Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Recruiting

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Small StuffAgency Recruiters have pretty cool jobs.  Every day is something slightly different; lots of variety, a good deal of flexibility and a healthy dose of down time to surf the net, catch up on the news or listen to music.  Oh yeah, did I mention the commissions?  All in all, it seems like a pretty sweet deal.  But then, there’s a lot of competition and a tough market to boot.  So is being an Agency Recruiter all it’s really cracked up to be?

The other side of agency recruiting is the constant state of flux, not flexibility.  Priorities change, Managers change and deals fall through.  Candidates disappear, budgets disappear and deals evaporate. Hiring managers forget your name. Clients become more demanding, metrics become harsher and at the end of the day, you’ve got a burnt out, beat up Recruiter looking for the nearest emergency exit.  In a world of constant pressure, ticking deadlines and outlandish expectations how do you keep your cool and keep the business flowing? It’s all about perspective and not sweating the small stuff.

  • Recruiters manage people.  When all is said and done the most basic piece of any Agency Recruiters’ job is managing people. We manage our candidates and we manage our Clients.  That might not sound so bad to people on the outside but if you’ve been there, you know what a challenge that can be.  As Recruiters we are extraordinarily good at controlling situations. We prepare candidates to the hilt; we provide polished resumes, interview tips, job insight, manager insight, answers to trick questions and yes, sometimes even cologne and perfume.  It’s our job to anticipate anything that can happen when two people sit down together in a room.  But at some point a Recruiter has to draw the line and know they have done all that they could.  Once you’ve covered your bases and done your due diligence, you have to let go and realize that the business will close, or it won’t.  Learning to draw the line and separate ourselves from what we can and can’t control is a survival instinct for anyone in this for the long haul.  The sooner you learn to shrug off a loss and realize that done is done, the sooner you’ll get the next deal off the ground.
  • It’s Just Business.  That sounds pretty cynical and like I’m not invested into this profession…not true at all.  I love what I do and have been doing it successfully for years.  But when I first started out I remember looking around at the people in my office.  The highs were high, but the lows were low. These people losses just as personally as they took wins and it created a chaotic, bi-polar inducing environment.  Not a great mix.  If you’re a great recruiter, you’re probably going to want to stay in the business; it’s fun, flexible and lucrative.  On the other hand, you will have to learn to deal with the lows.  This is work, not your actual life and keeping that in perspective at all times is necessary.  Unfortunately, a lot of us (if not all) have been guilty of personalizing our wins and losses and basically treating them like all encompassing events. They’re not.  This business is about a cumulative build up over time, steady progress and perseverance.  If you’re going to have your head taken out of the game each time you thought you had a deal, you’re in real trouble.  Remember, it’s just business.  Getting a deal is great. Losing a deal happens.  Move on.

Keeping perspective and maintaining equilibrium are two of the most crucial skills you will learn as an Agency Recruiter. If you don’t hone them just as sharply as you do your actual recruiting skills, you’ll be hard pressed to remain moving and successful in this market.  So keep your head up, your wits about you and keep things moving in the right direction. Happy recruiting!

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With a background in business development and an expertise in staffing and employment, Christine is the Manager of Market Development for At Christine focuses on creating new marketing avenues and products for Recruiters and HR professionals alike.
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