Should coaches recruit team members based on their raw talent or their potential for success? Consider a football team. The quarterback needs to have basic skills like arm strength, a quick release, and arm/elbow/wrist coordination. As any coach knows, however, once these basic skills are in place, being coachable goes a lot further when it comes to success on the playing field. The same can be said for recruiting. When recruiting intangible traits, being “coachable” matters.

From startup companies to large global corporations, I’ve recruited and placed some of the Southeast’s top attorneys. Being a successful legal recruiter takes determination, flexibility, tenacity and above all else, coachability. When it comes to training associates to be successful legal recruiters, I find that being coachable is one of the biggest indicators for future success.

What does it mean to be coachable in recruiting? Here’s what being coachable means to me:

You’re observant and open to learning from others.
Over my 5+ years with Lucas Group, I have been fortunate to work with recruiters in numerous divisions, including Accounting & Finance, HR, and Sales & Marketing.
Even though we all focus on different industries, the issues we face with clients and candidates are universal. For example, listening to how a recruiter in Accounting & Finance handled a difficult issue later helped me address a similar problem with my own team. Being coachable means that you not only observe how your fellow recruiters handle issues with clients and candidates, but that you also learn from their experiences – and apply these lessons to your own.

You’re receptive to new ideas and practices.
A coachable recruiter is one who is not afraid to try a new idea. You know that every idea may not work out, but you approach strategy adjustments with optimism. Your eagerness for improvement is contagious. This means that not only does your performance improve, but the performance of your teammates and managers do too, driving your entire recruiting division to be more successful. When I’m stuck or need advice, I think about of a fellow recruiter and ask myself, “What would [Recruiter Name] do?” Doing so helps me to think creatively about new ideas and practices.

You learn from both your successes and failures.
Recruiting is akin to riding a roller coaster, with ups and downs and loops galore. A coachable recruiter takes stock of both their individual successes and failures in order to improve. This is a constant process that requires you to objectively analyze a failure or setback, identify where the situation got off the tracks, and adjust future behavior to avoid this same issue. At the same time, a coachable recruiter also needs to honestly analyze their successes for similar reasons: to be mindful and proud of the things they did right in order to firmly cement those habits in the future.

To me, being coachable means always being inquisitive: you never stop learning!

Why do you feel it is important to be a coachable recruiter? I welcome your feedback below.