My apprenticeship in recruiting was experience-based. I took seminars on topics such as hiring the right talent, legal concerns for interviewing, the do’s and don’ts of hiring, and how to negotiate salary.
My manager was primarily client-focused, and I found myself working with the candidates in qualifying, discovering/teeing up applicants in a proper representation, and learning the art of holding people accountable for interest and claims to fame. Between traditional education and guided experience, I was up to speed in a year’s time.
I’ve also had the pleasure of the other side of mentoring – being the mentor. For the last 3 years I have been working with my protégé, who, although new to the industry, has gained a quick knowledge of the challenges of this industry. We’ve had an ongoing exchange, so she understands not only what’s and how’s of recruiting, but also the why’s. To become a reputable recruiter, one must have a broad understanding of motivation, communication style, corporate cultures, company protocol, and more. The details are endless. It’s been a very beneficial learning process for the both of us, she in an accelerated learning-mode and I’m developing my abilities as an effective communicator and mentor.
The Importance of Mentoring
Not all mentor-mentee relationships originate from the needs of a company. However, most would agree that mentoring can significantly influence an individual’s career in a positive manner. It is beneficial for the mentee and the mentor.
According to a recent study led by Catalyst Magazine, “High potentials that were developing a protégé had $25,075 greater compensation growth from 2008 to 2010.” The study also demonstrated that developing others is a significant predictor of career advancement. People who pay it forward are recognized by their peers and managers for going above and beyond.
Mentoring gives people the ability to stretch in their own career, to see things from a different perspective, and rise to the challenge of making positive changes. The keys to any mentoring program are relevance and consistency, as well as a synchronicity between the mentor and mentee.
Seeking a Mentor
When looking for a mentor, be clear about your needs and expectations. Write down specifically what role you want this mentor to play in your career. Do you want industry knowledge? A better understanding of social media? Or are you just not being taken seriously by your manager? Clarify your expectations, goals, and objectives, and that will ensure that you find the right mentor and embark on a beneficial relationship.
Look for your mentors beyond the workplace. Seek out mentors at business associations (like Rotary or Chamber of Commerce) or other gatherings (such as at church) in your area, non-profit organizations, your alma mater, or even within your family. Once you find a potential mentor, who is suitable, ask for a meeting to discuss the possibility of engaging in a mentorship. Be sure to have a detailed conversation that fully takes into account terms, expectations, and scheduling/frequency of meetings, as well as the reason you would like this mentor.
If you are looking to gain a knowledge in various areas through a mentor, you may want to utilize a variety of mentors who have different expertise/perspective. In many cases that gives you the best learning potential.
Finding suitable mentors takes practice and persistence. Constant networking is critical. Be prepared to explain what you hope to learn from the individual, and why you value his or her insights and expertise. Keep in mind that you need to have an offering/bring value to the relationship. In what ways can you help your mentor?
A bold approach is an important element in setting the stage for a mentor-mentee situation. You want to develop long-standing relationships with mentors, as that will transform your career.
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I belong to group of consultants called ACE (Association for Consulting Expertise) who have the tagline “success through collaboration.” We are a group of 65 consultants who live primarily in S. Maine and have a monthly meeting on the 3rd week of every month on Fridays. Our program has a keynote speaker (typically from outside the group) and a round-table discussion immediately following. One of our members showcases their expertise on a given topic – and include several take away points for the audience.
On February 20th at the Portland Country Club at 7:30am, I will be facilitating the round-table discussion on Mentoring. We will talk about how our members have benefited from mentorship. The public is welcome to attend! Feel free to call (207) 878 8831, if you have questions.
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Vantage Point is led by Jay Casavant, who founded the firm in 2007 after being in the high tech recruitment business for 22 years.