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Revealed: The Hardest Part of Being a Recruiter

Date: 14 November 2018

Let’s not beat about the bush, recruitment as an industry has got a bit of a mixed reputation. 
The truth, as with most professions, is that there are good aspects and not so enjoyable ones. And if you’re considering a career in recruitment, you probably want to know about the difficult bits upfront
We asked consultants from across Phaidon International’s global offices what they thought the hardest part of being a recruiter is. Here’s what they said.

Coping with Frequent Rejections

As a recruiter, you have to get used to hearing the word “no” a lot. As with any sales-type role, it’s just part and parcel of the job - not everything goes your way. 
Tiffany Wan from our Selby Jennings office in Hong Kong says "rejections are the absolute worst” but concedes they’re “a necessary part of the trade”.
Sometimes it will be a big client that you’ve put a lot of time and effort into trying to win their business. Other days you’ll have to deal with your candidate getting turned down for their dream role. Over time you develop a thick skin and come to realise it’s not personal.

Learning to be Patient

While the foundation of recruitment is hard graft and perseverance, it also takes a lot of composure. You’re never going to be sitting around just waiting for things to happen. But it’s also a fact that some aspects are simply out of your hands. 
“In this job, a process could take two weeks to five months, and it's all about patience” sharesHanna Ito, from our LVI Associates brand in Boston. 
“One of the hardest things is learning that you can't control everything” she continues. But the trick is to get really good at taking control of everything that you can and making sure that the process never comes to a standstill through any fault of your own.

Coming to Terms With Disappointment

Things can change quickly in recruitment. One day you might be celebrating landing a huge client. The next you’ll be dealing with the news that a top candidate hasn’t landed a job you thought they were a shoo-in for. 
“The hardest part about this job is understanding that you will not succeed every time” concludes Carlos Martinez from our Glocomms brand in San Francisco.
Sometimes hard work can go unrewarded, but over time you’ll start to find some consistency. These disappointments are all part of the job and something you learn to live with.

Negotiating with Candidates

For Jason Newby in our Dallas DSJ Global office, the hardest part of the job is “tied to candidates”.
“Companies depend on you to close candidates and make sure the offer process is smooth and very easy”, he says, but “candidates always want to negotiate”.
Being open and upfront at the beginning of the process ensures there are no nasty little surprises come to the end. “Building that trust and rapport is paramount” continues Jason, so “conversations about salary and their motivators are important on the first call.”

The Steep Learning Curve

Getting to grips with any new role is difficult at first. With recruitment, there’s a lot to grasp so it’s important to realise that you’re unlikely to hit the ground running and real success takes time to build.
“The first few months, before it ‘clicked’ were tough.” says Miranda Jackson from our EPM Scientific Contracts brand in London. “You work long hours, it’s repetitive and there’s a lot of learning to do each day, without any instant reward”.
However, that hard work does pay off and you’ll appreciate it once you start to reap the benefits. For Miranda “the initial hard few months made any success that followed more satisfying – from a personal, not just financial perspective”.

Winning Clients

A big part of recruitment is starting new relationships with businesses we’ve never worked with before. However, particularly when it’s a large company, that can be easier said than done.
Guy Burch who works at our Glocomms brand in Berlin says “The hardest part of the job has probably been winning new clients. They may be new to our business, what we offer, and why we’re different.’
It can takes months of conversations, meetings, and presentations before you get the green light from some companies. “However it is extremely satisfying when you’re responsible for bringing on and growing a big account for the business” observes Guy.