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Why Recruiters Should Think Differently About Attitude

by | Sep 28, 2015 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

Over the years in my career, even though I am considered a “nuts and bolts” type of a trainer, I have been lucky to associate with some of the great sales trainer motivators of all time.

I grew up in recruiting listening to Tommy Hopkins and J. Douglas Edwards; flew with Zig Ziglar from Atlanta to Dallas; heard Cavett Roberts in person and Dr. Leo Buscaglia on videotape; and had a day-long meeting with Steve Brown, who is recognized by many as one of the foremost sales and management trainers in the world.

When I lived in San Diego, Lou Scott, an icon in the industry, arranged for me to meet with Steve Brown during an Atlanta stopover on my way to Nashville to do some recruiter training. Steve and I met in the morning over breakfast and then he took me over to his headquarters and introduced me to his staff.

I spent a full day with Steve watching him in action and seeing how he interacted with people. He was brilliant. And upon leaving, he gave me an autographed copy of his book, 13 Fatal Errors Managers Make* And How You Can Avoid Them and his 17-module training program titled Creative Selling Skills.

Based on that meeting, and my own personal take on the subject, let’s consider the topic of attitude . . . how to get it and how to keep it.

As soon as we start talking about attitude, we face our first hurdle. “Attitude” seems to be one of the most overworked words in selling. How many times have you and I heard that we had to have a positive mental attitude in order to be successful? Believe me, we recruiters hear it so much that we either:

  • Stop hearing it (tune it out), or
  • Become rebellious.

But think of it a different way. Any true professional’s real secrets to success are their highly trained skills and ability, which will lead to the right attitude. A doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, even the captain of an ocean liner will tell you this.

The mistake we make in recruitment is that we try to magically acquire this “positive mental attitude.” Well, it’s a proven point psychologically that the more we try to force an attitude into the mind, the more the mind rejects it. The bottom line is that positive attitudes are NOT acquired by will power.

Attitudes are acquired, changed, or modified in two ways, and two ways alone:

#1—Change in environment or conditions (temporary)

If I can change your environment severely enough, I can change your attitude. If I can magically put $1,000,000 into your pocket, once you realize that change, your attitude will completely change.

On the other hand, if I can change your conditions adversely, I can also change your attitude. If I can magically transport you, moneyless, to a strange country where you don’t know anybody and you do not speak the language, once you realize that change, your attitude will also change completely.

Implementing this theory, when a recruiter hits a slump, how do we change their environment or conditions? We tell them to work harder, suggest longer hours, or change their desk location. We give them a new candidate to market or even suggest a new specialty niche—anything so that they will have a chance to feel more successful and be able to sell more successfully.

The only problem with this approach is that we are “manipulating” attitudes, and that won’t last for an extended period of time.

#2—Acquisition of ideas or knowledge (long-lasting)

Ah, yes . . . this is the long-lasting solution because the knowledge becomes a part of you. Through knowledge, attitudes have sources and you will have the ability to return, when necessary, to your sources and the knowledge you have acquired. This is where a trainer can enter the picture with new training manuals, daily planners, quick guides, and other resources.

And that’s why recruiters should think differently about attitude.

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Bob Marshall of TBMG International, founder of The Marshall Plan, has an extensive background in the recruiting industry as a recruiter, manager, vice president, president, consultant, and trainer.  In 2015, Marshall is celebrating his 35th year in the recruitment business.  He can be reached at or at 770.898.5550.  Marshall’s website is

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