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Well it’s finally happened. After a long yet precarious run, I’ve finally be shut down by LinkedIn. The reasons for this are long, complicated, and historic. However, to summarise, there seems to be only a certain number of times people can complain about your blog, your profanity, or your burning desire to call knob-heads, well, knob-heads, before an algorithm kicks into gear. Next thing you know, you’re on a warning. Continue to highlight to the world that Chris Luxon believes a tiny bundle of dividing cells should be allowed to multiply in a woman’s body no matter the circumstances, and you’re gone. Unlike many people who moan about such a predicament, I’ve found it strangely liberating. My LinkedIn connection list, although large, was also filled with a lot of irrelevant people. I’m not being mean, I’m sure they’re relevant to many, but not to my daily recruitment life. What that meant was that my LinkedIn feed was largely clutter. And when you start viewing things as “clutter” you start missing the good stuff sprinkled in-between. So although my profile was banned, those of you who can type “Sean Walters” into a LinkedIn search box will still be able to find me and connect. This time round though, I’m ignoring those Congolese Princes.

This of course is “not my first rodeo”. Those Recruiters who live in Titirangi (and there’s a few), may have noticed my once sporadic posting in the local community Facebook page coming to an abrupt end. Same reason as above. In fact, I have had run-ins with every digital platform I’ve ever posted on. Although this typically marks the actions of a troll, in my defence, I would argue that very few people who meet me in real life go on to find my internet-based musings in any way offensive. They hear it from my voice, and know that I’m most probably exaggerating, joking, or quite simply a mischievous child. And this brings me to the actual topic of today’s blog; the importance of tone.

In the early stages of my career, I worked for a tone-obsessed boss. We would go on client visits together, driving from his home in North London to the Midlands. Instead of listening to “The Best Top Gear Driving Anthems EVER!! Vol 3” like most normal men, he would have me practicing my opening introductory line when making a headhunt call. Not a couple of times, but for the whole f*cking journey. At the time, this was incredibly painful. Most 24 year old think they know it all, and after three repetitions, I thought I had it nailed. It was only in later years that I recognised the importance of what he was trying to do. In the Recruitment game, how you say something is more powerful than what you say. Let me give you some examples.

Last week I received some fantastic feedback from a Recruitment Agency client. They described an interview with my candidate as the best they have ever had with a Recruiter. When I spoke to the candidate, he felt he didn’t perform very well. When I probed as to why, he said that he wasn’t really asked any questions for him to demonstrate his ability or track record. Here’s the thing with this candidate; he has a way of talking, of looking you in the eye, of shaking your hand, of sharing a joke, that just oozes credibility. He could walk into an interview for any job, and although struggle technically, probably get himself to second stage. Whether by nature or nurture, he has a tone and command of the English language that will mean he’ll always be OK. Likewise, I was prepping a candidate for interview on Monday. She has a burning desire to break into a new industry. Being unassuming in nature, the challenge we have is that she says all the right things, but in all the wrong ways. My job as a recruiter certainly isn’t to give her the cheat sheet for interviewing, but it is to put a proverbial rocket up her arse when it comes to demonstrating her desire. Whether this worked on not, I am yet to find out. Likewise, when we are pitching a role to a candidate, it is my belief that only 30% should be information about the role, and 70% should focus on the passion that we can inject into the opportunity or business. Most of my candidates are told surprisingly little about the role, as these things are subject to change. Instead, I focus on the culture, the leader, and the future opportunity. And when it comes to the written word, it takes real skill to convey tone to those who haven’t met the author. Speaking with a Recruiter towards the end of last year, they were telling me that they were privy to a conversation amongst a group of recruiters about this very blog. We’ve had 4 regular pensmiths over the past 12 years, and all of us have managed to ruffle feathers. Interestingly, out of the group discussing the blog, about half liked it, and half didn’t. Unsurprisingly, those who did like us knew at least a couple of the authors. Conveying tone to a stranger via 500 words is a skill I’m yet to master.


Anyway, enough from me today. Have a wonderful long Weekend Auckland, and feel free to connect by whatever means you choose.