Recruiting at the Car Wash

by The Red Recruiter on August 2, 2010

As I was having my car treated to a long overdue car wash today, I was reminded about a golden rule of recruiting – always be doing it.

At The Car Wash

The friendly gatekeeper to the tunnel of car cleanliness greeted me with a smile, took my order and embarked in some idle chit chat while I waited. By the time I had finished the cycle he was waiting around the other side of the building near where the drying and vacuuming extravaganza takes place. The chit chat continued.

Come to find out, he is only 3 weeks away from starting a new journey in his life. At 25, he decided to enlist in the Army and serve our country. With a daughter and wife at home, I have to imagine that he took the decision seriously… he seemed very committed.

He explained all about the enlistment process, the ups and downs that he expected to go through, the hopeful adventures that this new-found path would lead him down – it was quite fun to hear the enthusiasm in his voice.

But, then came the part that really caught my attention.

After explaining all of the selling points of his new career, he asked me if I had ever considered joining the military. I answered truthfully that I had. He then asked if I had a college degree… again I answered that I did.

He proceeded to ask me to give the military some consideration and assured me that it would be a great career and an excellent way to serve my country.

As I walked towards my car and processed what had just happened, it dawned on me. He was trying to recruit me.

Now, I’m not going to be signing up for the military due to this encounter… but, I felt like there was a lesson somewhere in this encounter.

When I was little, my Mom always told me, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” What she was trying to teach me was that unless I was willing to ask for what I wanted, there was a very low likelihood of me ever getting it. As an adult looking back, there was, and continues to be, much truth in this lesson.

Just as with goals, ambitions and everything else that we hope to achieve, recruiting has a very similar approach to it. If you don’t ask, you don’t get… if you don’t ask the potential recruit to consider your organization, they probably won’t. Engage in conversation, show the

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value of being a part of the team and ask them to take it into consideration.

Who knows… under the right circumstances, I may have said “Sure!” – at least he asked.

Beyond experiencing a recruiting moment on a Sunday afternoon at the car wash, this interaction also gave me mental fodder in terms of how recruiters are preparing all employees to go out and find the next generation of talent for our organizations. Do all of your employees have a 60 second pitch? Would they know how to share the great aspects of working within your organization? What can we do to help deploy an army of recruiters?

To the soon-to-be Army recruit and the many others that are serving our country, I thank you! Keep up the great work and know that we’re humbled by your sacrifice.

  • Mjeanlong

    In my mind the “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” has certainly paid off in your life. In every opportunity that you have asked, I have always seen you find even greater opportunities that have come from one simple question.
    Great post!

  • theredrecruiter

    I agree 😉 Thanks for the lesson Mama!

  • Trish McFarlane

    Thanks for sharing the story Michael. I think people find it easy to recruit others to anything- a job, a career, a sport, a hobby- when they are passionate about it. Clearly, he believes the military is a way of life and he wants to bring others into that positive experience with him. I admire him for that. The lesson for me is to pay attention to what I'm passionate about and find ways to recruit others every day.

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