Am I Smarter Than A 5th Grader?

on 05 | 02 | 2011

Posted by: Eric Larson

Last month, I took part in an outstanding internal training class hosted by Riviera Partners’ Operations team, and the moment we began discussing the topics of culture and service, it suddenly struck me – becoming a good recruiter requires abiding by some of the same principles we’ve all been taught since childhood (side note: essentially the same lessons I try to instill in my own kids, every day).  Ironically, I came to the realization that as obvious as some of these principles may be, it takes hard work (and periodic reminders) to apply them in our own adult professional lives. I have compiled a listing of some of the topics we discussed below.

Set clear goals

  • Once you know what you need to accomplish, make a plan. It helps to know how and when you want to do it. With this approach, you are much more likely to do things right the first time.

Focus your energy on things that matter

  • Don’t let trivial tasks take time away from the things that are really important.  Make a daily “to do” list and prioritize each item.

Be punctual

  • Timeliness is one of the most basic elements of respect. When you’re late, you convey the message that you believe your time and schedule is more important than others’.

Respond to people in a short amount of time

  • This is true whether it is a friend asking you to a movie or a client asking about a report – no response actually IS a response…it’s just not a good one.

Keep communications open and be transparent

  • This is much easier said than done, but when you have open lines of communication, many of these other pieces fall into place.

Appearance and body language are important

  • Maintain eye contact; it shows you are interested in the person, and not who’s walking in the door or what’s going on behind them.
  • Shake hands firmly.  Many a first impression has been made based on a simple handshake.

Accept responsibility

  • And most importantly, own your mistakes.  Then, make amends by fixing what is broken.

Be open to constructive criticism

  • It may be difficult to hear, but listening to constructive criticism gives you the chance to learn and grow from your mistakes.  Take a deep breath, really think about what has been said to you, and most importantly, don’t interpret the message as a personal attack.

Only promise what you can deliver

  • “Under promise – over deliver” one of the best concepts ever taught to me.

Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. It’s OK not to know the answer to every question.

  • It’s better to say you will “look into it,” and get back to a person, rather than trying to bluff your way through a conversation and backtrack later.

Don’t ignore problems

  • A small problem can easily snowball and become something much more difficult to fix. The sooner you deal with the issue, the better.  And remember, in person or by phone is ALWAYS the best method of communication – email should not be an option here.

Lead by example

  • It’s easy to “talk the talk”.  Not always so easy to walk.

Get to know the people around you and treat them all with respect

  • Go beyond learning more than names. Try to commit to memory at least one interesting fact about each person you meet.  You’d be amazed by the impressions you will make on people by this simple gesture.

Remember that, above all, morals and values matter

  • Always maintain the highest level of integrity in all of your business and personal relationships.  Make this the keystone of your life.

Nothing new here, right? Now correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t we all been working on these since grade school? So, perhaps, the formula for success is much more simple then we ever imagined; maybe all we need to do is remember these basic, 5th grade principles and we can find success in whatever we do.

If I had only listened to my parents the first 50 times they tried to teach me all of this…

I guess I owe them a call.