All-In Recruitment is a podcast by Manatal focusing on all things related to the recruitment industry’s missions and trends. Join us in our weekly conversations with leaders in the recruitment space and learn their best practices to transform the way you hire.
This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Lydia: Welcome to the All-In Recruitment podcast by Manatal, where we explore best practices, learnings, and trends with leaders in the recruitment space. If you like our content, please subscribe to our channels on YouTube and Spotify to stay tuned for weekly episodes. My name is Lydia, and joining us today is Nicole Greer of Vibrant Coaching and Consulting. Thank you for joining us, Nicole.
Nicole: It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me, Lydia.
What Constitutes a Happy Employee
Lydia: So let’s jump right in. Nicole, tell us about Vibrant Consulting and what are your key areas of focus.
Nicole: Our whole goal is to put together groups of people who love and know their work inside organizations that are happy and productive. This starts with the recruitment process. When people do what they love, they work harder.
Lydia: Those are great goals. But how do you define a happy employee? One thing you emphasize is recruiting vibrant employees. How do you define and identify vibrancy in a candidate?
Nicole: I would say it is a lot about energy. When two people meet, they often have a connection. And so what I tell recruiters all the time is to see if they have a connection with this person. If somebody can build rapport easily, and they are excited about being in the interview, that’s a good sign.
I have had people come to an interview while I’m recruiting, and it’s like I’m kind of bothering them. They’re not showing me smiles, they’re not giving me any energy. And so I think it’s a lot about somebody who can build rapport and has what we call soft skills. Somebody who puts me as the interviewer at ease. So, when I try to put the interviewee at ease and they respond to my cues, it shows they've got the kind of skills to have an interpersonal conversation.
No matter what department we’re in, inside of the organization, whether it’s engineering, accounting, or the operations of the business, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the little conversations that we have across the different departments and teams, and with the people on our team. And the ability to speak to people, build rapport, and trust quickly is what I call a vibrant employee.
There are six energies that people have. When you’re interviewing somebody and recruiting, you want to take note, or make a list of these six energies and see if you notice that the person is displaying them.
So the first energy is intellectual. It’s like, “What kind of thinking does this person have? Are they positive? Do they have a growth mindset? Have they continuously grown and expanded over their entire career and taken on more assignments? Do they have the ability to do more over a period of time?”
Intellectual energy means they learn things, they grow, they are curious, and they can study. They demonstrate, even if they don’t have a formal degree, that they go to training, they love any kind of information that they can take in and put to work for the company.
The next energy is emotional. And emotional energy is kind of this heartfelt feeling. Have you ever met anybody and you’re just like, “I like this person?” If you’re a loving and kind person, this makes a great employee.
The next energy is spiritual. So one thing that I love is if I’m talking to somebody, and they say, “I got excited about this project. My leader put me on.” Or, “I was so happy.” Or, “I was ecstatic.” There’s this joy about doing work. We want the employee who loves it, who loves going to work, who loves their work.
And then the next energy is physical. I think it’s really important to feel good in your body. So, a lot of times, I’ll ask people when I’m interviewing them, “What do you do for fun? If you’re not at work, what do you do?” And if people tell me, “Oh, I go to yoga, I run, I do these different things, I lift weights, I walk the dog, I do meditation,” whatever it is, they’re taking care of their body. And people who take care of their bodies feel better, and people who feel better do better work.
Then there’s social energy. And so, I ask a ton of questions about, “Tell me about a time you worked with somebody great. What made them great? What is it like to experience you as a teammate?” Those are one of my favorite questions. I ask them about their relationships with their past leaders. And if they talk positively, that’s a good sign. We’ve all had a bad leader. But if we can talk positively even if we had a bad leader, we probably learned something. So, if they talk positively, or spin a negative situation positively, I love that. That’s the social energy.
The other thing I like to do is to check out their LinkedIn and take a look at how active they are. Do they have their profile up to date? Are they taking care of their career? Because I want people who want to work for me to have a long-term career, stay with me, and grow with me.
The last energy is money. And so, I think it’s important that people are confident about the money they want and the results they can deliver. When somebody’s confident about money, they’re also conscious of the money they spend. So, when I’m recruiting, I need somebody who’s money savvy, because this business has to make money.
