Meet the Recruiter Who Turned His Disability into an Advantage

July 9, 2014

When David Hume applied for his first recruiting job the answer he got was:

“You can’t possibly be a recruitment consultant because you can’t see.”

David had been blind since birth and that was not an answer that surprised him. He had a good comeback: “I get an advantage in recruitment because I am not hung up on person’s presentation. Each person has an aura based on the way they present themselves verbally.”

At that point Geoff Slade took a chance and gave David his first job opportunity as a recruitment consultant.

Fast forward 30 years to 2014, and you will find out that David is now Principal at HR Network. He made company partner after growing the business 10X, managed multistage operations, and placed candidates who successfully drove millions of dollars in business for their new employers. All that while having a handicap that some people will perceive as an insurmountable roadblock.

I had the sincere pleasure of meeting David while in Melbourne in April and I am excited to share his story with you. Watch the video below to hear from him how he overcame personal and professional disadvantages to pursue a career that he finds inspiring and gratifying:

Hopefully you will walk away from David’s story feeling moved and inspired. I surely had a few very important takeaways after hearing of his journey.

First, I learned that relationships truly matter. There were a number of people throughout David’s life who were instrumental in developing him throughout his career. “I was fortunate that people recognized that I had more to offer than I realized,” David explained with gratitude.

The first person was his aunt, who placed him in community service clubs, debating and public speaking as a young man. The second was Geoff Slade, who took a chance and gave David his first recruiter opportunity at his recruitment  consultancy. Another was Ben Wood, who David headhunted for a crucial senior executive role. Today, Ben is the Managing Director in a highly successful IT recruitment company. It was Ben who encouraged David to leverage LinkedIn to increase his contact and client network.

“I am not self-made. I found the right people at  crucial  times  in  my life  who worked with me to make a difference,” says David.

Second, I learned to position obstacles as opportunities. As a recruiter, you have those days where you feel discouraged - whether a leading candidate declined the offer or your can’t get on the same page with a client. Being blind, David used his insecurity as fuel for success. “I have self doubt everyday of my life,” David said. “If you don't have doubts and insecurity, you can't maximize your success.”

For example, when it came to technology, David had to turn what some perceived as weakness into a special selling point. He convinced his clients that he is not only comfortable with using the latest innovations but that his experience in tandem with technology would be the crucial for a successful recruitment project. “I am a person who operates from instinct, experience and the input of raw data,” David explained. “My judgment is impartial and analytical which influences clients and candidates in making the correct decisions.”

Finally, I learned the true meaning of ‘doing what you love.’ David’s passion for recruiting is contagious. “I'm a natural headhunter. I get a real kick out of it,” he says, “I love the thrill of the chase and the consummation of the assignment.” However, it’s more than just matching the right person with the right opportunity. David is sincerely interested in placing the right candidate who can make a lasting impact on a business. “The only thing that matters in business is people,” he concludes. “If you have the people, the world is your oyster.”


Do you have a powerful story of yours that you’d like to share with us? Let us know on Twitter at @HireOnLinkedin.