Making a Life, Making a Living in Recruiting

We need good recruiters.  We will always need good recruiters, even better… great recruiters.  We will need good recruiters during the tough times, the good times, and at all times.  Without good recruiters, we don’t find the top talent that runs, changes and impacts our world.  Yep, we have a big job.  Were you born to recruit? Are you making a life or making a living?

What makes a good recruiter is a passion of mine.  I love evaluating what makes someone tick, uncovering how someone is naturally wired, what drives someone, what make them a good recruiter.  I don’t believe it is rocket science to know what competencies make a good recruiter (even though we still have not officially agreed on them as a profession).  Some of the things I think that make a good recruiter are business savvy, consultative skills, the gift of gab, organizational skills, a servant attitude and a passion for people and all the stuff that makes a good sales person great… to name a few.  Not everyone makes a good recruiter.  It is not an easy job, but the good ones make it look easy.  Sure you can learn the technical skills necessary to do recruiting today, but I believe a great recruiter is born that way.

There is a lot of attention on the recruiting profession lately.  Social media is helping make the once obscure professional (“Oh, I didn’t know I could have a job like that”) more accessible to everyone.  I coach a lot of people in their careers. Many ask me how to get into recruiting (“because it looks cool”), some people ask advice on whether they should stay in recruiting or make a change, even go back into an HR generalist role, for example.  The times are crazy and there is a lot thinking going on about “what should I be doing?”  So, let me share some simple advice that has helped many people put it in perspective.  This advice can apply to anyone, including the new college grad, the individual contributor, the leader and even the executive.  It is simple:  figure out what you are good at and do it.   I think that I am a great recruiter, but I’d not be as good as an accountant.  It didn’t take me long to figure that out, but sadly I see a lot of unhappy people still stuck in jobs that they just aren’t good at (even if they are being paid well to do it). Are you making a life in recruiting because it is in your DNA or are you making a living, because it is a job?

 I’d like to share with you one of my all-time favorite Harvard Business School studies that will help anyone thinks this through.  It may give you some insight on what you do next.

A study of business school graduates tracked the careers of 1,500 people for twenty years. From the beginning, the graduates were grouped into two categories.

Category A consisted of people who said they wanted to make money first so they could do what they really wanted to do later — after they had taken care of their financial concerns.

Those in Category B pursued their true interests first, sure that the money would eventually follow.

Of the 1,500 graduates in the survey, the money-now Category A’s comprised of 83% or 1,245 people. Category B risk takers made up 17% or 255 graduates. What happened 20 years later will amaze you!

After 20 years, there were 101 millionaires in the entire group. Only ONE came from Category A, but 100 from Category B.

Conclusion: “the overwhelming majority of people who have become wealthy have become so thanks to the work they found profoundly absorbing…Their ‘luck’ arose from the accidental dedication they had to an area they enjoyed.”

In the words of one of my favorite management gurus, Tom Peters, “When you love what you do, you’re alive.”

So, if you are a very good recruiter, you know it because you love it and people love you doing it, you wouldn’t want to do anything else. Be grateful you found the right fit and love what you do.  The industry needs you and we will do what we can to help you.  Stick with it; continue with your passion, learn, grow and help others along the way.  If you aren’t happy with your current role, get another one, one you are good at, love and can be at your best.  After all, having a career in recruiting is about helping people find their dream job right?  Happy Recruiting!

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