Recruiting could be thought of as a fraternity. When you start out as a recruiter, you are a pledge. You have to earn your stripes. If you are smart, you will start with an agency. Recruiting is sales. It is highly competitive and there is no other place to learn the business than in an agency.
So, when you start your career in recruiting you have a choice. You must work harder and smarter than anyone else. You see, recruiters that are successful have put in their time. Successful recruiters have built their Rolodex of candidates and clients. If you don’t work hard to build your own, you are going to get steamrolled in this industry.
From experience, I can tell you recruiters aren’t going to lay down and let you take money from their pockets. They are aggressive and don’t let them fool you, they want to chew you up and spit you out. So, from day one, I need for you to know it is going to be tough. I also need for you to know, it does get easier, but it takes time.
When I started my career in recruiting I would put in a minimum of 60-70 hours a week. Weekends were a must. I needed to do this just to keep up with the other recruiters. I had a plan every morning. I had a call sheet ready, and I had my meetings planned from the week prior.
When I was with an agency, things got worse before they got better. I watched countless people get promoted over me into higher roles. Instead of giving up, I worked harder. I spent more time with the people that achieved success and only became better at what I did. The longer I was in the field the deeper my network became and the more connections and contacts I had.
I watched people quit left and right. Pressure got to most people. I stood tall. I slowly became the recruiter that people looked up to when filling roles. I finally wasn’t the pledge anymore. I was part of the fraternity.
Once I joined the fraternity, it was just the beginning. I realized quickly that I could never let up. Someone new hotshot with more enthusiasm wanted what I had.
If you are thinking about a career in recruiting, you have to have thick skin. You MUST be competitive. You MUST show perseverance. You must be a STUDENT of the industry and keep up with all of the latest and greatest. If you don’t someone else will. It has taken me 20 years to build the Rolodex I have and I am building it every day. If you have that mind set, this is the right field for you. If you don’t there are plenty of other careers.
I have since left the agency world. I am a corporate recruiter and have been in recruiting and sales for 20 years. I am someone that survived it, and recruiting is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable careers I could have ever imagined. If you have what it takes, come join the party. Most recruiters would give the shirt off their back to help another fellow fraternity brother. You should know though, you are going to have to pay your dues!