Your fate as a recruiter: Nirvana, failure… or hell!

You are a recruiter. Doesn’t matter where you work, or what you do. If you recruit, especially in an agency, you will end up with a future that looks like one of these three.

1: You are superb at it. You learn the skills, you earn the relationships. You enjoy high self-esteem, respect from your customers, and reap fun and money. Your job is exhilarating, and it feels like a vocation and a hobby, not work at all, because you tackle it with passion, believe in what you do, and are intrinsically happy to be placing people in work. That is recruiting nirvana.

2: You suck at it. You just don’t get it, or you work at a place where you will never get it. You suffer rejection, depression, humiliation and failure. You fight against the tide for a while, you even see flickers of success, but it’s a losing battle, and you end up hating every day. Soon you leave the industry entirely, shaking your head in disbelief that anyone could stick at such a relentless job. That’s unfortunate, you failed as a recruiter, but it is not the end of the world. You gave it a go, it was wrong for you… and maybe, now, you thrive at something else.

…and then there is the worse fate of all…

3: You are mediocre at it. A serial plodder. You don’t have the intuitive love of listening, understanding and making the match. You can’t connect with clients or candidates at a level that resonates with them. You don’t have the urgency, the negotiating skills, or the drive to actually make things happen. You are just good enough to keep your job, maybe, but the massive downs of this business are never cancelled out by the extreme highs. Because you just don’t get enough of them. A life of bad months followed by the odd average one.

And that fate, ladies and gentlemen… is career purgatory! If that  is where you are… get up… or get out!

Hear me on this. It is better to fail at this job… and get out… than be average… and stay.

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Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 8, 2012 at 4:04am
There is one more catagory of recruiter whom I have been in contact with for the last few years. The trapped recruiter. Good recruiters, maybe not super stars but good solid producers who unfortunately are on a decent draw ,have decent medical benes but their commission structure is set up so that by the time they cover their draw they end up making about 50 to 60k on revenue in of 250 to 300k. They have signed a non compete so no option of joining another firm without the hassle of fighting a non compete or going out on their own.

The only advice I can give is go internal for the term of the non compete.

What are your thoughts for the trapped recruiter?
Comment by Jerry Albright on August 8, 2012 at 11:21am

Great blog Greg.  I'm so blessed to be in the first category.  The other 2 wouldn't be much fun for me.  :)

Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 8, 2012 at 5:58pm

Recruiting is such an interesting profession.  First we don't know squat and we are scared to death.  We start placing people and making money and we think we are the smartest cat in the jungle.  Then we go out on our own and we are scared to death.  Then we start placing people and making money and we think we are the smartest cat in the jungle.  Then there is a recession and we are scared to death.  Then we start placing people and making money and we finally figure out that we may not be the smartest cat in the jungle but we finally really know what we are doing.  Then ...well, see above.  :)

If you suck or you are mediocre you will be scared to death all the time and that is no way to run a foot race.

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