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This Recruiter's Journey

I’ve been a recruiter for most of my professional life but the journey from where I started to the path I’m on today has been far from preordained. One thing in my life that has always remained the same? I’ve always been an outlier in any group I’ve been a part of, for as long as I can remember, so it makes complete sense that I would continue in this vein and be different from most recruiters. According to Dictionary.com the definition of the word “outlier” is a person or thing differing from most other members of a particular group or set.

Today, I am an outlier when it comes to most corporate recruiters, and/or talent acquisition folks because I have a fairly unique perspective as a middle-aged white woman working with, for, and on behalf of, an overwhelming majority of both people of color; as well as people born and raised outside the United States.

So I’m mainstream, but not mainstream, because of the people who’ve been my teachers, intentionally or not, for the past twenty years. Still an outlier.

From the first company I worked for where I was in the minority to now, here’s what I learned: there are different perspectives in this world formed in large part by the race, ethnicity and/or nationality of the person I’m interacting with that are both understandable and appropriate based on their life experiences both in and out of the United States, as well as their interactions with those people who make up the current mainstream in the U.S.

I have also found this to be true: other factors (culture and environment) color one’s perspectives beyond race, ethnicity or gender. For example, someone’s perspective and point of view could also be affected because of their age, sexual preference, marital status, socio-economic status, or geography.

Understanding and accepting this was not easy for me initially. Some days were downright ugly and far from rewarding.

Step by step, here’s my journey:

Step 1: Assume the Golden Rule always applies. You know, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Step 2: PAINFULLY find out that it doesn’t after making assumptions, stepping on lots of toes and having to suffer the consequences.

Step 3: Apologize, open my heart, and learn.

Step 4: Trip. A lot. Get back up. Repeat.

Step 5: Finally get it and begin to use this knowledge by leveraging what I’ve learned into the way I interact with others.

Step 6: Spread the gospel (evangelize, in a non-religious way) to hiring managers, corporate recruiters/talent acquisition folks and co-workers.

Step 7: Encounter denial and an extreme resistance to changing the status quo.

Step 8: React (get mad and quit) or rise above (find another way to help others connect the dots.) I chose the latter.

Step 9: Embrace being an outlier and use my perspective to help others.

Step 10: As an outlier, teach hiring managers, corporate recruiters and talent acquisition folks how to attract, engage, assess, and hire candidates who do not look, act, or speak like the mainstream within the company’s current corporate culture in order to increase revenue long term.

How’s it going so far? To be continued…..

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