If you’re a recruiter, you will have some good days, some bad days, and some days where you are just plain pissed off. If you say you haven’t felt pissed off, I’m going to call you a bold faced liar. You see, as recruiters, we’re dealing with people. We are dealing with our candidates and our clients, we’re dealing with our new hires and our hiring managers, but that’s not all.
We are also dealing with the mundane onboarding issues, employment contracts, spreadsheets, metrics and so much more. Some days we have highs, some days we have lows, and some days – most days – we just can’t wait to get an adult beverage in our hands. Preferably a double.
A Recruiting Reality Check
Our jobs as recruiters, frankly, can be downright infuriating at times. People we thought were going to get hired disappear. It seems we never can get enough candidates fast enough to make our hiring managers happy, or get feedback and next steps back fast enough to make our candidates happy.
We aren’t getting the responses we want from our hiring managers, and the goddamn escalations can lead anyone to a heart attack (or, at least, to drink).
Yes, recruiters have days that just suck. We have days that just piss us off. Being a recruiter is a thankless position, really.
One minute you’re a hero; the next you’re a zero. And most moments in between you’re caught somewhere in the strange purgatory of the hiring process. It’s almost like a bad losing stream.
When you’re in a funk, you can’t do anything right. When you’re hot, you know it – and if you’ve got any experience recruiting, you’re also acutely aware that any roll you’re on will inevitably end, likely sooner rather than later.
As an industry, we generate a ton of self-congratulatory, self-indulgent, pat-yourself-on-the-back kind of posts, but here’s the thing. I’m a recruiter – and I’m not going to sugar coat the profession this time with the same saccharine superlatives you’re probably used to. Because for most people out there, recruiters are seen as scum.
If you’re a corporate recruiter, you’re seen as lazy scum; if you’re an agency recruiter, you’re a silver tongued snake oil salesman (or worse). Not only that, but the revolving door of recruiting, with its limited barriers for entry and constant turnover, ensures that most people leave this industry as fast as they enter it.
And really, who can blame them? You’ve got to have some self-destructive or sado-masochistic streak to stay, really.
Riding the Recruiting Roller Coaster: Why I Stay
But some of us – the ones of us who are really recruiters – roll up our sleeves and stay. So, what’s good about being a recruiter? Why would anyone in their right mind subject themselves to this thankless, high stress, low reward, and little respected profession?
It certainly isn’t the stability; especially in corporate recruiting, where the in-house talent acquisition team is inevitably the first ones on the chopping block when the economy or the business turn south. You can go broke pretty quickly as an agency recruiter if you don’t have the resiliency required, and it takes a lot of resiliency to be repeatedly villainized, slammed with invectives or just ignored by top talent entirely.
I’m not going to lie to you, dude. It’s rough out here in the recruiting trenches. You’ve got to like people. You’ve got to know that those people, largely, are going to either flake or fail at getting an offer (statistically speaking). You’ve got to know that your hiring managers are going to be a pain in the ass, and so too are most of the candidates you come into contact with. Those are the realities of being a recruiter, and while they’re tough, they’re also inevitable.
So, why am I still at it? I guess why I recruit, why I do what I do, is that I truly believe that what goes around comes around. Call it the karma of candidate experience. The people I help out and who help me in the industry aren’t just colleagues; they’re friends. They’re there for me when I need a hand, or a sympathetic ear, advice or encouragement – a misfit band of brothers bound by a shared passion for people and the work of helping those people find work, as it were.
The Real Rewards of Recruiting
These relationships – and the relationships I’ve built with my clients, colleagues, candidates and coworkers – are what recruiting is all about. And those relationships do not suck. They’re what get you through the day, and what gets you through the Sisyphean process we face day in and day out. This is the part of recruiting that doesn’t piss me off – and I, like most recruiters, have a lot of things that piss me off.
When I have one of those days – and hell, most of them are those days – here’s what I do. I take a deep breath, maybe grab a bottle of something, and reflect on the fact that all this crap is just part of being a recruiter. And despite all that crap, there’s nothing else on earth that I’d rather be.
It’s an impulse, an addiction, a feeling, but every day I come to the office, no matter what the one before looks like, I do so with the sincere belief that today is going to be the day where I find the perfect candidate for the perfect job. And when that happens, that’s perfection – and there’s no better feeling than being a recruiter who gets it right.
Getting it right, of course, is easier said than done, but brother, if you’re in recruiting, know this: you’re not alone. We’re all in this together. And what you do as a recruiter is more than represent a brand or a job – you represent the entire profession every time you pick up the phone or send an e-mail or check a reference. So hang in there, move on, and know that it’s going to be rough, and you’ve got to have thick skin, a healthy sense of competition and a little bit of a crazy streak to survive – and thrive.
But ultimately, there’s no profession that’s more rewarding than recruiting – and in spite of everything else, it’s important to never lose sight of how important what we do really is: we don’t just put good people in good jobs, we improve their quality of life, their career opportunities and their economic and emotional security.
Stick to your guns, be confident, be courageous and know that every day as a recruiter is a challenge – but if you’re having one of those days, remember: if this was an easy job, it wouldn’t be worth doing. But recruiting is always worth it. Just ask your next hire.
About the Author: Will Thomson lives in Austin, Texas, and works for Rosetta Stone as the Global Sales and Marketing Recruiter. He has been in recruitment and sales for 20 years.
He received his undergraduate from The University of Mississippi, and his Master’s Degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin. He has recruited some of the most sought-after talent around the globe, and is a regular blogger for the recruitment industry.