Lydia: Those are great energies. And those are a great framework for a recruiter to look for in these candidates. But in terms of the mindset that a recruiter needs, what elements do they need? What kind of mindset do they need to have? How do they need to prepare?
Nicole: Yeah, well, I think that they would need to, first of all, become very familiar with the six energies. And so I would have a piece of paper or some kind of document or spreadsheet, and I’d have those six energies in there. And when I prepare for the interview, I would think about what would be a powerful question that I could ask about any of those six energies.
And I think just like anything with recruiting, as you’re beginning to interview people and share time with them in this process of recruiting, you’re going to pick up on things. You’re going to be like, “Oh, they like training? That’s good intellectual energy. And she has said the word excited or awesome four times, right? So big words like marvellous, awesome, terrific, and fantastic, are great words that tell me this person is spirited, or they have great spiritual energy. And that’s what we’re looking for.” So, when we’re recruiting, we’re listening to every single word, because it tells us something about how that person thinks. And that’s really what we want to figure out. To know if this person thinks the way we want them to think so they’ll fit in.
Why Recruiters Need to Hire Vibrant People
Lydia: In fact, moving on to an organization, why is it particularly important for an organization to recruit people who are vibrant, who have these right energies? What might be the long-term benefit of adding this element to the recruitment process?
Nicole: Yeah, well, it’s everything. Because nothing gets done without energy. And one of the things that I’m always looking for is people who can tell me stories about how they moved a process forward, or they got a result, or they solved a problem, or they innovated something. Those are all signs that this person is highly energetic.
I’ll give you an example. So, I was interviewing for a company, and they were looking for an engineer. And I was interviewing this guy. I asked him about the coolest project he was ever on. And he got excited, in his way. He told me how he went to San Francisco and figured out how to get these batteries to last longer in a car. And he was proud of his work. He was vibrant. And that’s what leaders need. People who love what they are doing and work hard to figure things out. That’s what we need.
Impediments to Creating a Vibrant Work Culture
Lydia: Yeah. And bringing that energy, you need to maintain and manage it so that you stay productive and add value to the people around you with vibrancy and positive energy, right? So, what are some impediments to creating a vibrant work culture? What does it take to foster this type of culture?
Nicole: Well, the first impediment is not hiring the right people. That’s the baseline. And there’s this thing called the employee lifecycle. The first thing in there is the job placement ad. And I think that’s one of the most important places to start.
A lot of times, recruiters just take the current job description and put it on Indeed or LinkedIn or wherever. That’s a big mistake. A job description is a job description. A job ad is marketing for an employee.
For example, I was recruiting for a marketing person recently. And the first thing on the top of the ad said, “Do you love marketing?” Next thing said, “Do you love coming up with creative ideas to sell products?” I kept saying the word marketing in different ways. But it was like, “Love. Love. Love.” “Do you enjoy this? Do you enjoy that?” Now, here’s what I think happens. When someone reads that job ad, they’re like, “Oh, this is different. This doesn’t read like a job description. A non-vibrant person would read that and say something like, “What’s this? This is stupid. This is ridiculous. Goodbye.” But someone else reads it and they’re like, “Yes, I do love marketing. I do love being creative. I do love working with teams.” One of the things I’ll put on there is, “Do you see the glass as half full?” I have about 10 things before it even gets to the job placement.
Lydia: it's almost a litmus effect that you have on the potential candidate.
Nicole: Yes. So if you're reading that job ad, you're thinking, "Wow, this is a different company. This is a vibrant culture that I want to be part of." People who match that kind of energy and love marketing are going to apply for that job. So, I think the job ad is really important.
The next thing that is important for building a vibrant culture is that the recruiter is friendly and makes the candidate feel comfortable. When people come to interview with your company, don't have the walls up. Roll out the red carpet, bring them in, smile at them, and introduce them to people as you walk with them. And if you have a great candidate and you treat them well, they're going to choose you over the competitor who is uptight and unwelcoming. Because people want to work in a nice place where it feels good.
Even on Zoom interviews, you can do that. You can make people feel comfortable, check if they need anything, and explain what you're doing. Show some humanity and love. And then you have to tell them what's going to happen next. You have to say, "Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to take this interview and report to the hiring manager. I'm going to have a conversation with them and let you know. And then I'm going to follow up with them a week later and do this and that. And you won't hear from me for longer than a week."
