Most billionaires in the world have had, or currently have mentors. So, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by explaining why having one’s a good idea. Unless of course you’re already a billionaire?
Sure you might be doing just fine right now, but there’s always room for progress.
You might be top biller?
But even if you’re billing more than everyone you know, you’re not the best recruiter you could be.
The good news is, reaching the upper echelons of £1m in a calendar year isn’t out of your reach.
To improve your work and as a by-product, your success, bringing on a mentor might be the missing piece of the puzzle.
But getting one isn’t easy. Just like your rise to success now hasn’t. It takes effort and dedication. But with the right approach, it’s very doable.
This is the first step and arguably the most important. There’s an abundance of highly successful people in recruitment, or indeed any industry. Finding them won’t be difficult. Try and get a shortlist, just like putting together a shortlist for a client.
Aim for five people. Not all of them will be willing or able to help you.
Don’t simply ask the top biller or Director of your current agency. In fact don’t ask anyone you already know. It’s important the mentor you choose doesn’t feel obliged in any way to help you. That’s not a mentor. And don’t go for someone completely unaccessible. Yes, Richard Branson’s hugely successful.
But in real terms you won’t find yourself in an elevator with him by happenstance. Despite how many times you prepared for that during your initial recruitment training.
When you’ve decided on a shortlist, pick a top target. And study their every move. Become a fan of that person. Watch what they do and how they do it, and most importantly the results they get as a result.
You might like Elon Musk.
But he’s not a recruiter. So it’s a fairly illogical target if you want a professional mentor, even if you could get hold of him on Twitter. If you want a personal mentor, you might widen your search out of industry. Think about what you want from this relationship. If it’s higher billings, you’ll want someone in the industry who’s done what you do.
Most recruiters, or those in the industry, will be accessible. Probably through social media. So learning about your chosen target won’t be difficult.
As a recruiter this step won’t phase you. You speak to people you don’t know every day. Most of these conversations involve rapport building and ultimately asking them for something, Sometimes that’s a CV. Sometimes it’s a job. It’s typically financially motivated.
This step is less daunting than all of those. But don’t pick up the phone and blurt out how much you love them or you want them to be your mentor. Or you’ll be disappointed.
All you’re doing here is asking for a meeting. A coffee, on you, for half an hour. You want to discuss their career, your career, and ultimately, yes, you want to ask them to mentor you. But wait until the end of the conversation to ask this.
You might even want to ask the question on your second or third meeting. Once your target feels comfortable that a mentor relationship might work and even be a good idea for both you and them.
You know your target’s successful, but that doesn’t make them a good mentor.
This is something you’ll need to evaluate over time. The initial rapport you have will be a good indicator. Then, judge the relationship as it evolves. It’s possible they may mentor others. That’s a good sign. So is impartial advice which makes you think about how you work.
If, after a while, you don’t feel as though you’re gaining expertise or fresh ideas, don’t waste both of your time. Be honest, up front and candid. They’ll thank you for it.
They won’t thank you for ghosting them out the picture. Be an adult and discuss any concerns, just like you’d voice positives.
I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. In fact I’m there more now than when I was a recruiter. In case you’ve not realised, the number one thing that annoys anyone is a lack of contact.
It annoys you when a candidate doesn’t get back to you. And it’s more than annoying when a client gives you the run around.
So follow up constantly with feedback. It’s likely your mentor won’t have a lot of time. Speaking with C-level executives for example isn’t about telling them the ins and outs of every part of your day. They want headlines. They want direction. They want decisiveness. Which brings us to the next tip.
As a recruiter, you know the best way to chat is in person. Nothing goes missing when you talk face to face. But it’s not always possible. So you’ll speak on the phone a lot. This is the second best way. It’s the least time consuming too.
But not everyone likes talking on the phone. Maybe email’s best? Or WhatsApp? Or, maybe the humble text message.
The best way to find this out? Ask.
The whole point of a mentor is to be better.
Better at what, is down to you. But if you’re not feeling challenged by the targets you both set, you’re not aiming high enough. You should also be challenged by the process too however.
OK, so you want to bill £1m in a year. Great. Scary, but great. The method of you getting to that point should make you feel slightly uneasy. But guess what? That’s the point.
Nothing worth having is easy. And nothing easy is worth having.
Doing so is just as much a part of your job as it is theirs. It’s a two-way street. And like I said earlier, this person is time poor. Hopefully that’s the only way they’re poor.
But you need to ask for more from the relationship without demanding it. This probably isn’t something you’re paying for. But even if you are, have some tact about your relationship. You eventually want your mentor to be a friend. Friends will go out of their way to help you.
Gaining success through a mentor isn’t a three month gig. It will transcend jobs and become long-term. Therefore don’t make hasty decisions, just like you wouldn’t with your career. If you make deadlines with this person, commit to them.
Never miss a call or meeting. Follow through with their advice if it’s something you’ve agreed to do. If you don’t do something because you don’t think it’s important, you should never have agreed to it.
Keep the schedule you have in place and don’t relent on your communication.
And most importantly of all, say thanks. This isn’t a relationship that will be instantly gratifying for your mentor. Showing appreciation is the very least you can do in return. Do it often. Do it well.
Whether you decide on a recruitment mentor or someone with a more holistic view of your life, it could be a huge reason for your success. If you can find the right person and recruit them into the relationship you’re hoping for, you’ll find it one of the most rewarding things you’ve ever done.
Recruitment Consultant at Austin Fraser & Austin Vita
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