The key is still people, article by John Sumser

To the extent that current systems perpetuate the myth that data constitutes a relationship, they are major contributors to the problem.

People are the heart of business. Good recruiting, retention based on personal desire, great customer relationships, solid team work, clear delivery of results and, increasingly, any business success, requires mastery of relationships.

Relationships are hard to develop in volume and many people take statistical shortcuts in processes that develop relationships based on the luck of the draw. The reason that Direct Marketing techniques generally have a bad name is that they tend to treat people like objects instead of approaching the contact as a precursor to a deeper form of relationship. The message is “if I can figure out what value you bring to me, I will invest in a deeper relationship.”

No good relationship begins with the proposition that it depends on the value I’ll get.

Good relationships begin with the question, “What value can I give?” They start with the notion that the “objects of our desire” are people first. When people are “objects” first, the very beginning of the relationship is sowed with the seeds of its ultimate failure.

In situations that require people to sift through volumes of potential relationships, the tendency to objectify feels like a shortcut to successful completion of the task. Reviewing hundreds of resumes to arrive at a “shortlist” of ten, which will be sifted to an interview pool of three is a task that demands sensitivity to data and the nuances of personal PR. Remembering that each resume represents the desires, hopes, aspirations (and sometimes desperation) of a person is a nearly superhuman task that requires the constant availability of forgiveness, a sense of humor, and a willingness to see beyond the surface information. It is tremendously hard to keep this perspective fresh and foremost, particularly in a reactive environment.

Rather than focusing on being “x-kind of Relationship Manager” most ATS systems (or CRM systems for that matter) might be better called Potential Relationship Databases. Like the personals section of the local newspaper, they give a lonely recruiter or salesperson the opportunity to initiate a relationship. Yet, it is the process of evolving and maturing relationships that characterizes real sales or recruiting effectiveness. It’s a process that can be supported, but never automated, because it involves the feelings of the person doing the recruiting or selling.

While there are tons of sales training programs, we have not found either a managerial training program or a recruiter’s training program that focuses on a simple truth: Your effectiveness depends on how you feel about yourself and others.

All of the sourcing and record keeping programs in the world won’t begin to compensate for a recruiting process that treats potential candidates as objects. To the extent that current systems perpetuate the myth that data constitutes a relationship, they are major contributors to the problem.

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