The Top 3 Lessons I Wish I Knew My First Day As A Recruiter

What is a recruiter? The dictionary defines a recruiter as “a person whose job is to enlist or enroll people as employees.” Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Little do you know on your first day at a staffing agency that the expectations of a recruiter are much more than that. You are part researcher, part communicator and part therapist (at times). After decades in this industry, these are the top three things I wish I knew when I started recruiting:

1. Every Second Matters The phone rang. It was one of my first leads. I was pumped. The hiring manager said he needed two welders to start immediately, as in now. In fact, yesterday would have been better. I said, “you got it,” hung up the phone and proceeded to sift through the stacks of resumes on my desk. Within a couple of hours, I found the perfect candidate. By the time all of the paperwork was complete and the applicant was on his way to an interview, my phone rang again. It was the same hiring manager: “You know Mike, I have to cancel. It turns out I no longer need that order. Thanks anyway.” I sat in amazement. I had done everything right. As it turns out, the staffing world changes in a matter of minutes. Sometimes you will have done nothing wrong, yet things still won’t go your way. People are simply going to let you down from time to time, and it’s ultimately the grace with which you handle each “less than ideal” situation that proves your success as a recruiter. With a complete inability to predict what recruiting life will offer each day, all you can do is commit to always have qualified candidates lined up for any position, at any time, and don’t assume something here today will be tomorrow (or even in the next 60 seconds).

2. It’s a Game of Matchmaking The second lesson I learned as a budding recruiter is about love. As it turns out, love and staffing really aren’t that different. People often require certain characteristics, timing and compatibility to fall in love. Staffing is similar. Hiring managers have their own desired qualifications, work terms and company culture, all of which an applicant must adhere to in order to even be considered as a prospective employee. So, what do I know now that I wish I knew then? How incredibly hard you must work to ensure the perfect staffing match. You will need to go above and beyond by way of research, communication and follow-through to satisfy both the customer and the candidate’s needs. It often comes with a learning curve in the beginning, and requires unyielding dedication throughout your career thereafter. However, it’s a recruiter’s ability to effectively play matchmaker that produces quality employment opportunities for all parties involved, yourself included.

3. The Winner Loses Commission: it’s commonplace in our industry. Yet, commission (i.e. money) can destroy any staffing firm’s team dynamic. That’s why we simply don’t operate that way at Twin City Staffing. In my early years, I came across a couple of recruiters who were in such a hurry to fill orders, and subsequently make their cut, that they would throw the cohesion of the entire group to the wayside. This is one of the worst things that can happen in a professional environment of any kind, because if you don’t care about the guy sitting next to you and he doesn’t care about you, you are in for one hell of a long fifty years sitting at that desk. The main takeaway? You may think you are a winner by stepping on team members to get ahead, but you will inevitably lose when you are the only person in the office no one likes, or respects, as a result. You, and your co-workers, will be happier and more profitable, if you can learn to work together in a collaborative manner that puts everyone’s pocketbooks on the line.

These lessons should serve as your recruiting bible. If you stick to them, your first day on the job, and every one after that, should go much more smoothly. And if you find yourself in a bind, just remember what recruiting comes down to at its core: solving people’s problems. You are the person a hiring manager calls when she’s frantically trying to find thirty extra workers to fill that production order by tomorrow. That is stressful. You are the person a machinist calls because he just got laid off, has a family to feed and no job prospects. That is stressful. However, you as a recruiter have a unique opportunity to take this stress away from folks. That is powerful. The best part of my job is being able to match talented employees with employers, helping companies across Minnesota grow because they now have the talent they need to succeed. Take your power and turn employment problems into solutions. That is what recruiting is.

Best of luck,

Mike Miner
Owner at Twin City Staffing