We’ve all grown up learning the golden rule, “don’t talk to strangers!” For the most part, there’s truth to this saying and it has served us well!
However, I challenge the validity of this golden rule in the world of business as there are two very specific areas where you DO speak to strangers continually – but should you? Is speaking to Strangers the BEST use of your time?
The first area is in the sales role and I recommend – You Go for It! Talk to ALL the strangers you possibly can. These are your cold calls and the referrals you have yet to meet! New business can be derived from speaking to these strangers. You can then grow these contacts into even more future business. After all, generating revenue for the organization is the primary function of the sales area.
The second area; however, is recruitment. Many human resource professionals spend a huge amount of time reaching out, emailing, speaking with, and assessing the set of complete strangers who submit their resumes for a job. Think about it; for every single vacancy that needs to be filled, how many strangers does your human resource professional need to speak to and spend time with, in order to achieve success?
This is especially difficult when due to company growth or an increase in vacated positions, the human resource professional is so busy recruiting, he/she doesn’t pay attention to new employee orientation or retention for that matter. How many times has a new employee been known to say, “I heard from HR the first few weeks in my position, but since then, I have never heard from them again.”
Yet, new employee orientation is a critical step to helping individuals understand the expectations of the role, fit into the organization culture and to quickly become productive. Should not THIS be where the human resource professional should focus all their attention, support and effort? In my view, moving the new employee from the “stranger” status to becoming a trusted and contributing member of their organizational family is a much more effective investment of time and energy than talking to the multiple number of strangers required to successfully fill a vacancy.
A more effective use of dollars would be to leave the task of “talking to strangers” to an external recruitment professional. After all, their primary function IS to speak to candidates. In fact, a 3rd party recruiter working on your behalf is hired to speak to as many candidates as possible and to find you the best, so that you don’t have to! This would enable the internal human resource professional, like the other business leaders within the organization, to spend the majority of the time and talent with the company’s largest resource – its people.
So, is your organization talking to strangers or talking to family?