Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thinking about a career in Recruiting?

Recruiting is one of the careers you don’t aspire to when you are a kid, you just become one. Not really sure how or why to be honest. For me, it was an opportunity to try something new and come to find out I was pretty good at it (well, maybe?). A lot of people see recruiting, especially when the economy is strong as a way to make a ton of money...and you can, but the fact is, to survive as a recruiter you have to love it and realize that it’s an up and down kind of career. Another thing about’s hard, like really hard.

If you are thinking about a career in recruiting here are few tips that will serve you well.

1 - If you bat .300, you’re an All-Star - My first boss in recruiting told me that the hardest thing in recruiting is dealing with rejection. He’s right. In baseball, if you hit .300 you’re in the All-Star Game....same is true for recruiting. If three out of ten people take your call, you’re on you way to being a good recruiter. What makes this hard? That means at best, 70% of your calls will be either voice mail or “Leave me alone”. It can wear on you, trust me. I once had a day where I made 140 calls, and spoke with zero people. Every single call went to voicemail or I was hung up on. What did I do the next day? Pounded the phone and tried to make 150 calls.

2 - Changing jobs is an emotional decision - This same boss explained to me that changing jobs is one of the most stressful things people can do (along w/ buying a house, getting married or losing a loved one). In order to be a good recruiter, you have to realize this is stressful and be prepared to coach your candidate through the decision and be respectful of their situation. A good recruiter listens to their candidates and helps them come to a decision as it relates to their career. Why is this hard? People will make decisions that don’t make sense to you. And they won’t make sense because at the end of the day, your candidate won’t share EVERY detail with you. Sound crazy? It’s not, it’s just part of the job you have to learn to embrace.

3 - Stars don’t align - This one drives me crazy. I’ve had great candidates, people I KNOW are good and for some reason I just can’t find them a job. Lots of factors go into this but as much as you try there are times that the stars don’t align and that superstar candidate finds another gig before you can help. Frustrating...

4 - When the going gets’d better be good - Recruiting in a down market is tough stuff. Companies slow down or stop hiring and the first folks to go are the recruiters. Fact, not opinion on that one folks, sorry. So, how do you survive? For starters be REALLY good. A good recruiter is worth their weight in gold and companies will keep you around for when things change. Another key to survival is to find great companies. Corporate or agency, doesn’t matter. Great companies are always hiring and can use a good recruiter.

I hope this helps you looking to get into recruiting, it’s a great gig if you are into it. Work hard, keep networking and you’ll be fine. Until next time....


  1. I don't think I can even begin to describe how good it is to see these points coming from a recruiter with a well-established, successful career. Nice to know the struggles are the same. I love the game, and can't see myself doing anything else, but man is it tough sometimes! Thanks for the encouragement and insight.

  2. Hi Tara, sorry for the delay in responding but glad you enjoyed. Definitely tough some days!!

    Good luck!

  3. Hi Jeff,

    I am thinking about a career in recruiting. I have done my research and have jumped in. Although, I'm not making nearly 140 calls a day. But I have received some nibbles but no bites yet. Any advice to keep me motivated and optomistic? Or am I sailing a sinking ship?