I have been an athlete in some capacity for much of my life, and it occurred to me recently that there are many parallels that can be drawn between sports and the job of recruiting.
The attitudes and behaviours of athletes and recruiters are what differentiate average players from superstars. Of course, ability plays a role, but there is more to overachievement than meets the eye.
Recruiting can be a Very Demanding Career
To become successful requires a competitive nature, strong discipline and self-motivation.
An ability to be resilient is also important so that you are able to deal with the daily ups and downs.
Successfully placing a candidate can make you feel like a hero for the day, but you need to learn how to maintain positive enthusiasm and confidence if a candidate accepts a counter offer, or one of your placements falls through.
The ability to bounce back after a disappointment or to maintain momentum when things are going well are attributes that will differentiate you from average recruiters.
Learn to Live With Setbacks
Much of our struggles are in our own heads.
How often have you worked with someone who was talented, but their entire career was a roller coaster ride that depended on how they were performing in that particular quarter?
Someone like this finds it difficult to maintain consistent results, because every “no” they receive deflates them and affects their performance negatively.
Learning how to cope with setbacks more effectively, or even using setbacks as motivation, is key to becoming a recruiter who thrives on the challenges and works towards consistent success.
Be Hungry for the Win and Willing to Work for It
The job of recruiting is similar to an athlete on a sports team. There are athletes who want to be on the ice in the last minute of a close game, and the ones who are satisfied to sit on the bench for fear that they might make a mistake and be blamed for the loss.
You have to be hungry for the win, and you have to be willing to work hard through many challenges to get there.
Athletes, like recruiters, can go through slumps. When you’re feeling off your game, try to maintain a positive attitude and continue to work hard through the challenge. A former boss of mine used to say: “keep doing what made you famous.”
Turning negative and beating yourself up will only create more pressure and desperation to perform.
Candidates and clients can sense a desperate recruiter a mile away, so don’t put extra pressure on yourself to feel like you have to save your job or reputation, just focus on your strengths and how you are best able to help your candidates and clients.
A Competitive Nature and Positive Attitude
A competitive nature in sports goes without saying, but some athletes are more competitive than others.
The motivation that drives athletes to win consistently is the same motivation that a successful recruiter possesses. There is a determination to do what it takes to find that perfect candidate or to close that big customer; to work longer, harder and smarter.
Preparing yourself each day, making sacrifices to dedicate extra time searching for specific candidates, or phone networking and asking for referrals, mimics an athlete who looks at the scouting report and takes extra batting practice or optional team skates.
Along with a competitive nature, a positive attitude is critical in both sports and recruiting.
Without a positive, confident and enthusiastic approach, you will struggle.
Develop a Strong Work Ethic
These are all components of successful individuals, but I think the most important thing is a strong work ethic.
Athletes who prepare for a season with dedication to a fitness regime, are better prepared physically and mentally. The same is true of recruiters.
Recruiters who develop a plan and routine for their days are better disciplined to stick to their calling programs.
Working hard and learning not to take rejection personally are often what makes the difference over the long run.
Keep working hard, stay positive, and don’t sweat the small stuff!
Scott Wren, Senior Recruiter at Peoplesource