Recruit Yourself?! To Success.
By Steve Margalit, FPC Recruitment Training Consultant
Whether you’re unemployed, underemployed or just looking for a change, you have options. Professionals burn out and leave their industry all the time, sometimes to pursue a passion, other times they may not really be sure where their second act will lead them. There is another career path you may not have thought of outside of your business that still has deep ties to your industry – connections and a baseline of knowledge that may give you an advantage over others. You can become an executive recruiter. Many of FPC’s most successful recruiters have, at one point in their career, worked in the industry in which they now run their recruiting desk. As anyone will tell you, it’s a tough business where you eat what you kill, but if you’re good at it, you can make a really nice life for yourself.
Knowledge is King
The key advantage that ‘straight-out-of-industry’ recruiters have over anyone else is obvious. They understand an incredibly complicated business and how it operates. It is much easier to explain the subtleties of a role to candidates, and also to understand the right technical questions to ask clients who don’t have time to write formal job descriptions. This foundation of knowledge and the ability to leverage industry contacts is great, but relationships with ex-colleagues alone won’t make you successful. The only thing existing contacts can guarantee you (if that) are returned phone calls which will allow you to use that industry knowledge. This is merely the first hurdle of many that are necessary to make a placement.
How to Succeed
Being a successful recruiter requires a number of soft skills that may not have been a prerequisite for your previous roles, making it a fit for only some with industry experience. Recruiting is a people-first business, requiring a warm personality, the fearlessness of a sales person and the negotiating skills of a lawyer, but the best are also highly organized and analytically savvy. Another prerequisite is a willingness to handle constant rejection. People say no to you – a lot. If you breakthrough a mere three percent of the time, you had a great year. You also need to be comfortable not getting the consistent gratification that comes with daily work accomplishments. A lot of the work that you do won’t result in something tangible. You can spend a week working on an opening with the hope of finding one good candidate. On the other hand, finding that one candidate could pay you handsomely.
Recruiting is a difficult business, there’s no doubt, but it does have a number of benefits that you can’t find in other roles. One is the work-life balance. You’ll work hard, but no recruiter has ever pulled an all-nighter and then had to jump on a plane to present something the next day. Although joining the team at an FPC office will require you to report to the office on a regular basis, you also have the ability to work from anywhere that has a phone and internet connection when necessary. While you will have someone to hold you accountable, all anyone ever cares about is your production. If those numbers are strong, your manager will let you run your business the way you want to.
And then there is the money, which could potentially be both a pro and a con. There’s no doubt that it may take some time to get up and running, and to make your first placement which could hurt in the wallet. However, recruiters often charge 25% of a candidate’s starting salary, so single fees can equal tens of thousands of dollars. A great recruiter can make six-figures during a hot quarter. The bottom line about recruiting is that if you’re good at it – meaning you’re smart, hardworking, process oriented and able to handle rejection – it can provide a good living without needing to burn the candle at both ends. But if you’re just average, recruiting might be a challenging business to be in. If you are interested in learning more about opportunities within the FPC system, feel free to reach out. Good Luck!
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