Tips from TV: Recruit like a Mad Man

Last month, we sadly said goodbye to the ad execs and secretaries of Sterling Cooper. Mad Men left our screens after a near decade of entertaining us with suave, impressive sales pitches and smart 60s fashion. recruit_like_a_mad_manPersonal downward spirals aside, there’s a lot modern day recruiters could learn from our favourite fictional ad men.

Live your brand

Everything that can be attributed to you makes up your personal brand. Some people hear the term ‘brand YOU’ but don’t give it much thought or really understand how it relates to them. Look at how the Sterling Cooper team present themselves. Yes, their personal lives leave a lot to be desired but they were sharp dressers, authoritative speakers who commanded and held the attention of a room and presented with clarity and confidence. This goes for correspondence too, whether it’s an email or a tweet give it the once-over and make it part of your brand. Spelling and grammar errors are a no no.

It’s great to stand out but are you doing it for the right reasons? Are your actions the right fit for your target audience? In 2015 we  have social media to think about too so if your account isn’t professional for work; make your profiles private or add a disclaimer distancing your employer from your personal opinions and pictures.

Work the room

Yes, the staff at Sterling Cooper were rarely seen without a glass of whiskey in client meetings but while I’m not quite suggesting liquid lunches are the way to go - you should take notes. A lot can be learned from the fact the executives were in constant contact with their prospects and customers and knew how to make them feel special.

If it wasn’t in person, they weren’t scared to pick up the phone or send something over to their clients and customers. Social media (LinkedIn especially) makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with business contacts but don’t choose this over face to face or telephone every time. Would you do business with someone you could never get a hold of on the phone or who never arranged a meeting in person? Treat your clients and candidates like VIPs.


Know your stuff

Did you ever see Don Draper pitch without confidence and fall apart? Well, let’s just pretend those episodes never happened. Don and the team were the undisputed Kings of Presentations. Take a leaf from their presentation playbook; know key terms from the industry you recruit in and keep abreast of news, developments and big mergers etc. This is all likely to be brought up at meetings and client visits, or your candidates may want to discuss things they’ve heard about the company at interview. Maximise your placements by doing the groundwork and always being in the know!

A common misconception about recruiters is that they don’t know enough about the industries they recruit in. Hiring managers have to be confident in your recruiting abilities and candidates have to be confident that you’ll match them to the right roles and won’t waste their time. Show them you’re confident in yourself and don’t leave any doubts in your ability. 

Working hard is good, but working smart is better

Mad Men showed that the glass ceiling could be smashed as Peggy and Joan *spoiler alert* ended the series in more superior roles than the secretaries they started as. Peggy became a hot shot Copy Chief and Joan was running her own production company, hiring her own staff when we left them.

Hard work definitely pays off but you need to be the driving force seeking out and proving yourself worthy of new opportunities and advancement. In the real world, nothing is simply handed to you and it didn’t happen on Mad Men either. We’re not in the 60s anymore so tracking and charting your success isn’t hard. Keep track of what is happening in your network, review your activity and act on it. Data has never been more accessible so take hold of the opportunity it gives you. You can see where you’re going and work towards goals better than ever before.



Images: made using Mad Men Yourself

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Megan McBurnie

Megan worked as a recruitment consultant, recruiting in the Office Services, General Insurance and Legal markets.

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