Listening: The Lost Art

In the age of technology and the fast-paced culture of NYC in particular, we often forget to look up from our computers or cell phones and build a connection with people. Whether it’s dating, spending time with friends, or in the workplace, the art of listening has sadly been lost.

In the context of the workplace, and recruiting in particular, I have found that a lot of recruiters forget to take the time to listen to their candidates and what they’re actually looking for. I cannot tell you how many candidates, with whom I meet weekly, complain how other agencies don’t listen to what they actually want or need. They come in looking for the next step in their career as a staff accountant, and recruiters are pedal-pushing accounts payable clerk roles on them; or a receptionist is looking to take on more responsibility and progress into an office manager role, but yet, they’re only being offered receptionist opportunities.

Where is the disconnect? When did we get so lost that we forgot the purpose of being a recruiter– helping candidates find a job that meets both their wants and needs? It’s time for recruiters to go back to the basics and discover the lost art of listening.

In my career, I have been both the interviewer and the interviewee, both the candidate and the recruiter. I have worked with recruiters who asked me to tell them about myself and my background, as they stare aimlessly at their computers answering emails, leaving a lull of awkward silence. On the flip side, I have also had the pleasure of working with amazing recruiters who remember more about me from our five minute conversation, than some people I’ve known for years. All because they took the time to listen.

Despite your morals, beliefs, or religious affiliation, we all are aware of ‘The Golden Rule’—treat others as you would like to be treated. When I sit with a candidate who’s concerned that I’ll just be another one of “those recruiters,” I make sure to let them know that is not, and will never be the case while working with me or anyone else here at Russell Tobin. We will listen to your story, because we want to hear it.

Stephanie Carrick

Stephanie is an Associate Recruiter on the Accounting and Finance team at Russell Tobin. She sits in the NY office, focusing primarily on permanent staffing and business development.

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