like they were going to take down Penn State, I moved over to the Oregon game (featuring Jacquizz Rodgers – not an ATH recruit in case you were wondering!). Amazing! Almost 100 total points scored! Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you recruit. If your defense decides not to show up for the game, there’s not a lot you can do.