14 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Career in Recruitment

March 17, 2017

I  very often make the claim that I studied the least vocational subject possible at university - Philosophy. Upon graduating, the only thing I wanted from a career is to be surrounded by, and heavily interact with, people. But I was a naive graduate with no idea what career options were out there. What did I do? I went to a graduate recruitment agency of course.

I was sold the recruitment dream - the fast paced work environment, the genuine people interaction and how I will change the lives of others by finding them their perfect role. Now, the recruitment dream is real and these promises have all turned out to be true. But, there were a lot of things that I wasn’t told and wish I had known.

Below are 14 things no one ever told me about a career in recruitment. If you’re already a recruiter, you should be able to relate. And if you're thinking about becoming a recruiter, these are good to know.

1. It’s one of the toughest sales positions. People selling people to people is not easy.

2. When working in an agency, everyone is your competition. Even the guy with the really nice smile.

3. You need a ton of resilience. Candidates will cancel on interviews. People will hang up on you. Hiring managers will change requirements at the last minute. The person you just hired got fired and you need to do the whole thing over again, etc.

4. For companies to achieve great things, they need great people. And if you can recruit great people, you are responsible for the great achievements of that company. Just think about that for a moment.

5. You will have bad phone calls and it’s easy to get into the habit of not picking up the phone. Telephobia is real, don’t succumb to it.

6. In every recruitment agency, there is the urban myth about a graduate who earned enough to buy 3 houses and a Lamborghini in their first year. Don’t get hung up on it. Focus on hitting your targets by making quality placements and building your business over time.

7. A great recruiter never stops learning. You will never know it all...and neither will anyone else. Even Hermione.

8. Once you’ve mastered boolean you will feel like a hacker. But you’re not.

9. Have a plan B. Always have multiple candidates in the process and never put all your hopes on one candidate.

10. Liam Neeson in Taken will be your inspiration for every hiring assignment.

11. Some companies say they want the best talent but they won’t offer the benefits, salary or opportunity to attract them. Stay cynical of these companies.

12. Rejecting candidates will always suck.

13. Don’t kid yourself when a candidate isn’t right for the position. If it’s not a fit, don’t force it.

14. After the thrill of your first placement you will be hooked. Hiring people into their dream job can genuinely change their lives for the better. It’s an incredible feeling and ultimately why you will continue to pursue a career in recruitment.

The role of a recruiter is a difficult one but I’ve found it to be an incredibly rewarding career path with a steep learning curve. My sign off message to anyone seeking a career in recruitment is to observe, learn and keep going. You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to fail, but you’ll find the thrill of making a perfect placement, and in turn building and shaping companies for the better, brings a great feeling of satisfaction that is hard to match.

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