Only very occasionally in a lifetime do we find ourselves at the very start of something special.  Usually, we don’t even realise it at the time.  A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but we rarely realise this at the time we are taking it.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved at the very beginnings of several businesses, including some of my own, and in those first days it never felt like anything noble, epic or heroic.  Only when they grew and took form, was it possible to look back and marvel at the risk that was taken, and how important it to my life.  The same can be said of having children, or starting a new job (I bet you wondered when I’d get round to recruitment).

The biggest misconception about recruiters is that their job is to find employment for candidates.  Whilst sometimes we may find a star candidate, and canvass him/her out to prospective employers, we still know that we are being paid by the client (and he who pays the piper, yada yada yada).  Even though employers pay us to find the best candidates for their vacancies, we cannot help but establish a bond with those we submit for interview.  We are inevitably rooting for them, having interviewed them, got to know their life story, and struck up a rapport with them.  So even though our primary concern is to fill the vacancy, to the satisfaction of our paymaster, we can allow ourselves the pleasure of having been instrumental in a life changing event for this individual.  This dichotomy can often hit inexperienced, more sensitive, recruiters very hard, as taking the joy can also me having to take the vicarious disappointment too.  Successful recruiters learn to deal with this; taking the satisfaction as an added bonus, dismissing the empty feeling when undeserving candidates get the jobs, and being philosophical when no employment offer is made.

Personally, I love this aspect of recruiting.  As a consummate nosey parker, I relish interviews and taking candidates through the interview process, prepping and debriefing as it goes.  It’s a unique and privileged position to be in, and frankly it’s a bit of a turn-on.  I’m doing my job for the client, but also getting a kick out of my candidate’s success.  I know that this could be the beginning of something very special for this person, and that I’ve played a small part in making it happen.  Let’s face it, no-one gets into recruitment in order to help people (I know I didn’t). However, more than most people, we get to be involved with others at crucial turning points in the lives, and there’s no harm in taking a little pleasure from it.

Tell me, what aspects of recruitment give you the most satisfaction?

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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