As the Spring semester commences, intense recruiting begins for third-year MPAs. While technical knowledge is crucial, it’s interpersonal skills that make or break a recruit on this field. Keep in mind, even if you are interested in a firm, that firm is not going to be interested in you unless they perceive you are interested in it. In other words, this is not merely an “avoid losing” situation; it is imperative that you demonstrate to recruiters that you are interested in them.
Why am I bringing this up? (1) A recent study by MIT and (2) two commercials that just irk the hell out of me.
CBS Sunday Morning had a segment on charisma. What charisma actually is is still inexplicable. However, it is undeniable that really successful people have it…whatever it is. (Even the etymology of the word comes from the Greek word for “gift.”) Notwithstanding, researchers at MIT devised what was called a “sociometer” which, as best as an accountant can explain, tried to measure the energy that one radiated. Movement of the hands, inflections of the voice, etc… contributed to giving off more energy.
What’s the point? The point is that MPAs have a LOT of charisma. Recruiting is not the time to be nervous or shy, unless you want to be overlooked. Without being overbearing, use your personality, listen genuinely, and become interested. This will help make recruiting successful for you.
I realize that these commercials were intended to be funny. I do. I laughed at them the first time I saw them.
And then I realized I have a handful of friends that are exactly like these commercials, and honestly, this type of behavior frustrates me.
And Exhibit 2:
Regardless of recruiting, this is atrocious conduct. Atrocious. I admit I’m no Johnny Carson, and I’ll give you that I use the same cell phone Fred Flintstone does, but it’s truly irritating when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone, and that person is entranced with his or her phone.
While these phones are cool, the characters in these commercials are not. And for the sake of etiquette, they shouldn’t be portrayed as cool. (Can you hear me now, AT&T?)
As recruiting season comes around the bend, remember that the ability to hold a conversation is what will really give you a boost. Everyone from the MPA Program will know debits and credits, but what is truly valuable is the ability to extract information from your clients. This entails the ability to build trust and rapport through the art of conversation. Fear not, but please remember that for recruiting to go as you want it, a passive approach will not work.
Actively talk with (and actively listen to) recruiters, learn names, and remember people; you will find yourself more marketable.