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  • Arlene Hall

Be Excellent At What You Do

Probably the best piece of advice I was ever given. And it applies to everything of course, whether it’s making poached eggs with Hollandaise (don’t let the butter break), or recruiting, or driving a forklift.

Ironically, it was that advice which was given to me when I was in recruiting that caused me to get out of recruiting. I was recruiting primarily for what we then called “IT companies” for developers, testers, project managers, etc. for software and hardware companies. It really, really, really bothered me that I had no real clue how these comp

anies worked or how these positions worked other than what I could glean from talking to candidates. I always felt that I was on the outside looking in wen describing a role to a candidate and couldn’t do anything other than provide very surface details around positions.

So I left. I left the world of recruiting and went to work for a software services company as an account executive and wow, what a difference! I started to really understand what a front-end developer did and how important the handoff was between the back-end and front-end teams. And how just because you were a Java guy or gal didn’t mean you could pick up .NET just like that. Now don’t get me wrong, I still can’t program, but my knowledge of that world grew exponentially once I was actually living it as opposed to just recruiting for it.

What are the other ways that you can be excellent at what you do? Well, as an example, let’s say you’re selling software to people who work in manufacturing, in a plant. You have no clue what that world is all about. You know that stuff gets made in plants, but eqiupment, processes, outputs…it’s not something you know a lot about. But it will help you talk with your clients if you do. If you understand their world and can talk even at a base level with them about it, your credibility goes way up. So you start educating yourself about manufacturing, you read articles about it, you watch YouTube videos (of which there are many) about plants that produce food products, automotive products, whatever. You check out which LinkedIn groups your clients belong to and ask them if there are any websites or blogs that they feel are worthy of a read. And of course, go visit a plant! Go check it out in person.

The manufacturing plant example is just that – an example. But the concept of immersing yourself in the world of your work is super important and should always be a work in progress. Don’t ever stop learning about your field and your clients. Ever.

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