Is it possible to be a successful recruiter because you want to “help people” rather than being money motivated? Let me start by setting the scene when I first became aware that this wasn’t necessarily the norm and that admitting you are doing it for more altruistic reasons can be perceived as a negative motivator.
In my first management job, I interviewed a really switched-on and impressive recruitment consultant who had approached me to come and work for me in R2R. Throughout the interview process, which was very thorough, he did everything above and beyond to prove to me he had the right skills and attitude to become a successful recruiter in my team.
However, during the final interview with my MD, the candidate was asked what his ultimate motivator was, “Was it money, or was it placing the candidate” and he answered really honestly that it was the latter. My MD rejected him, much to my chagrin. I then watched as he built an incredible career for himself despite this apparent lack of recruitment motivation.
My MD’s decision to reject him on this basis annoyed me. It made me question whether you can succeed in recruitment because you want to “help people” rather than be money-motivated. I think the culture of recruitment is moving and shifting all the time; the number of times I have sat with a recruitment business owner or senior manager and been advised that they wouldn’t want to hire someone who wants to “help people”—I could buy and retire on a desert island…..!
However, as recruitment has evolved and the threat of AI has resulted in recruiters realizing that what actually makes them successful IS the HUMAN factor of what they do, it has become apparent to me that there is a U-turn happening when it comes to recruiters wanting to help people.
Think about the last time you engaged with a good recruiter – one you would trust with your essential job vacancy or next career step. A) Was this person someone disingenuous who seemed very pushy and focused on getting you a job for their gain, aka commission/bonus? B) Or was the stand-out person, the one who was sincere about getting you in front of the right client(s), the recruiter who actually called you back even when there was no news—the recruiter who made you feel important?
I will try not to be evangelical about this as, ultimately, every person has their preference for who they want to engage with; however, I will ask you this: If you were going to choose between A and B—whom would you trust with your career?
Now, let’s go back to the premise; can you be successful by recruitment standards if “helping people” is your main motivator? Define success; for me, this is more than just billings (and in my opinion, it should always be measured on NOP per head!)- success is about your reputation, employer brand, and USP in the market.
So from someone who, from day one, has always said I am here because I take great pride in helping people, perhaps we all need to rethink what this could mean if we attracted more recruiters like this to the industry. Maybe it would become a kinder, more pleasant process for all involved.