Some weeks back I attended a career coaching session organized for graduates and undergraduates as a speaker, on the importance of having a sense of direction and choosing careers (I am a recruiter). Before we began, the curator had asked of us to begin with some Q&As. The first question went aloud the auditorium with me trying to get in every word — “what had made us take on what we do and what did it take to be success in it”. I bet the curator expected some short answers but a lot turned out to be career sermons in view of some baby boomer speakers who had many years of experience, while some went as brief as possible with deep and intense life lessons. I was moved..maybe even full of envy at these guys, they were evidently achievers and people i could have as mentors.
Every speaker had started notably with success from colleges, good degrees and how that basically gave them a lean onto their first job and from there on hardwork translated to promotion, all the right pieces falling into good places for them. You could see how the young listeners gave so much attention to each speaker. I could barely tell what section of the audience had little attention to who. Everyone was attentive.
Then my moment came and to be honest, I didn’t have anything prepared for this part. Maybe because I got into this field by some accidental passion for dealing with people and then it became a hobby.
On my way home, I had thought what actually is the start to a recruiter’s career journey. To be honest my story could not begin from a when I was a kid angle. Growing up, I had never heard any of the kids go “when I grow up, I want to be a recruiter”, basically because it was an unheard of profession and no one understood how important the recruitment process was critical for corporate organizations as well as any kind of functioning institution. Clerks and Administrative staff got the roles filled up by requisition from the boss — period. Anyways, I ended up storytelling on the fundamentals of talent sourcing and why candidates with a focused specialty are most likely to be recruited. I killed it.. I think.
That talk could have ended up similar to the other historical career talks which will not add up in comparison to my experience, but I decided to do a write up on my personal journey as a recruiter.
Foremost to note was my thirst for an in depth knowledge on corporate strategy and business values. Once I was able to understand the basics of the business management and the corporate environment, especially on what makes them tick and not just stay afloat in their various industries but also profitable, then i had to decide on what kind of recruiter i wanted to be. Maybe also of initial influence was my time while working for an online recruitment company which was the first of its kind in the country. On leaving, I had the urge to go fully into human resources, but I also had the drive to understand corporate values on recruiting talents, most especially since from where I come from it is well known for employers to recruit on a ‘who you know’ basis. The unemployed workforce increases by the day in the country and I felt the need to change that ideology -vanquish it if I could, despite my colleagues saying it will always remain a constant stigma in the way things are done. pfft.
The recruiting field is vast — from sourcers to talent acquisition managers to recruitment consultants. You really can’t be just anyone. Just as you have human resource generalists, some decide to be general staffing recruiters, while some decide to become technical recruiters who have a sound knowledge of technical roles and build on a network of talents in a niche industry.
Once I had an understanding of what kind of recruiter I had to be. I saw it as a must to get the necessary experience working in the human resource department or a consulting firm. I did a bit of HR and Sales, which became really helpful with building my personality, approach to situations and talking to different people. Most especially I learnt more about employment practices and policies as well as labor laws (even labor laws that apply to other countries).
Most budding recruiters tend to fall out while getting the job experience and decide to be experts in other areas of human resources. Personally, I see it as a final test to knowing whether you really want to get into being a ‘talent dealer’ as it is too often called these days or if it just bores you or maybe too challenging.
The major difference in being a recruiter and a great recruiter is your personality and how innovative you get with recruitment methods. I never stop reading and learning on trends in all the industries (by the way, I am a staffing generalist), which makes me understand why my role is vital to my clients and employers. Stand-out recruiters also have the best attention to details and what really works for the good of both candidates and hiring manager.
My personal overview of my journey as a recruiter is you come to learn that people matter and they make up organizations not the other way round, both the good and the bad. The question is will you be that recruiter who becomes a part of the success story of great organizations or one who brings them down by the people you recruit. I don’t know what the end of this journey is, as I haven’t even gotten to the mid point, except of course the robots from terminator movie finally replace us — but we’ll be back.