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The Recruiter's Digest
 Recruiting News, Training & Commentary by Bill Radin

September, 2007

User's Guide to Power

Last week, I went to court.

I didn’t want to go. But Chet owed me money, and he refused to pay.

I tried to reason with him; I stated my case. I faxed him a paper trail of proof, but he still wouldn’t settle up. So I introduced Chet to the legal system.

Five minutes before the judge took the bench, Chet leaned over and asked if he could pay me what he owed.

“Sure,” I said. “I’ll follow you to the bank. You can either pay in cash or write me a cashier’s check.”

Ten minutes later, I got my money.

Unconscious Competent
Later, I realized that I had
quite unconsciouslyapplied two important principles found in Richard Greene’s bestselling book, The 48 Laws of Power.

The first was Law Number 9:

Win through your actions, never through your argument.

When words fail, action gets it done. Had I not taken Chet to court, I'd never have seen a dime.

The action-speaks-louder principle is especially true in recruiting. You can LOL all day long about the quality of your candidates and the value of your service. You can even cite testimonials to build your case. But in the end, actions always trump your words.

Next came Law Number 31:

Control the options; get others to play the cards you deal.

If I had given Chet the choice of paying now or paying later, he would have found a way to pay me never. So I only gave him options that would ensure the outcome I wanted.

There’s a parallel in recruiting. When working with employers, it’s always to your advantage to control their choices. That’s why multiple-interview scenarios are so effective: If you can arrange for three or four of your candidates to interview in a single session, the outcome is virtually guaranteed.

Second Life for Recruiters
Power is a funny thing. We want it so badly for ourselves, yet we're deeply resentful when others use it to their advantage.

In matters of the heart, the more obvious the expression of power, the less your control. The surest way to lose a fight
or a marriageis to be right, rather than loved. And the same is usually true in business and work relationships.

Too often in the past, I made the mistake of proving to my clients and my managers how much smarter I was than they were.

But smart is different than wise, as illustrated by Law Number 1:

Never outshine the masters. Make them appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.

The way power is packaged makes all the difference. In one situation, a colorful exterior works best; in another, drab is more effective. In recruiting as in life, it's important to choose your reality carefully.


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