By no means is this post meant to be a dig at the recruiting industry, nor a gripe on my career choice. My purpose of this post is to give some of the newcomers into the industry some sound advice on what to expect. When I first received the call about working for a staffing company, I had no idea this industry even existed. It was completely new to me! A company would pay another company to find talent for their organization? When I was initially contacted about this exciting opportunity as a recruiter, my first thought was "how hard can this be?" Much to my surprise, staffing turned out to be a HUGE challenge. In my first 6 months, I thought about walking away several times because the reality of the position did not align with my expectations of the position.
Taking a step back, it would have been nice to have realistic expectations as I entered this new career. Below are are few of the biggest areas where expectations did not align with reality.
- It's not just as easy as finding the right candidate: You are dealing in people, not with a commodity, people/candidates have the gift of freewill. They will tell you what you want to hear and at times they will fib about their experience. They may not show up when they said they will show up, and very often will get "lost" on the way to the interview. You do your best to prohibit these issues, but the reality is you can not predict everything that could possibly go wrong during the recruiting process. Not everyone will be difficult to work with, but you should always prepare yourself with as much detail as possible to try and avoid the inevitable "bumps in the road."
- DO NOT get into the industry because you have been sold on MAKING THE BIG BUCKS: When I was interviewing for my first position in the staffing industry, my future manager told me I had "six figure potential" within the first couple years. As a recent college grad I said CHA-CHING!!!! I can tell you that after 7.5 years of recruiting I have never broken the six figure mark. At this point in my career, I am more motivated by helping people than I am by the earning potential. If you are someone who is motivated by money, then a different form of sales may be the best option for you. I am not suggesting it is impossible to make good money in the recruiting industry, but it takes a little luck and some very hard work. Recruiters can make a lot of money, but more often than not these individuals have dedicated themselves to be the best at what they do. They become experts in staffing, and provide value to the customer in many different areas. In some rare cases you will find someone new to the industry who is making decent money, but in my experience these individuals happened to be in the right place at the right time.
- Most newcomers fail within the first six months: This is plain and simple. People go into this industry with false expectations, and will be quick to find a new job when things get tough. If you do choose to start a career in recruiting, you should know right away, times will get tough. You will go through many highs and many lows, and these variances can come within days of each other. It is how you deal with the peaks and valleys that will determine how successful you are in the industry. The key here is to find a way to make the highs not as high and the lows not as low. Celebrate the wins, mourn the losses, but in both cases move on quickly.
- Take recruiting for what it is: In my opinion, the best recruiters in the industry are those who are trusted and well respected. To these individuals it is truly about finding a win-win for all parties involved. Those who go through their daily recruiting routine with little regard for how they are treating candidates or hiring managers will never be successful in this type of position. At the end of the day you are working in the relationship business, and you must know how to develop relationships. If you do a Google Search on "recruiters" you will most likely find a lot more people who hate our profession than you will find people who love us. This negative image is created by people who do not care who they step on to get to the top, and do not truly care about the well being of the candidate or client. They have no interest in a win-win scenario. If you are just in it for the money, you will lose sight of what is really important, TRUST!
I could not have fallen into a better career, and I am very appreciative of all the people I have met along this journey. I did not have the best first manager/mentor, but in reality I would not be where I am today without him. If you are one of the fortunate ones to find a career in talent acquisition, be sure to keep in perspective why our industry even exists. Companies spend millions in their budgets to fund talent acquisition as well as third party agencies, and they can easily replace you with another recruiter or agency.
**If you enjoyed this blog, please follow me on Twitter (PhxRecruit), as well as my Blogger account (http://welive2work.blogspot.com/)