What I’ve Learned About People through Recruiting

Trust Your Gut Instinct

My whole career has been based around bringing people together in one form or another. Many times, it is not an exact science, just a gut feeling. You are introduced to someone and your mental rolodex kicks in to gear, pairing one individual up with another while thinking, “oh that’s a good fit.” In recruiting, we make multiple decisions like this on a daily basis. There’s no point trying to push square pegs in to round holes.  It’s essential in our business that there is some form of real connection between a candidate and a client, and no amount of outstanding qualifications will make a difference if you feel that they are not well-matched personalities and see only friction ahead.

People Do Have Agendas

Even those that don’t think they do, actually do. They have very fixed ideas about the way they are, their shining qualities, which should be obvious to anyone, and are convinced of their own rectitude to an extent. This is entirely understandable!  But on occasions and after all your counsel, coaxing, suggestions and then border-line arm-twisting, some will continue to just pay lip-service and carry on doing their own thing. At this juncture, you should probably just admit defeat and walk away. Over time you come to recognize the tipping point when you are beaten, and there is nothing more you can offer.

Invest Your Time Wisely

Which neatly leads on to this very important point. At my recruiting firm, we see ourselves as much more than just a placement agency. We fulfill a valuable counseling and consulting role, for both candidates and clients. Financially, much of this goes entirely unrewarded.  For candidates, we will do everything from resume re-writes to interview prep. to career guidance. For clients, we can be strategic in terms of where they see growth opportunities for their organization and anticipating their future needs.  There is also a substantial emotional investment – we are, after all, involved in a “people” business – as well as a practical investment.  It follows that this uses up a vast amount of time, and should only be applied to those on the candidate and client side that you truly believe in.

Dig For The Hidden Gems

Fortunately in life, we do not live in a world populated by monochrome clones – well not yet, anyway. No two people are exactly the same. They may well have entirely similar business backgrounds and list similar achievements, but there will be subtle, and not so subtle, differences in the way they approach situations and what makes them tick. An air of outward self-confidence in one might be mirrored by a general reticence in another until you find that person’s “hot spot.” It is genuinely one of the more rewarding aspects of recruiting to review a resume or engage with a new client, get to know them and then find yourself syncing with their needs and desires.

We’re Not Here To Only Do People Favors

All relationships have to have a basis in mutual trust and respect. Everything good in life comes from real partnerships. If you feel that you are being treated as part of the furniture by an individual and that there is a general air of under-appreciation coming your way, again use those two legs you were given at birth and walk away.  Your self-worth is every bit as important as theirs.

Don’t Take It Too Personally

Unfortunately, despite all these amazing insights I have provided about trusting instincts etc., there will be times when your internal radar fails catastrophically and you will be let down. These times can blind-side you very effectively. A perfect candidate goes through the perfect job interview cycle and a grateful client invests multiple hours before reaching the decision that your candidate is an ideal fit. Everybody’s delighted. And then come start day – no sign of said candidate. No contact, phone’s off, messages aren’t returned.  Nothing. Or possibly a curt email saying “I’ve decided not to take up the position.”  And you’re left holding the baby, so to speak, with an irate client and your own conflicting emotions of “why didn’t I see that one coming?” Just don’t take it personally. As I noted above, everyone has agendas and some are better at concealing theirs than others. You can’t be right all of the time, you just have to be right most of the time.

Don’t Let It Eat You Alive

Finally – and this takes some practice, believe me – you must constantly be aware of achieving a proper work/life balance. I have a young family and a wife who is my rock.  Without them, I would not be able to do the job I do. I take immense pride in the relationships I have with my clients and candidates, but I separate that from the energy I get from my family and friends outside of my workplace. Time spent away refreshes and reinvigorates you, removing you from the draining effects of extreme tunnel vision. This in turn enables you to perform your job more effectively. 

And remember, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating your professional successes, so long as you celebrate yourself once in a while.