Is a Career in Executive Recruiting For You?

by Versique

If you’re a corporate recruiter and wondering about making the leap to the “other side,” I’ve got some great tips on what it takes to be a successful full-desk recruiter.

That said, if you’re thinking any of the following, I might try to talk you out of getting into this business.

“I want to be a recruiter because I hear you can earn six figures pretty easily in this business.”

While that is true, and a career as a recruiter can earn you a nice income, it’s not easy. Don’t be lured by the income alone. Recruiting is a sales business. Outside recruiters (like the recruiting team at Versique) usually get engaged with a client only after a client organization has exhausted all other avenues to find talent themselves. Therefore, we are brought in only for the toughest, hard-to-fill roles. It’s rewarding, and it pays well, but it’s not “easy.”

“I’m a people person.”

Great, you like people. But people (candidates) are one of the toughest “products” to sell in the market. You will be disappointed by people, so you must have a thick skin to be effective in this business. You will also have to be ready for tough conversations dealing with intimate aspects of people’s lives. People are unpredictable and they will tell you things like, “yes, I will accept this job,” and turn around the next day and take a counteroffer.

If you are intrigued by human behavior and enjoy psychology, then I’d say a career in agency recruiting might be something you should consider.

“I think interviewing people all day would be a lot of fun!”

It is, don’t get me wrong! But I’d argue that I’m on the phone way more than I am interviewing people in person. This is a business of being on the phone, establishing rapport, and earning trust through real-time interaction. Email is great, but it’s not my primary tool for building relationships with people. Think about it…if you are engaged, if and only if, a client has exhausted all other avenues to finding talent, how are you going to get through to people they couldn’t? Cold calls are inevitable.  You have to convince people that spending some time with you will be valuable. Then they will come to your office and have an interview with you – but remember you have to sell the reason why they’d want to first.

“Companies really need our services, so it’ll be easy to do business development.”

I wish it were that simple! You will hear “no” a lot. You’ll have to strengthen that outer shell. Be okay with rejection. It’s kind of like being the Michael Jordan of your industry. MJ missed thousands of shots, failed over and over again, and that’s why he succeeded. He gave himself plenty of opportunity to fail first.

Now that we’ve gone through the rose-colored glasses version of why people want to be recruiters, let’s look at the skills individuals must have to be successful in this industry.

Comfortable with being uncomfortable. You’ll have to ask candidates about their compensation. You’ll likely ask your clients tough questions surrounding rumors you’ve heard about their company in the marketplace. Can you leave your comfort zone on a daily basis?

Patience. It’s a journey. Oh sure, we all want that best practice that is the key to unlocking success in the business, no matter what the industry. Chipping away at the business, day by day, year by year, takes patience, dedication, and commitment.

Entrepreneurial mindset. You have control over your own destiny. If you want it bad enough, you might have the skill to go out and get it. You have to be proactive in this business. Nothing stays the same. Because of that, ongoing professional development and continuous learning are paramount to success. You are the CEO in your career.

Here’s the really cool conclusion I’ve come to.

No matter what your background is, how many years of experience you have, or what previous position you held, it is your work ethic, behavioral traits, and attitude combined with your ability to connect with people and understand what motivates people that will determine success in the search recruitment industry. If you do decide you want to take the leap, make sure you are following these tips on how to make a successful career plan.

I have found this career to be incredibly dynamic, challenging but oh so much fun. What do you think – have I scared you away or are you even more intrigued?

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