My entire life, I have been a problem solver and a puzzle enthusiast. I love looking at a situation and having a brain that can take in info and wrap itself around something that looks a little scary. In a pickle? I’m great at giving advice, digging around to find the root of the problem and coming up with a solution that makes things work… and if I can’t figure it out right away or by myself, I’m the kind of girl who uses her resources to get where we need to go.
In my most recent job, I was presented with the daily opportunity to help local business figure out their staffing issues. Finding the right staff member for a business is like helping someone choose a family member. If you choose the right skills with the wrong attitude, it can spread and cause so many problems in a team environment.
A new client once came to me with a common problem. They had been searching for a high-profile administrator for months and hadn’t had any luck. This particular administrator had to be able to manage the desk of the company president, so they required wizard-like levels of professionalism and organization while having the right personality to mesh with the company culture. They had been working with another staffing firm and had been recruiting on their own and hadn’t come up with a successful candidate.
The first thing I did was gather information. I asked question upon question to make sure that I understood what the job functions were and what technical skills were required to be successful. I warned my contact ahead of time that I was going to be thorough… after about 10 minutes of questioning, she laughed and thanked me for the warning. She was happy for the thoroughness and the gazillion questions that I brought to the table.
Once I had finished the inquisition, I booked a visit to see the workspace, just in case I had missed something or if I had more questions. I was also going to bring a sample of resumes with me just to see if they were a good fit.
On my visit, I really found out what the workplace was like and what was important to them. There was an indescribable “spark” that they were looking for that was difficult to quantify just by looking at a resume. Skills weren’t the most important thing… it was the “spark” that would put a candidate above and beyond others. The resumes that I had brought with me had great skills, but upon review, they didn’t have the spark that the client was looking for… back to the drawing board.
The next day, I looked back on my candidates, refocused my attention on spark and located 3 awesome, sparkly candidates who had the majority of the skills that my client was looking for – they looked good to the client so we sent them in for interviews. The interviews went well – these people definitely had SPARK!
After passing along some reference info, I heard back with some great news… They had picked one of my people and wanted them to start right away. As I hung up the phone, I was elated… I had completed in the span of 7 business days what the company (assisted by my competition) had not been able to achieve in several months of searching.
My relationship with this new client continued to be a strong one after I was able to solve their problem and although I am no longer in the same role to be able to assist them in this capacity, I know that this first interaction that I had with them added success to their organization and had solidified my reputation as someone who Asks, Listens and Thinks her way through a problem.
The key to solving this problem really was in the questions. Finding out what was truly important to the client (beyond the black and white skills needed to perform the job) made the difference in this case. Understanding the right fit led to the solution of this problem! After I had a handle on the right fit, it was easy – and made finding their next person even easier on both of us.
So keep me in mind if you have a problem to solve and need an extra brain to think on it. Two heads are usually better than one!
**In related news, I’m still working on one of my goals for the year… The Logic Puzzle book is slowly being completed. Some of them are toughies, so I’m keeping my work in pencil. :)