Talent Circles

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Recruiting, Like Life is Not Linear

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Have you heard about the unemployed man who dropped out of college? He had worked as a cook, a salesman, a diplomatist and a farmer. He knew nothing about marketing and had never written any copy. Yet, at the age of 38 he professed his passion for advertising and started his new pursuit in the ad world, willing to work for $5,000 a year.

Would you hire him?

Did you know that an ad agency actually did hire him in fact? And, three years later, David Ogilvy became one of the most famous copywriters and grew one of the biggest agencies in the world.

Ogilvy & Mather recently shared this founder’s story along with this moral: It sometimes pays an agency to be imaginative and unorthodox in hiring.

I can relate to David Ogilvy’s career path. My career journey has always been in the area of recruitment, but it has been far from a simple linear path. When I look back, I clearly can see that the most difficult times throughout my career are what have led me to the most fulfilling moments. The challenges grew me professionally and I now see value in those big shifts that have shaped me into the professional I am today.

In fact, many of us understand that today’s talent will represent multiple shifts throughout their careers. It is no longer our parent’s job market with a workforce who is committed to one company for decades.

How about you and your career journey? What were the unexpected obstacles that you were faced with that brought you to your current role? Most industry professionals did not go to college to begin working in HR. They fell in. They rolled with the punches. This is what makes for a successful recruiter, professional and businessperson.

Remembering how non-linear our professional routes have been can help us realize the untapped potential other candidates, who may seem to have a convoluted career path too, may have to offer. Understanding all that we have achieved along the way may also help us better manage our own endeavors that challenge us in the work place.

We all tend to seek simple solutions and avoid the people and tasks that are complicated. However, are we missing real value when we skim through life only choosing what is easy, convenient and conventional?

After all, life, processes and business are just learning journeys with opportunities to grow. The obstacles and challenges that force us to change and improve may be big projects you are tasked with, such as new hiring or recruiting technology that you need to research and implement within your organization. Maybe your boss just added 50 new job requisitions on your desk.

Recruitment is a lot like life. The journey we took to arrive to this industry and take on our current role has not been linear. The path was not a simple step-by-step process. Yet, here we are.

It’s not easy. It’s not simple. Let’s stop planning for simple. Let’s trouble shoot and expect challenging, the complex.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

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