Control Only What You Can Control

Those of you that know me have heard about my son Chase who plays college tennis. I know that some of you are saying, “not again!” Well, yes, again, but this time I’m going to make a point.

Recently, Chase was in a close match. His opponent was making what Chase thought (and Chase’s daddy thought) were bad calls. These calls were taking Chase out of his game. During a switchover, I overheard Chase’s coach telling him, “Control what you can control. Everything else will then take care of itself.”

So, instead of worrying about the bad calls that were out of his control, Chase needed to focus on the shot selections that were within his control. Chase obviously listened, and he went on to win the match.

Why should this matter to me?

It’s the same in our lives. As recruiters, we get paid (or are considered successful) when a candidate is placed in an open position. Even though that’s the measure of our success, we really don’t directly control who gets hired and who does not. However, recruiters still worry when a hiring manager declines to interview or hire their candidate, especially when the reasoning seems less than relevant.

So, what should we do?

The answer is easy to define–control what you can control. As the author and noted behavioral-specialist, Steve Mariboli says, “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”

Saying it is easy. Doing it is the hard part.

OK, I get it. But HOW?

There are two things you must do to control what you can control:

    1. Determine what is within your control

This is obvious, but sometimes we miss it. We must list the steps needed to hit our objective. Consider the list and determine what we have direct control over. That’s what we focus on.

For recruiters, we want to get the candidate placed. While we can’t directly control the behavior of the hiring manager, we CAN control our reactions. We can control our time so that we hammer out calls to screen candidates. We can control how many quality candidates that we submit to them for consideration. That’s what we do, and then we move on to the next step.

    1. Focus on your influence

You may have noticed that I keep saying “directly control.” That wording is intentional because we can influence even when we don’t control. If we are controlling our own actions, we then have the power to influence others.

Let’s go back to my world: recruiting. As recruiters, we screen and submit enough quality candidates to get the position filled. That’s what we control. Once we submit candidates, we continue to follow up with the hiring manager and continue to ask questions. If you want to use your control to create the influence that drives results, I recommend asking your hiring manager these three questions:

      • Can the candidate do the job?
      • Is the candidate a good fit for the culture of the team?
      • If those answers are ‚Äúyes,‚Äù doesn‚Äôt it make sense to make an offer so that we don‚Äôt lose a strong candidate to another company?

That’s it? That’s all?

That’s it. It’s just that easy. As Chase’s coach told him, “Control what we can control, and the rest will take care of itself.” We will not only succeed, but we will also be happier doing it.

Leave a Reply