Talent Acquisition

What Can Recruiters Learn from the Wolf of Wall Street?

The Wolf of Wall Street tells the story of the highs, lows and copious excesses of Wall Street Brokers.

So what can we learn from it as recruiters?

Know why you work in recruitment:

Protagonist Jordan’s boss, Mark Hanna, says he became a stockbroker for ‘hookers and blow’.

The chances are such enticements probably weren’t at the top of your list when considering recruitment, but it is valuable to remember why you decided to work in the industry, and keep your goals and game-plan in mind.

It is all too easy to lose sight of what you are working for, and get pulled off course by side-shows and distractions.

Learn the art of the sale:

The incredible pitch Jordan delivers to win his first pink sheet sale is just a beautiful example of using your vocal pitch and tone together with your body language, even over the phone, to convey your message in the right way. Couple this with the ‘system’ of sales that Jordan creates in order to make a top flight salesman of anyone. In fact, Jordan Belfort still makes great money today selling exactly that sales system as a training and development course.

This is one of the few positive lessons that the film can offer to us as recruiters. At the heart of our trade lies the ability to sell – to take an excellent product that you believe in, and communicate the benefits of it to a customer in a way that compels them to engage. The art of the sale is exactly that, and wise recruiters will never stop learning and refining their sales techniques.

Hire friends with care:

Jordan and Donnie set up a boiler room, recruiting their friends in the process. We may not all get up to the opulent high-jinx of the Stratton Oakmont party boys. But you can see that what happened on their ‘tour’, stayed on tour. And this kind of camaraderie leads to a high level of mutual trust, but always remember, as much as you may go out of your way to protect your brothers, don’t assume that they will always do the same for themselves. Sometimes a persons level of self preservation is higher than their level of ‘brotherhood’. Don’t put your friends in a position where they have to choose between you and themselves. You wouldn’t want them to do it to you.

That said, I firmly believe that the family that plays together, stays together, and this can build a great work and play ethic in a recruitment organisation. This can translate very well into a powerful working environment, where a bit of closeness coupled with some healthy competition can really drive those who want to achieve that bit further.


As Stratton Oakmont, Jordan and Donnie’s ‘business’ takes off, Jordan enjoys media attention, but gets angry when Forbes Magazine writes a critical piece, calling him the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’. His wife claims the old adage, there being no such thing as poor publicity, however, in recruitment, bad publicity can affect our chances of success. Maintain your personal brand but in an authentic and genuine way – by delivering excellent service and consistent value to your customers.


Jordan simply cares about making money. But always remember money is simply a tool to facilitating the life we want to have, not the ultimate purpose itself. Money it just little pieces of paper, its what those pieces of paper represent that you are working for. Such as enough money to take three exotic holidays per year, or to buy a supercar, or to pay for your children to go to the best schools, or to work with or donate to charity. Whatever would actually make you feel like you are living your life, rather than working to exist, it is good and healthy to know what your life goals and plans are, and never lose sight of them, and recruitment is a great industry to help you achieve your personal financial goals and enable you to take control of your life.

Author: Alison Mulligan is Senior Account Manager at Maximus IT with 16 years experience in recruitment.

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