Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned As a Recruiter

Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned As a Recruiter

Okay, so the title might be a slight exaggeration, but I learned more as a recruiter concerning life and work than anywhere else. I met amazing people, worked hard, laughed hard, and perceived every person I interviewed as a human being with feelings, skills, and something to share. My job was to match a candidate with a position that was a great fit for them and the company. I was part of win-win situations that changed people’s lives every day.

At the beginning of each day the staff would gather in the conference room, review job openings, recommend people who were rock stars, and give a heads up concerning the ones that weren’t. In case you’re wondering, most recruiters keep a list of strong candidates to call first. So, if you’re thinking interviewing well at a staffing agency isn’t as important as at a direct company, I’m here to tell you, you’re sadly mistaken.

Here are a few amazing and not so amazing things I learned from candidates, companies and co-workers.

How to get fired:

  • Hide beer in the back of the toilet and drink while on the job.
  • Write swear words on packing peanuts and then ship the product to the customer.
  • Fail a drug test and give the excuse that your roommate stuck cocaine up your nose at a party. Guess what? You need a new roommate, but you still have to pass a drug test to get the job.
  • Email a co-worker concerning another co-worker calling them obscene names and then accidentally sending it to the person you were talking smack about.

Things that will get you remembered and not necessarily in a good way:

  • Hearing an applicant play the flute during an interview.
  • No call / no show for your job and then arrive the next day as though nothing happened.
  • Go to work 15-20 minutes late every day, allow your co-workers to pick up the slack, and then ask them for a favor.

The truth about teamwork:

  • Realize a team of strong-minded women can work well together, create a positive atmosphere and celebrate when the plan comes together.
  • Every person can teach you something of value if you stop and take a moment to listen.
  • Everyone is a leader in their own way.
  • A co-worker tripped and cottage cheese splatted all over the floor. Several of us grabbed spoons, crawled around on our hands and knees in our suits, and scooped the contents into the trash. That’s what teamwork is all about.

Things I don’t recommend doing when dealing with a difficult candidate:

  • Don’t jam the copy machine while printing documents for an irate candidate that is swearing at you.
  • Telling an applicant, they aren’t qualified to work with the company due to the attempted murder charge on their background check.

The importance of keeping an open mind:

  • Keep it simple and reserve your personal opinions for another time – can they or can they not do the job?
  • Not every culture is the same. Some applicants bring their entire family of 12 to the interview. Take a breath and smile because you might fill additional positions.
  • Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you can’t take care of yourself. You will be more productive if you take your breaks, step away from your computer and breathe.


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