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Do you know your worth as a recruiter?

Working as a recruiter is difficult, especially in the early stages when you’re building your confidence and finding your feet. The last 18 months have been a complete whirlwind for everybody, but equally, the recruitment industry is coming back stronger now than ever before!

So, I wanted to focus on something a little bit different in today’s edition, and that’s knowing your worth as a recruiter and ensuring that you are cultivating the right mindset and staying focused.

The reputation of recruitment and how it can affect us

Let’s address the elephant in the room – recruiters and agencies tend to get a bad rep, especially when candidates (and in some cases, clients) go on LinkedIn to talk publicly about a bad experience they’ve had. 

And, the reality is, there are some bad recruiters out there, but this is inevitable and doesn’t mean that we should all be tarnished with the same brush.

However, although we can silently ignore this, it can cause us to subconsciously feel guilty or even awkward when speaking to candidates and clients, especially in those early months when we are still building confidence. 

I don’t see this being spoken about enough, so I’m using this opportunity to let you know that if you’ve ever felt like this, same

Whether it’s clients not giving you the time of day, candidates not trusting you, or even friends and family gasping when they hear the word recruiter, you have to take it on the chin. 

If someone had one bad experience at a restaurant, would it stop you from eating there? If the reputation of recruitment is something that you feel bothers you, try and regain some perspective initially, and this should help.

Building confidence 

There’s no special recipe to building confidence, as if there was, then everybody would be! However, having confidence is important when working in recruitment, as it allows you to not only know your worth, but also conduct difficult processes and situations with a cool, calm attitude.

Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to building confidence, here are a few things you can start doing to build yourself up and recognise the good work that you’re doing. 

Review your achievements at the end of each week

It’s a simple but effective method to evidence your progress, as well as showing areas for improvement. Confidence comes from being certain about yourself, whether this is in your personal or professional life. Having complete clarity on the good things that you’ve achieved as well as areas for improvement is a natural confidence booster in itself.  

Invite criticism (even if you hate receiving it)

If you find that your confidence is knocked by the slightest bit of criticism, then you need to start welcoming it more often and reframing your mindset on it. 

When we receive bad news or something goes wrong, it’s easy to talk negatively and spiral out of control, when in reality each piece of criticism or negative event can be used as a learning experience. 

If you struggle with criticism, work closely with a peer or manager that you trust and focus on specific sessions for feedback. This will allow you to figure out your favourite feedback style (verbal, written, on desk coaching). 

Once again, this will keep you in tune with yourself and slowly build your confidence up. This is also a great way to cultivate better resilience. Also, inviting feedback from candidates and clients is a great way to do this as well.

A few starter questions you can use are as follows:

  • In this process so far, what is your feedback on the quality of service that I’ve provided?
  • How do you think I can strengthen our working relationship on future roles?
  • What are two things that I can improve on to ensure you feel best supported

Do one thing out of your comfort zone a week 

It’s easy to assume that we can only build confidence for work when working, when in reality, you can do this actively in your personal life, too. Whether it’s picking up a book, attempting a new hobby or exercise routine, all of these things work as confidence builders, especially when done alone. 

Being alone is one of the best confidence builders, as evidenced in this article (and many other studies) conducted on this. 

If you’re struggling with what to do, here are a few ideas to start you off:

  • Listen to a new podcast 
  • Go on a walk or a hike 
  • Start a new book

Refining your mindset and attitude

Similar to the exercises I’ve suggested above, knowing your worth as a recruiter will be achieved by refining your mindset and attitude. Something I want you to focus on when looking at this is how you talk to yourself in your head.

Negative self-talk can be easy to fall into, especially in the early months of building your recruitment career. You’ll face a lot of rejection, a rollercoaster of emotions, deals dropping out, and long days when you feel as though you’ve not achieved much. However, it’s your attitude on the bad days that will set you up for success, and ultimately allow you to cultivate high self-worth as a recruiter. 

A simple way of doing this is to start journaling for 5 minutes a day. Write down two things that you are proud of – no matter how bad your day has been. It will enable you to start looking at things differently with a better attitude.

Setting boundaries

A big part of knowing your worth as a recruiter is setting boundaries, which is one of the hardest things to do. It’s something I still struggle with, but working on boundary setting gives you more control of your professional and personal life, and it also cultivates a higher level of respect between you, your colleagues, your candidates, and your clients.

Some examples of boundary setting that you could use are the following:

Clients

  • Setting key feedback dates and operating a “strike system” for clients that are unable to comply or meet you halfway
  • Walking away from rates that are too low or aren’t representative of the work you’re doing
  • Saying no to vacancies that aren’t qualified well enough by the client or aren’t exclusive
  • Ceasing working with a client when the relationship is unmanageable
  • Communicating your needs clearly to clients and taking control of the process

Candidates

  • Operating a strike system for candidates who are underprepared, or don’t turn up to interviews
  • Ceasing work with unmanageable or rude candidates, no matter how “good” they are 
  • Communicating your needs clearly to the candidate and taking control of the process
  • Removing a candidate from the process when you know that the role isn’t right for them and they aren’t right for your client

Colleagues

  • Saying “no” to meetings that you don’t need to be part of 
  • Setting clear agendas for meetings within stricter time limits
  • Not replying to emails when you should be relaxing
  • Saying “I’ll come back to you” if you don’t know something instead of feeling pressured to know all the answers

Work-life balance and avoiding burnout

Although work-life balance has been spoken about to death, I do think it deserves a special mention when we look specifically at knowing your worth as a recruiter. It can be easy to fall into the trap of working every hour under the sun, and not taking enough time to rest and recharge. 

If you prioritise setting boundaries and building your confidence outside of work, you should start to see a shift in your work-life balance, thus avoiding burnout. 

Are you proud of what you do?

And finally, you have to take pride in what you do as a recruiter to truly know your worth! If there’s something in your role that you aren’t confident in yet, or you aren’t at a stage where you feel as though you’re proud of yourself, set goals that are small and achievable, so you can get to that stage.

Equally, you have to accept that you aren’t going to be perfect at every responsibility you have as a recruiter, and that’s okay. 

Perfection is great to strive for, but it shouldn’t hold you back from appreciating the outstanding work you do as a recruiter.

Here are some stats evidencing just how much impact the recruitment industry has:

  • The recruitment industry is worth a whopping 38.9 billion
  • There are currently just under 1M live roles in the UK, which is a 50% increase since January 2021
  • The average cost per hire in the UK is £3,000, but the cost of a mis-hire can exceed £50,000

As you can see, there will always be an appetite for using recruitment agencies, as the level of expertise needed to execute a hiring strategy can often only be found with specialist consultants.

So, if you are struggling to be proud of yourself – or see the benefits that you provide, remember these statistics and just how much impact you can actually have on an organisation.

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