Friday, May 08, 2009
Great Big Hairy Recruiting Brain
A few years ago, I was lucky enough to get picked by Jason Davis (RecruitingBlogs.com) to be on a panel at the Kennedy Info Recruiting Conference. The topic: blogging. The night before the conference started I sat at a table and shared a meal with Jason, John Sumser, Steve Rothberg, and Jim Durbin.
Truth be known, I felt a bit like the cabin-boy listening in on the conversation in the Captain's quarters. Not that anybody made me feel like the cabin-boy...on the contrary, if you've had the privilege of sharing a meal with any of these sailors, you know just how gracious they are.
Although I'd been interacting with and reading Sumser's thoughts for some time, I'd never met him. I just knew he was smart - that he oftentimes aggravated recruiters who are easily provoked - and that I wasn't deep enough to grasp the gist of his articles in one, fell swoop. John made me slow down. In a world of quick-fixes and fast talkers, Sumser's thoughts required that I down-shift and begin the process of "thinking" anew.
Now, introductions, food and drinks aside, fast-forward to the end of the meal. Our plates are cleared and we've gradually worked our way around the table turning the world of recruiting on its ear (at least I thought so). Prior to the meal, I would have summed up John Sumser in two words: Recruiting Brain. But as I sipped the after-dinner coffee I decided to add three additional words: Great Big Hairy (as in Great Big Hairy Recruiting Brain).
The latter description has nothing to do with John being a big, hairy beast. Although, you must admit, he's got a pretty cool head of hair. Rather, it has more to do with the fact that my respect for John's involvement within the recruiting community exploded after meeting him in person.
Yep, he's one sharp cat. He's also amazingly gracious, inclusive, and genuinely concerned with the health of the recruiting community (more so than most recruiters who are actually doing the job of recruiting each day). And the questions...holy smokes! John keeps us real by asking questions. Questions aren't easy. They make us squirm - sweat - THINK. And that's all good. Because that's what helps us grow. If we are open to it.
In the pure joy of the moment, I love giving an unscripted high-five to a teammate whose only thought is, "We did it! Great job!" It's very clear - it's not about them; their focus is on the team, and they derive pleasure in knowing they've done something to further the team's cause.
That's how I feel about Sumser. In a world where 'personal branding' efforts have taken on a life of their own, it feels good to acknowledge a teammate who continues (over the long haul) doing his part to prod us on - encourage us in the fight - ask the hard questions (without the expectation of pay-back or retweet).
If you don't believe me, just read his latest post.
That's right. He's a Great Big Hairy Recruiting Brain.
There, I said it.