Here is why: I already know you are. We all are busy.
Especially in this day and age: society is encouraging us to tell the world how busy we are as a status symbol. (For more on this topic, read this fascinating Harvard Business Review article or this brilliant Columbia Business School white paper).
So let’s skip the drama. Please don’t tell me you are busy.
Especially if you are a recruiter.
Here is why: you usually are the first touchpoint humans will have with their potential future employer. We all know how the saying goes: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
So when you tell me something like: “I’m so busy, my day is crazy!”, it makes me wince. First of all, I am busy too. We all are busy. Then, it makes me feel like I’m just one of the busy things you have to get through in your crazy day. When a number of studies (like this one from LinkedIn and Capgemini) show that the digital talent gap is widening, I want to feel like the value I can bring to your company is a priority and that I am an important part of your day. It starts with you.
Try this instead: “My schedule is full but I have been looking forward to meeting with you. Can we reschedule to tomorrow so I can give you my fullest attention?”
Particularly if you are a leader.
Here is why: by definition, you are the one that should inspire me, that should model the vision of our company’s future and motivate me to develop my skills and deliver on this vision. Your job is to be the change we want to see so I can model in your footsteps.
So when you tell me something like: “I’m so busy, my day is crazy!”, it makes me crazy. First of all, I am busy too. We all are busy. Then, it makes me feel like whatever you have going on in your leadership world is more important than me. When countless readings (like this one from one of my faves Brian Tracy) undoubtedly prove that an employee’s relationship with leadership is a key motivator and retention factor, please give me the undivided attention I deserve. Leave your laptop in your office, put your phone on DND in your pocket and let’s spend some quality time together. It starts with you.
Try this instead: Think of me as a customer, as a client. The one that has the potential to give you the greatest loyalty and dividend of all. The one to make the biggest investment in so I can ride along with you the longest of all.
So please don’t tell me you are busy. We all are busy. Be different. Make me feel how important I am. And then watch me.