Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The crop circle etiquette

Recently, I met a friend from Chicago Booth who is recruiting for summer internships.He started talking to me about Crop Circle Etiquette and I was like "Crop Circle What?" Well, a 'Crop Circle' in their terminology is the circle that forms around a recruiter or a employee of a company who is recruiting on campus. My Business School friends will remember this time - when every candidate is talking to the recruiter, trying to ask a really intelligent question and trying to stand out.

Anyway, back to the story. My friend told me that they are taught exactly how to behave in a crop circle. For example, if a new person wants to join in, you make space, let the person in, pause and let him introduce himself/herself, and ask the next question. Similarly, when someone gets quiet and seems like he to leave, you get quiet, let him say bye, and then carry on a conversation. Three points came to mind.

1. First of all kudos to Booth to not only teaching this etiquette to its students, but by making it memorable. By calling it a memorable name like Crop Circle, students are much more likely to remember and follow the lessons. We were taught these lessons at Kellogg as well, just that it was called 'How to behave in front of the recruiter' and it did not quite stick as vividly.

2. Second, first years, keep this etiquette in mind. There are few opportunities to actually make yourself very memorable in front of recruiters, but it can be very easy to piss off your classmates. And that will stick with you.

3. Third, a funny story that my friend from Kellogg told me. He was standing in a crop circle with a partner from a major consulting firm. One person was completely hogging the spotlight and asking one question after another without pausing, and without letting anyone ask any questions. At one point, the partner turns to my friend and say 'So, would you like the chance to ask the questions.' He calmly said "Its OK. It doesn't matter who asks the questions as long as we all get to listen to the answers." Wow, well done buddy! Guess who the partner will really remember now?