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Recruiters Who Mine for the Best

Author: Kim Zastrow

A recruiter, in the most basic job description, helps companies find potential candidates. There are many steps along the way, including acquiring knowledge of the company and open positions, seeking candidates, screening candidates, conducting interviews, and making recommendations to companies. But, is that all there is, a simple “matchmaking”?

While inherently possessing characteristics in common, all humans are unique.  Yet the title “Human Resources” has lost much of its humanity.  What do we mean by that?

Due to the increase of software programs that process skills possessed with skills wanted, a recruiter often just has to correctly manage the software, and voila!  The program generates a list of suitable clients for an open position.  At Operations Toolbox, we hold our candidates and client companies in high esteem, worthy of more than a simple computer-generated model.  I instill in my recruiters that these are people who have lives, families, and career goals.  It’s up to us as people, not machines, to help candidates in every way possible to attain their best. 

As an example…

Picture a middle-aged woman named Debbie walking through the glass doors of our staffing agency.  She is clearly nervous, clutching a manila folder in her left hand with her right hand securely fastened to her purse strap.  It’s obvious she’s used a home hair-coloring kit.  She’s wearing a black, mid-calf skirt, nylons, black patent low block heels, and a shiny green blouse with long sleeves and matching bow at the neckline.  Debbie remembers hearing (years ago) that if she was to be interviewed by a woman, she should wear green, and if she was being interviewed by a man, she should wear blue.  Those tips were supposed to improve her chances of being hired. 

If you were the recruiter, your heart might sink.  The world passed Debbie by decades ago.  Who would hire her except some aging family dentist on the verge of retirement?  “I’m not a magician,” you may be thinking.

How do I give Debbie the best possible opportunity?

After I had owned this company for several years, I went through a time period when I lacked energy and drive.  We invest much time in coaching a job seeker, but occasionally, after all that investment, the candidate won’t show up for the interview.  Other times, candidates will seek to bypass our protocols and contact the employer directly and negotiate their own terms.  In addition to these elements, competing companies will cut corners, tainting the image of our industry.  All of these variables, and the risk associated with staking one’s reputation on the performance of other individuals, contributed to a great amount of frustration and disappointment until I changed the way I was viewing things. 

Human behavior is unpredictable at times.  Sure, we may try to quantify and discern the will of the candidate, but in the end, a person will do what he or she wants to do, no matter how we try to direct or improve the results.  I cannot change those factors, but what I can adjust is my, and by extension, my recruiters’ attitudes. 

By focusing on the fact that our work has real, tangible results for improvement in the life of the candidate, we turned around the pall of negativity that had resulted from the other inconsistencies.  We started caring more about people because we changed our thinking.  Our business is not just matchmaking, it’s more like mining—silver mining to be specific.

Silver, unlike gold, is rarely found as nuggets.  More often it’s combined with elements such as sulfur, arsenic, or chlorine.  It doesn’t take a chemist to know that two of those have repelling odors, and another is considered a poison.  Yet, silver mining is highly profitable.  The resource is extracted through numerous processes and steps.  It’s similar with extracting and refining the best in our recruits.  Frequently, they are not even aware of their own personal strengths and talents.  We help them to discover and value what is hidden and not readily apparent.  This of course builds their self-esteem and leads to more productivity.  Getting back to our earlier example of Debbie, yes, she may have been out of touch with the workforce for decades, but through careful extraction of the inner person, we find out that she possesses outstanding skills for organization, working well with others, and won’t miss a day of work.

We don’t know, and shouldn’t judge, what led Debbie to this point.  The fact of the matter is that she has come to our business seeking to improve her life.  We care about that.  If we as recruiters get discouraged because of the unpredictable nature of humans, our thinking needs to change.  Our work as recruiters has value, and it has a profound impact on people’s lives.


We’re not in the jobs business; we’re in the people business.


Operations Toolbox is a premier recruiting and staffing company because of our focus on the individual needs of both companies and candidates.  Our goal is to provide the best fit for the needs of both parties and at the same time to elevate the level of skill and business being provided.  Why not see what we can do for you?


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