I have a personal story about that. I have a friend named Rachel who is looking for a position right now. She is amazing. She is smart, she has the degrees, she has the experience. She is in business development. She has been interviewing with several large companies and Fortune 50 companies. And she said, "I interviewed with this one woman and I haven't heard anything. It's been three weeks." I think that is awful. So I told her, "You can't work there. Because if that's how they treat you in the interview, I wonder how they treat you when you work there. No, you can't work for them. It's over."
It's a two-way street these days. I think the potential employee has more power right now. It is an employee market right now. So why in the world would you work for a company that doesn't value you?
The recruiter should just send a quick email and say, “They can’t make up their minds. We’ve got seven candidates, you’re in the running. Hang in there.” That’s all they have to do. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you ghost them, that’s not good. So, I think it’s really important to communicate and think of that person.
Then the next thing we have to do is onboard them. Onboarding doesn’t take one day or one hour. It’s not just paperwork. It’s about making them feel welcome and supported. They might meet other new employees, the hiring manager might spend a whole day with them, and make sure they have everything they need, like a laptop. I talked to a woman the other day who got hired and it took them six months to get her a laptop. That’s unacceptable. It shows a lack of care. Those are the impediments.
But if you do the opposite, and you have a great job ad, a great interview, a great communication process, and you offer them the job and they accept it, and you have a plan for their onboarding and career path, they are going to be very happy. They’re going to feel like they made the right choice. Sometimes people get multiple offers for positions. And it’s a big decision to take a job. And sometimes we forget that.
Emotional Intelligence In Vibrant Teams
Lydia: You spoke about creating the best experiences for candidates and bringing them into the culture and that it is the recruiter’s responsibility to make sure they’ve integrated well. So, how does emotional intelligence play a role in building vibrant teams?
Nicole: Well, emotional intelligence is everything. Let me explain what it is briefly. We’re receiving inputs all day long at work and during the interview process. They come into our body through sound, sight, taste, touch, feeling, etc. That’s why hospitality is important. When you’re interviewing, you’re already uptight, anxious, worried, and hopeful. If we add negativity to that, you’re going to have a bad interview. I thought this guy would work out, he did so well in the interview, but you probably contributed to the problem. But if I do a positive interviewing process, I’m going to help that person overcome their negative emotions.
The average person gets hijacked by their amygdala, which is their lizard brain. The lizard brain tells you to fight or fight, and there are two more responses: freeze and deflect. And those can show up in the interview. When someone can overcome anything that hijacks their amygdala, they have emotional intelligence. Because between your amygdala and your prefrontal cortex, where all problem-solving happens, is your limbic brain. Your limbic brain tells you if you’re mad, happy, frustrated, etc. If you have a candidate who is flowing, even if it’s nerve-racking, and they’re still smiling at you, giving you good answers, and doing their best, that’s a very emotionally intelligent person.
Lydia: You said that the recruiter’s mindset is important for creating a good experience for the candidates and representing the company well. But what about the hiring manager or the leader of a team? How can they show that kind of energy when they interview someone? What if they are busy with work and need to switch moods? What is the prerequisite for that?
Nicole: Maturity, being a grown-up, is what it takes to be a leader. You should be able to flip the switch and not let your emotions affect your performance. For example, if I’m an operations manager, and I have a machine breakdown, I can’t bring that frustration to an interview. I have to turn it off and turn on a positive attitude. The job at hand is to make the candidate feel comfortable and introduce them to the company in a great way. So, you have to be mature enough to control your emotions.
People say it’s hard, but it’s only hard if you think it’s hard. Henry Ford said, “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t.”
So, I can shut off my bad day and be pleasant and sparkly. You can do it too.
Lydia: In terms of maintaining that kind of engagement for an employee who is three or six months into the role. What are some strategies or maybe some tactics that leaders need to consider so that they can maintain or increase this kind of engagement from new employment?
Nicole: One thing that leaders need to do is to be visible. You need to wander around your facility or drive to your locations and show up. You need to talk about where the company is going and how excited you are. Excitement is contagious. The leader has to spread positive energy and be consistent about it.
I have a story to tell you. I work with a company in Kentucky that has convenience stores. These stores are open every day of the year. They never close. That’s a tough business to be in. And it requires dedicated employees to work in that scenario. The owner is an amazing man. When he comes in the door, they feel happy because he’s coming to visit. He does something interesting when he’s there. He takes a toothpick and runs it around the edges of the glass in front of the food. He also checks if the toilet is clean enough. You need to get out there and work with your people.
