Recruiting: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I love being a recruiter! Really! We get a bad rap from a large number of people, but it’s like any field, there are the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I like to think I’m one of the good ones. I know my clients, candidates and my boss think so. Recruiting is a very rewarding job that starts with the hunt for the “right” candidate, the catch (finding the “right” candidate”, the placement and then the money, but it’s not an easy job either. I’ve heard statistics that approximately 80% of people who enter this industry, fail in the first 2 years, leave, and are never heard from again. That’s a good thing though. It weeds out the bad or the ugly. Hopefully you aren’t either one of those. It is tough being a recruiter, but if you like a challenge it’s a great job.  The challenge is like a puzzle, find the right pieces, put them together and you have a deal. That makes it sound too easy, so say it’s like a 5000 piece puzzle and half of it is the blue sky. It takes looking at lots of candidates and channeling them from different processes to find all the right pieces to the puzzle. It’s like Greg Savage says “recruiting is a win/win/win.” Everybody wins when you put the puzzle together correctly; the client, the candidate and you! The fact that it may take talking to lots of people to put the deal together is the hardest part. There are too many recruiters out there who just submit the first candidate they talk to without being convinced they are the right candidate. My advice, take your time and don’t just fling paper at your clients. It won’t pay off in the long run and you will have happier clients who respect you more if you take the time to find the right candidate. If you’ve been at this as long as I have, you know the feeling when you’ve found the “right” candidate before you even submit them to your client. It’s a gut feeling I have, but I can really tell from my interview with a candidate if they are the right person for the job. Recently I’ve been looking for a candidate for a client without much luck and wasn’t really liking any of the candidates I spoke with. I found the best of the worst and thought I was going to submit that one. Then I made one  more call and found the “right” guy. I’m so glad I didn’t give up and kept on trying until I did find the right person. I hate to admit it, but every once in awhile a candidate fools me in the interview. I think I have the right “gut” feeling and submit them but then during the process they become a candidate I wish I hadn’t submitted. Read more about this in  The Day We Walked Away from $25,000 Dollars. That was really hard to do but I’m so glad we did it. From an integrity standpoint, I felt really good about letting this candidate go even though our client wasn’t really happy we did. From a recruiting standpoint, it was hard to walk away from a placement, but we did the right thing. The best part of this story is we found our client another candidate within a week and he was the perfect fit. We influenced our client because they trusted us. That’s what a good recruiter does! The quote – “everything happens for a reason” couldn’t have been more true in this situation. If you’re a newbie recruiter, know that it takes hard work and diligence to be a good recruiter. Hopefully you’ll get some good training and be able to recognize talent when you see it. Realize that there are many avenues to finding good talent so don’t think it’s all just going to fall into your lap. It takes working multiple channels and finding the one that suits you best. All good recruiters aren’t cut from the same cloth so there are many ways people become good recruiters. The thing that is the same is the bottom line – we like the fun of winning, the fun of finding the right people, the fun of making people happy and the fun of the money. So if you are having a bad day or even a bad week, (which will happen) remember tomorrow or next week could bring you a whole different outlook. That’s the fun of it! No day is the same as the day before and if it is you’re doing something wrong. Have fun recruiting!


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.