My Colleague, My Competition

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Businessman punched by red boxing gloveChances are that if you are an Agency Recruiter (or Account Manager) you are walking into an office every day with stiff competitors. Look around while you pour that cup of coffee. See that guy over there? Yep, he’s working to beat you.  That woman over there printing resumes? You know she’s working to beat you. And what about that guy staring at you? Yep, he’s planning your downfall.

Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating a little bit—but just a little. Recruiters in the Agency world are facing stiff competition not just from the myriad of other agencies out there, not just from internal Talent Acquisition reps and not just from all the Monsters and Dices out there, but they’re facing it from their colleagues too.  It can get a little…tense. So here are some basic rules on how to work with your colleagues, have a good time and still do your best.

1. Keepin’ it clean

I’ve been in the Agency world for my entire career and I’d like to say I’ve seen it all, but I know I haven’t. Someone, somewhere is going to surprise me. What I have seen are two basic groups of Recruiters: the ones who keep it clean and act ethically and the ones who skirt the rules and play dirty to get the upper hand. But guess what? The guys who
play dirty
don’t last too long. If you are continually skirting the rules (or worse yet, following them, but ALWAYS violating the spirit of the rules) things tend to get ugly quickly. Resentment builds and sooner rather than later, you’ll find yourself iced out of the office and on the street looking for a new place to set up shop. On the other hand, the Recruiters that play fair, keep it transparent and take it even further by maintaining the spirit of the rules…they are great to work with. You can have fun, work together, hang by the Keurig (goodbye good ol’ water cooler) and swap horror stories.  Score one for the good guys.

2. Celebrate Success

Nothing is worse than an office where every success is viewed as someone else’s failure. And I know we’ve all been in an environment like that.  It’s hard to avoid when each time a position is filled, it leaves one less for the other Recruiters to work. Then again, there are some great Recruiters out there who realize that office attitude is immeasurably important to the overall success of the group. And those are the ones who strive to celebrate each success. They don’t frame each filled position as one less for the other guys, but instead celebrate it as an overall success for the office. They see a victory; one more head on the board, more margin to the revenue tick and something to be built upon. So pat someone on the back next time they do well. Offer a smile instead of a cringe. But most of all, look at the momentum that each start can lend to an office.

3. Mind Your Own Business

My mother used to tell me to mind my own business constantly. I was a busy body. I couldn’t help it; people are interesting to me. But in the world of recruiting, it’s a killer. When you start paying attention to what everyone else is doing, you find yourself facing two big problems: One, you are ignoring your own responsibilities. The more you look to the people around you, the less you are looking to yourself to make something positive happen. And two? Paying attention to everyone else is an attitude killer. Ever try finding a great candidate, building a rapport and nailing it when you’re busy being down in the dumps?  Probably not…because it doesn’t work.

So keep it clean, enjoy the successes and keep your eye on your own prize…not everyone else’s.

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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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