5 Things I Wish I Would Have Known When I Started Recruiting

Recruiting true story.

I came into recruiting just over 10 years ago and I started my career as an agency recruiter.  I was given a Monster login and I was told to find some accounts payable clerks before the end of the week.  Over the years I’ve learned a lot about the profession but there are a few core principles I wish someone had shared with me when I came into the field.

The very first good habit I got into when I started in recruiting was planning my day.  They say, “Fail to plan, and you plan to fail.”  All I know for sure is that the best people in the business have a plan.  This is how I organized my day.  8 to 10 AM was for outreach.  I blocked that time every day to do my sourcing.  I wouldn’t schedule interviews or send outs during that time.  I learned that the best time to reach people is first thing in the morning.  I made a call plan with the names, numbers, and emails of everyone I wanted to reach that day.  I had a list of the people I wanted to follow up with and a list of people I wanted to submit for open jobs.  Having your day planned makes you more efficient and helps prevent things from falling through the cracks.  During the midafternoon lull, I never had to wonder what I should be doing, I already had a plan.

Just CallThe next little secret I’d like to tell the rookie recruiter version of me would be when in doubt, call.  What I’ve learned is that a great accountant may not be a great resume writer and a software engineer with a great resume may not be a great software engineer.  Also, people don’t put a lot of their skills on the resume.  When in doubt call, was one of the best pieces of advice I ever received as a recruiter, and I’m passing it on to you.

When you leave work, leave work.  I know I can take it personally when I have a job open for over 60 days.  I had to come to terms with the fact that I had presented qualified and interested candidates to my hiring manager, and the hiring manager hadn’t selected someone.  Now the hiring manager is working extra hours to make up for the lost capacity.  I had to accept that was the hiring manager, not me.   I did my job and that was all I could do.  Learning to let go isn’t an easy thing to do but if you want to have a career in recruiting you are going to have to come to terms with the fact that you can’t do it all and not everything is in your control.

That leads me to my next lesson.  I was taught the myth that your hiring manager is your client.  If you work in an agency you may be able to make this case because they may actually be the person that pays you.  However, if you work in corporate RPO your hiring manager is your partner, not your client.  We are a cross-functional team assembled to achieve a specific business goal.   The best outcomes result when we work as a team of equals.  Just because they had the title manager and I didn’t, did not mean that I worked for them.  I was temporarily assigned to help them with a specific task.  When that task was complete I was going to move onto something else.  When we say that our hiring manager is our client we create and perpetuate an uneven relationship that is a root cause of a lot of our habitual drinking as recruiters.

The final lesson I would like to share with a rookie recruiter is read and cultivate your love of learning. Over the years I’ve been fortunate to have interactions with one of the giants of the recruiting community.  Gerry Crispin has been gracious in sharing his knowledge with me on multiple occasions over the years but I think the most valuable lesson he shared with me was something he said when he didn’t know he was teaching me. The very first time I met Gerry he introduced himself as “Gerry Crispin, eternal student.”  He has forgotten more about recruiting than I know.  His words reminded me of something Socrates said almost 2,500 years ago, “When you want wisdom and insight as much as you want to breathe, it is then you shall have it.”

The truth is the core of what we do as recruiters is about how we use our time to interact with people. The path to success in this business is the same as any other.  Learn, Plan, Do.

Mike Wolford has over 10 years of recruiting experience in a staffing agency, contract and in-house corporate environments. He has worked with such companies as Allstate, Capital One, and National Public Radio. Mike also published a book titled “Becoming the Silver Bullet: Recruiting Strategies for connecting with Top Talent” and “How to Find and Land your Dream Job: Insider tips from a Recruiter.” He also founded Recruit Tampa, and currently serves as the Sourcing Manager at Hudson RPO. An active member of the Recruiting community, Mike has spoken publicly in an effort to help elevate the level of professional skill or recruiters? Sourcers? I’d clarify here. Follow Mike on Twitter @Mike1178 or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Noel Cocca

This is author biographical info, that can be used to tell more about you, your iterests, background and experience. You can change it on Admin > Users > Your Profile > Biographical Info page.”




This is author biographical info, that can be used to tell more about you, your iterests, background and experience. You can change it on Admin > Users > Your Profile > Biographical Info page.”

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