So you’ve been thinking about switching careers and recruitment looks like a pretty neat option, eh?
You’ve done some basic phone interviews in previous roles, and heck, a recruiter even helped you land your current position. You’re intrigued. You think you have what it takes, seems like an easy decision. Whelp, before your make the leap, below are just a few things that I’ve experienced as a Recruiter that may not be obvious at first glance.
1) Non-Recruiters will never understand what your job really is. My husband still thinks my job is like Mila Kunis’ in Friends with Benefits, where she acts as a headhunter and recruits Justin Timberlake for a job in NYC. If only. Don’t even bother explaining the basics of sourcing and the importance of following compliance to family members or other outsiders. Honestly, tons of people just assume that recruiters are one of two things: paper-pushers moving active applicants through an online database, or some twisted form of salesperson similar to a timeshare agent in Florida. Whatever their impressions are, solid recruiters won’t let their thoughts or judgments bring them down. Proud of the deep-web Boolean searching you devised that uncovered your top candidate? Do yourself a favor and pat yourself on the back.
2) It’s about the experience, not the numbers. Of course, keeping up with your company’s metrics will ensure you keep your job and have food on the table, but what will empower you to build upon your career? Numbers are not the end-all-be-all. Referrals and building your professional network are your key to success. Just like the candidates don’t care how many scheduled screens you have that week, the hiring managers don’t want to hear about how many fills you had last month. Recruiters sometimes get so caught up in the process, that we fail to remember that these people we are constantly interacting with, are, you know, human. While the end results are important, what matters most to those on the other side is the experience and their interaction with you. It reminds me of one of my absolute favorite quotes by the great Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people won’t remember what you said, and people won’t remember what you did; people will only remember how you made them feel.”
3) You will feel like a therapist most days. There is no arguing that changing jobs is one of the most stressful life events, along with divorce and death of a loved one. As Recruiters, we have the responsibility to guide our prospects through every step of the job hunting process. Act as a viable resource. Educate them on interview tips, resume edits, and even share networking opportunities. Show genuine concern and act as their advocate. Not only will this help to polish your top candidates even more, it will present you as an incredibly talented professional and – bonus – will make you feel like a good-hearted human along the way.
4) Passion is just as important as sourcing skills. Do you pride yourself on knowing the ins and outs of your ATS? Are you a LinkedIn guru? Can you Boolean with your eyes closed while doing the Stanky Leg? Even if you said yes to all of the above, it DOES NOT make you a good Recruiter. Sure, all of those things are incredibly helpful when recruiting, but passion is the key ingredient. The secret sauce, if you will. The passion to recruit will:
- Keep your desk organized when your req load is insane
- Motivate you to work after the kiddos are asleep
- Empower you to think outside of the box to fill the most impossible of positions
- Help you keep your cool when you get reamed out by a hiring manager or disgruntled candidate
- Give you strength and provide you with the right words to say when informing your favorite prospect that they have not been selected
5) Sourcing skills make you a bit of a creeper. OK, I’m making that sound worse than it is. But honestly, a proper recruiter will continuously educate themselves on knowing the latest and greatest searching techniques. You need to know all the different ways you can not only find people, but find out what you need to know about them to see if they’re a good candidate. Most Recruiters are happy to share their search skills with others who are willing to learn. Knowing which tools to use for your specific market is Step 1. Step 2 is catering your engagement with them and demonstrating confidence all the while. Then pepper in that secret sauce, aka passion, and you will be in solid shape. Even better? Next time your grandma tells you about the new guy she met on a dating site, you can help her out (and potentially save her life) by doing a bit of research on her behalf.
Hopefully this has shed some light on a few things you might not have expected to learn about being a Recruiter. Like any profession, there are unexpected challenges, but I can truly say it has been a path I have loved every step of the way. If it all still sounds like something you would enjoy, then by all means, make that leap!