Five Lies Recruiters Tell Themselves

That's not a valid work email account. Please enter your work email (e.g.
Please enter your work email

recruiting tipsCorporate and agency recruiters get lied to all day from candidates, clients, and hiring managers. Recruiters can get pretty jaded after dealing with these problems all day long. However, recruiters often lie to themselves as well. Here are five lies that recruiters tell themselves. If you’re thinking this way – watch out – it can damage your career and mindset.

  1. It’s the economy, stupid:Recruiting is very much like sales in that it’s performance based. Because recruiting and employment is based on a macro-economic trends, it’s easy to dismiss lack of performance due to factors beyond your control. However, great recruiters find a way to perform in any market – they find good markets if the one they are in isn’t strong enough. Don’t blame it on the “big economic picture.”
  2. I’m a dishonest person: Recruiters are tasked with facilitating intense communication between two parties. The subject of the conversations couldn’t be more personal and volatile: work status, salary information, personal choices. Recruiters are caught having to translate candidate intentions and mediate complicated discussions. Mistakes happen, and when they do in recruitment, people tend to get really angry. Recruiters can be the recipients of a lot of nasty emotions. You can’t let it get you down or start thinking that you are a dishonest person.
  3. I’m only as good as my last placement: Managers of recruiters tend to focus on short term results. If a recruiter goes through a bad luck period, managers tend to come down hard on them. In one sense, a certain constant level of performance is needed for recruitment. However, recruiters have to be careful not to lose sight of their overall career. A great recruiting career is about the build up of business knowledge, contacts, technical knowledge, and people management skills. Recruiters have to think about how they are doing day to day, but keep sight of their overall career objectives. Recruiters specialize in the careers of others, and they often lose sight of their own career progression.
  4. I have no skills:Recruitment is the art of building relationships – which is very hard to define. Added to this, recruiters often come from diverse backgrounds (anything from business to theater arts to cruise-ship singing) that weren’t meant for a career in recruiting. Because the core skills of recruiting (motivation, business understanding, human relationships) are hard to quantify and recruiters often “fall” into the career, recruiters will often tell themselves that they have no skills or no “real” job. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
  5. I only know one kind of recruiting: Recruiters are often segmented by industry – agency recruiters tend to focus on a particular area, and corporate recruiters tend to focus on particular skills and departments within an organization. After a while, recruiters begin to lose sight of the transferability of their skills. Recruiting, perhaps much more than other professions, is entirely transferable industry to industry. Recruiters tend to start thinking of themselves as technical recruiters or sales recruiters. When it comes down to it, recruiting is recruiting. The deep people skills and business acumen that you learn from one type of recruiting can be easily applied to another industry, geography, or type of company.

If you’ve had a long career in recruiting or even if you’re just starting out, I guarantee that you’ve told yourself some of these statements. They are inevitable and perhaps very difficult to avoid. But if you think about some of these “recruiter lies,” maybe you’ll catch yourself the next time you start wallowing in them. The corresponding recruiting truths are of course:

  1. Recruiters are responsible for their own success
  2. Recruiters do the best they can to communicate clearly
  3. Long term recruiting success makes your career
  4. Recruiting is a hard skill to master and very “real”
  5. Recruiters are never “stuck” in one industry

Recruiters, repeat daily, as needed. Have fun out there!

By Miles Jennings