Attitude versus Aptitude…What It Takes to be a Great Recruiter

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Breaking WavesHeadhunting is not easy.  No matter what some people might think or say, no matter what you yourself may sometimes think, ours is a tough job. It takes grit to make this a career choice rather than just another job along the way.  Sure the world of recruiting is lucrative, dynamic and fun…but it is also highly charged, super stressful and extremely competitive.  Like most things in life, our great payday comes with its share of bruises, bumps and blahs along the way.  So what really makes a great recruiter?  Is it really all about maintaining a positive attitude despite the disappointments? Or is there something a bit more unique about the Elite?

Attitude, Attitude, Attitude…: One of the greatest challenges to a career recruiter is maintaining a long-term positive attitude.  When you boil it down to its most basic element, recruiting is all about managing people.  A recruiter is constantly being called on to manage not just their client’s expectations, desires and quirks; but also those of the various candidates, consultants and internal teams involved.  Whether or not you’re coming out of a small one man shop or a large corporate recruiting environment the day to day responsibility of managing people can be a great challenge.  (Juggling 3 balls is hard…when you’re up to 8 or 9 watch out.) Great recruiters can run into bad job orders, difficult clients, purple squirrels, tough markets and bad days just like anyone else.  But the key to staying in (successful) business is being able to move forward and focus on the next candidate, the next placement, the next deal…a tall order when you’re feeling down in the dumps.  Attitude is key to a career recruiter.  If you want to be successful and enjoy your job, maintaining a healthy attitude and outlook is a must.  Keeping your head when things are going downhill is a hurdle that all recruiters face at one point or another in their careers…likely several times. If you find yourself being taken out of the game each and every time things are going wrong it’s time to start working on what you can control; you.

Attitude, Attitude…Aptitude? So is that it?  Is the key to being a top biller really just keeping a good attitude? No, not by a long shot.  The best recruiters out there aren’t just the ones keeping a good and healthy attitude. I dare say there are some great recruiters out there that have grown more cynical over the years.  So while keeping a healthy attitude will help you enjoy what you do it is not the only ingredient to being great at it.  There’s a certain quality to the best headhunters out there today; they are the ones that have an uncanny ability to understand an individual’s needs, desires and personality in an extremely short span of time.  They can become part of an outside organization at will, understanding that company’s needs from a personal standpoint, rather than just an analytical one.  Top recruiters are motivated by the need (and uncanny ability) to deliver home runs every swing of every game regardless of an Agency, Corporate or RPO environment.  When you can start to ‘see’ a person simply by the way they authored their resume, you’ve got the knack.

At the end of the day, recruiting is a tough career.  We take on the problems of our clients and candidates on a day to day basis and convert those problems into solutions and success.  Certainly attitude plays a major role in maintaining a long-term, fulfilling career, but being good…I mean really good, is about the individual.  Being the best is about having a true eye for talent and a need to succeed.

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Marie is a writer for covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.