The second thing that I would say is that you need to give really good feedback. I have a little recipe for feedback. I call it ‘C3.’ It stands for circumstances, conduct, and consequences. For example, today, I was working with a manufacturing organization in North Carolina. There was a young man there, his name was Skylin. He was a delight. He was working hard and helping somebody. So I gave him this kind of C3 feedback;
“Skylin, today I was watching you work. You were helping your coworkers and smiling all day. You have a big smile on your face. As a result, you are a great contribution to our team. People feel good when they work with you. That means everything. That’s how we build a vibrant culture around here. So keep it up.”
Every time I see Skylin, he smiles at me and has a big grin on his face. He probably keeps helping.
If you tell people they are doing good and you are clear about it, you will get more of that. But if you don’t call it out, people might think you don’t notice or care. So, they might stop doing it. Engagement is not about pizza parties. It’s about recognizing and rewarding good behaviour.
Engagement in a vibrant culture
Lydia: How do you define engagement in a vibrant culture? It can mean different things. Engagement can be knowing your role, contributing to the bigger picture, being confident in your value, and taking pride in your work. That can make you a vibrant employee.
Nicole: Employee engagement is not as fancy as we think it is. There are books on it, and I’m all for reading. But it’s really about knowing what your employees want to do with their careers, having conversations with them, mapping out their futures, identifying their performance and learning gaps, and communicating with them in a way that makes them feel developed.
For example, if I know that Lydia needs to learn more about customer service, I can give her a book to read and then discuss it with her. That’s employee engagement.
We were talking about the employee lifecycle, right? You onboard them, and that takes a long time. But if you hire a vibrant employee, they get up to speed faster, because it’s all about energy. But you don’t stop there. I think many leaders make a mistake and relax once the employee is in their role. You never get to come off the gas pedal with your employees. If you have 20 direct reports, which is a lot, you have to have 20 different conversations with them at least every six weeks. Talk about what they are learning, what they need to do, how you can support them, how they are doing, and give them feedback. In my career, I loved the leaders who helped me get better. The ones who didn’t pay attention to me, I didn’t work hard for them. But if you show me intention and attention, I’ll work my fanny off for you. It’ll feel like someone is watching and caring. And there will be a payoff. People who grow will get promoted or find new positions. Sometimes we can create a role for them on the fly because the world and workplaces are changing
Factors for Recruiting Diverse Teams
Lydia: As recruiters, you need to have mindsets that can adapt to opportunities. You should be able to identify people who have that quality and see their potential for the future. You should also look ahead and see where the business is going. But another important aspect of hiring diverse candidates is having a diverse recruitment team. People from different backgrounds can bring different perspectives and skills to the hiring process. So, what are some factors that recruitment leaders should consider when they structure a diverse recruitment team?
Nicole: I would say work experience is very important for recruiters because they need to understand customer service and relate to the candidates. So, it would be great to have recruiters from different backgrounds, such as retail, hospitality, government, or nonprofit. They would have different hearts, intellects, emotions, and spirits.
Another thing that is important for recruiters is curiosity. You need curious recruiters who are open and ask different questions, not judgmental ones who dismiss candidates too quickly. There is a diversity of thought and curiosity that go together.
Also, the age of your recruiters can matter. I’m not saying you should hire based on age, but you can have different perspectives from seasoned and new recruiters. If they can respect and learn from each other, that’s fantastic. They can balance the exuberance and the wisdom of each other.
So, I think the most important thing is to keep an open mind and be curious about people. That’s the commonality you want. Maybe different experiences and backgrounds would be another diversity factor.
Lydia: I enjoyed this conversation, Nicole, especially about the energy you bring and receive as a recruiter. Thank you for your time and insights. Your story is also inspiring. How can the audience connect with you?
Nicole: Oh, it’s really easy. Just go to www.vibrantculture.com. There’s a place to book time with me and links to social media and all the other places.
Lydia: Excellent. We have been in conversation with Nicole Greer, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Recruiter at Vibrant Coaching and Consulting. Thank you for joining us this week. If you like our content, please subscribe to our channels and stay tuned for more weekly episodes of All-In Recruitment.