I did my first “Superman” recently. I had never done one. Have you ever done one? I had heard for years, all kinds of elaborate and exciting tales about recruiters doing Superman. But as for me, I had never done one. Until now…
I was backing out of the garage at my house when the phone rang. It was the Executive Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer of a four billion dollar company in Houston, Texas.
“Joe, this is Mary,” she said, “Executive Assistant to Jim King.” She continued, “Mr. King would like to meet with you today. Are you still planning on being in the Houston area today?”
I’d had been trying to reach this guy for weeks.
“Yes, I’ll be doing a training sessioon tomorrow for a very successful recruiting firm in Houston. I’m backing out of my driveway en route to the airport right now, as we speak,” I said.
“He’d like to see you today. Can you come in this afternoon?” she asked.
“I think so. I am arriving at 4:30, how far are you from the airport?”
“Hold on,” she said.
“Mr. King can see you at 6:00. That should give you plenty of time to get here. If you’re late he said that’ll be OK; he’ll just stay until you get here, Joe. Will that work?” she asked.
“Yes. I’ll see you then.” I said.
At the airport, there was a delay on the baggage, so while everyone waited for their bags, I went to the rental car counter and got my car keys. Peter Lefkowitz once said, “Sometimes when everyone else zigs, you gotta zag!” Then I ran back to get my baggage. Some people were complaining the luggage was slow, so I moved back out of hearing distance. I didn’t want to listen to people complaining on my way to my big meeting. Besides, it’s always good to get out of earshot when you hear complainers. Earl Nightingale said, “We become like those who we hang around.”
My luggage came off and I grabbed it and dashed off to the Men’s room. I selected the handicapped stall so I’d have extra elbow room. I opened my luggage and changed into my best suit. I emerged and looked in the mirror to straighten my tie. I was excited and I smiled at myself â€“ my first Superman! I went out, got my rental car, plugged the address into the navigator, and drove.
I smiled at every single person who came out, just in case they were Jim King. My client finally emerged wearing an expensive suit, and a very white, very pressed shirt, and a conservative tie. I smiled…
“Hi, Jim!” I said.
“Hi, Joe!” he said.
“Thanks for coming in on such short notice. I understand you just flew in.”
He walked me back to his office.
He told me about his career there; he had been there 18 years. Then he talked in-depth about the job he needed filled, and how important it was to him. We talked for what seemed like an hour or so. Then he looked me in the eyes and said, “Joe, this position is so critical for us and we have to have a superstar for this. Is this a search that your firm would be good for?” he asked.
I looked him as solidly in the eyes as I could and said, “Yes.”
I had been trying to live the philosophy I learned from one of the greatest recruiters of all time who said, “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.”
“Yeah,” or “Yep,” or “I think” wasn’t gonna get it with this guy, or with hardly any high level executive for that matter. What they want from us recruiters in those moments is a feeling of certainty.
Then he paused and asked me, “How long will it take, Joe?”
“Sixty to ninety days.” I said immediately and without hesitation.
We talked on…
The room fell silent and then he slapped the palm of his hand on the desk and said, “Welp!” as if to indicate to me it was time for us to wrap up.
Suddenly I remembered something I had learned, somewhere along the way, it came to me like a clear voice on the inside: WHEN YOU ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING, DON’T BE IN A HURRY TO GET OUT OF HIS PRESENCE, ITS RUDE TO THE KING AND YOU MIGHT JUST MISS OUT ON A KING-SIZED OPPORTUNITY. ALWAYS GIVE THE KING THE HONOR OF DISMISSING YOU â€“ DO NOT WALK OUT ON THE KING!
I looked behind him and asked, “Jim, are all those ALL your children?” Emphasizing all, I had seen so many pictures and faces. He had one of those newfangled electronic picture frames that kept flashing different pictures.
“Oh no,” he said. “Those there are my kids and that one there, he’s my grandson. That one there is my granddaughter… That’s my niece. That’s my family there… That’s my oldest son… He got me this thing for Christmas,” he explained, pointing to the picture frame.
“I was wondering if those were ALL your kids.” I smiled.
“Nope,” he smiled back. “Just the two of them.”
It got quiet again and awkward I was about to get up but the voice was back.
WHEN YOU ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING, DON’T BE IN A HURRY TO GET OUT OF HIS PRESENCE…
It got real quiet.
He pointed to another picture of a college basketball player and said, “That’s another picture of my son.”
“A basketball player?” I asked.
“Yes.” he said.
“I love basketball. I’m a Warriors season ticket holder.” I said.
“Really? That’s great. I used to go to a lot of Rockets games.” he replied.
We waxed on about the Warriors, the Houston Rockets and basketball; jock talk.
Suddenly he switched back to full-out work mode.
“Joe,” he said, “did Bob (The HR Director) show you this part of our website?”
Mr. King showed me…
We talked and we talked and we talked.
Then again he slapped the desk with his hand but this time got up. I was being properly dismissed and the voice was gone, besides, we’d been talking for so very long now. I didn’t dare look at my watch, during the meeting, but what time was it, I wondered. He walked me all the way out to the lobby. We had talked for over two and a half hours!
I flew home.
Superman got the search.
Look up in the sky, it’s Superman!
Nope, better – it’s a Headhunter.
Not every meeting needs to be two-and-a-half-hours, but don’t fear silence and always let the King dismiss you.
There are a lot of other lessons here. How many can you identify? Break it down and email me. The best email gets a free copy of 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings! – a $795.00 value. I look forward to hearing from you. Bill/Be well.
Joe Pelayo enjoys helping recruiters break through to new levels of success. He is speaking and training recruiters worldwide. His training system for recruiters, 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings! â€“ can be found at www.jpspeaking.com; click on the “For Recruiters” tab.
Joe began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17 when he says he “found every way to fail in the recruiting business.” After finally finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe still works an active desk. He is a long-time member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization consisting of 75 of the top recruiters in the United States.
Joe is also author of the book, Work Your Network!, which has received rave reviews from recruiting industry leaders such as Paul Hawkinson, Terry Petra, Bill Radin and many others.