TDM Academy – Week Seven – So how does it feel to be a mentor?

So, here we have it, fast approaching that magical two thirds of the way through! We are definitely over the halfway hump and dare I say it – I can see the making of some good new recruiters! 4 is the magic number in this office.

This week we have been celebrating successes. Everyone is now confident enough to come in and get on with their day, setting their own activities up and managing their workload – with some input from their mentors and team leaders of course – but they exude much more confidence. In fact, if I recall correctly, some of our trainees have even been chasing down for more work. With annual leave in full flow within the office, we’ve also had to overcome the bridge of ‘what happens if a mentor goes on holiday’, a situation we’ve found ourselves to be in recently. The remedy? Well, meticulous planning for the two week annual leave period that not only leaves the right amount of work, but the right capability of work. And from what I can make out, the other end is always reachable on email.

We have focused heavily throughout this series of blogs on how the trainees are doing – which is on purpose (hint… it’s meant to entice you in and show you a warts and all version, or rather tears and all version!) but there does need to be a definitive praise and appreciation shown to our mentors for how far not only have their trainees come, but how far they’ve come.

Our mentors come from all different parts of the business; when we started out we had one of our Associate Directors involved in the mentoring, and 3 Principal Consultants, however what we realised was that our trainees definitely suited some personalities and working styles more than others, so we decided to swap things up a bit, for a better fit. Trial and error you see! So now, as it stands, our mentors are made up of; 2 Principal Consultants, 1 Senior Consultant and 1 Consultant, all from the team in which the trainee is currently in (to mentor them on a work basis), whilst I’ve taken over the personnel side of things – we did a swap around week 4; whereas I was training them on a daily basis up until the ‘big move’, we then flipped and I overtook the personnel side and their mentors the training side (as let’s face it – I don’t know enough about the individual sectors within our business to give them all a deep and thorough enough induction to the sector).

Our mentors have gone above and beyond with assisting with the development of our trainees. They’ve taken good chunks out of their day to show them the ropes of recruitment and the sector that they’ve moved into – they want to give them the best start and insight into recruitment to make them the most confident and successful recruiters there can be. It’s also made them re-evaluate their own position within the business and where they want to be.

A particular project that I am leading at the moment is creating individual learning and development programmes, the first stage of which entails a meeting to run through values and motivations within your career, and from there your learning style, and from this it has been apparent that not only do people see helping out with the academy as progression and something to be proud of, but that they only want to get more involved in the academy as time goes on, and what’s more – others within the business who haven’t had the opportunity this time round want to get involved in the next intake! So, it’s all a-go here! Team effort, isn’t it rewarding and just shows how everyone can and does come together within TDM. I’d like to thank each and every single person who has become involved in the academy, and for the time they’ve given to help – be it in interviews, assessment centres, the early training days through to the mentoring and day to day activities now, it’s been thoroughly appreciated!

The trainees have also begun to taste the sweetness of success within recruitment this week, as the first sets of successful interviews turning into callbacks have made their way through, and we even had two offers come into the picture. In that sense we’ve also had to witness the crushing disappointment of when something doesn’t go quite to plan, and how to get back on that hobby horse again!

On the note of hobby horses, here is relevant probably to touch upon confidence. Ah yes, that old one in recruitment. This also ties into the mentors giving the best start to the guys as possible above. When you first start out in your career, those early days are the making of you. They are the days that you’ll look back on and think ‘haven’t I come far!’. They’re also the days that can break you and turn you away from something you could be really bloody good at if you gave it more of a shot! So that’s why this is a semi-message.

The mentors and wider team have done really well at praising the trainees when they do something well, motivating them to carry on, and when things are getting tough, giving them a shoulder of support. Be it at work or outside of work, sometimes people just have a shitty day. The strength of character really does come through however when our trainees have a knock of confidence but continue back on. An example for instance – it’s inevitable in recruitment that one day you’ll pick up the phone and the person that picks up the other end, well let’s just say you’ve caught them on a bad day. We’ve all been there, we’ve all done it – we have all been on the receiving end one time or another. I remember my first time when a client, to put it nicely, ripped me a new one on the end of the phone, and I sat there trying not to cry on the phone to her so she didn’t know she’d upset me! Cue, phone put down, bursting into tears. 10 minutes later, back on the phone – and that first one is the hardest one! But it’s worth bearing in mind, you could be someone we liaise with out there reading this – if you shout at one of our trainees on the phone or “tell them off” because you think it’s your right, you could be ruining someone’s chances at a career that they might be really good at, all because you’re having a bad day! Likewise, we encourage all of our trainees to consistently be positive on the phone – one of them may call you and improve your day with something they say! It’s all about give and take. What’s a 5 minute phone call out of your day after all whilst someone is building their network and confidence?

So, to round up – week 7 has been the making and breaking. It’s been working and toiling, and a bit like groundhog day for some of them consistently making those calls, but they’re starting to see their network develop and likewise build a picture of where they see themselves long term within TDM. Another week where I breathe a sigh of relief on a Friday that we still have a happy, full house of trainees! Onto week eight.