Recruiters - You Have to Know When to Stop!

  • Date posted: 17 Oct 2016
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Sometimes, as a Recruiter, you can feel that you’re pushing water uphill.

Convincing candidates to attend the interview, go back for a 2nd interview, not accept that counter.

Chasing clients to take our calls, give us candidate feedback, release that offer, confirm start dates.

Pleading for time with Managers, to get a career review, to confirm your promotional criteria, to get that extra training and development you were promised.

The list can seem never-ending and on bad days you can feel like a hamster stuck in a wheel wondering why you’re the only one that seems to care.

As Recruiters we are facilitators. The middlemen and women that keep things on track, ensuring processes don’t derail and in the process we absorb a lot of stress with few outlets. But how do you know when you are doing too much? When are you forcing things? When are you absorbing too much of the stress?

It’s a fine line to know when to quit but after 18 years of playing the recruitment game I am becoming more and more philosophical in my old age. I’m happy to walk away from clients and candidates that don’t display the right motivations or behaviours but I am also aware that this is a luxury. In my early career, and as many of you now probably relate to, I wouldn’t have been able to justify walking away from a placement because it didn’t feel right.

So how do you know when you’re flogging a dead horse?

We have an office phrase that we adopt religiously in all our relationships, both internally and externally:



It’s a simple but powerful way to judge any scenario you are facing, whether personal or work related. Like most things there will always be the odd exception but I know if you adopt this as a philosophy in your work you will be more productive and for a number of reasons:

  1. You will be under less stress and will therefore perform better
  2. You will have more free time to invest with people that are motivated
  3. You will stop wasting time on activities that won’t lead to success
  4. You will feel more in control


So next time you feel you are in a situation where you care more than the other party, be it client, candidate, colleague, employee or manager, all you need to do is ask yourself: are they making equal effort? If they’re not, then they’re not fully invested, and you’re likely wasting your time.

If a candidate is serious about making a move, they will make the time to talk to you. If a client is keen to fill a role, they won’t screen your calls. If a boss is genuinely considering you for promotion, they won’t change the goalposts. If an employee is motivated to succeed they will put in the effort unaided.

As much as we like to tell ourselves that it can happen, a candidate can’t be talked into leaving a job, a boss can’t be talked into giving you a promotion, and a client can’t be talked into offering one of your candidates. Not without some level of intent being there in the first place.

What’s the result of applying this formula to your work?

You spend more time cultivating meaningful relationships, more time working with candidates you’re more likely to convert, more time working with clients that are serious about their requirements, rather than trying to force those which are never going to thrive. It can lead you to realise that you’re being completely undervalued by your boss, and that you deserve better. It will lead you to spotting the candidates that aren’t as serious in their job search earlier in the process before you waste your time.

Try it and let us know how you get on!


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