One of the greatest attributes a successful recruiter possesses is perseverance. A lot of us learned this from playing sports when we were young. Some learned it from challenges faced early in life; growing up in a poor household; dealing with divorce; facing the loss of a loved one; not getting the job. The list is seemingly never-ending. Many obstacles challenge each one of us throughout our lives. Those of us who persevere—rise to the top. Not because we’re any better than the rest, but rather because we continue to push forward when others do not. We achieve in spite of everything in our lives being stacked against us.
My interactions with healthcare staffing professionals across the country have reinforced my belief about the important role perseverance plays in high-achieving recruiters. In an industry that is full of surprises—both good and bad, those who adapt to the “unexpected” and can continue to forge ahead, have a remarkable advantage over the competition. Adapting to ever-changing circumstances requires the kind of mental toughness which can only be forged during times of adversity. And it is during these times we must either persevere or not.
Reflecting on my own experiences as a recruiter I can point to many instances where quitting seemed a plausible option. Sure, I was successful in my career, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there were times when success was overshadowed by the obstacles I faced as a recruiter ‘on the daily’. And at those times I can distinctly remember hearing that “inner voice” saying, “keep charging that hill… “if it was easy everyone would be doing it”… “Marines never quit…”. It’s that inner voice that kept me going when so many countless others would have quit. And to be clear, I knew others would quit during those times. And in some way, I found that to be further validation that I was different and stronger than them. I realize that sounds terrible to some, but the truth is that’s what kept and continues to keep me going!
In an industry that is ultra-competitive, and in which rewards are directly proportional to your individual ability to achieve, perseverance is the most relevant trait one must possess to succeed. But how can we apply this knowledge practically to the role a recruiter has? Here are some thoughts I’ve compiled to help with that:
- Work when nobody else is. If you want to be better than everyone in the office you must start by outworking them. It’s true that working smart is important but we’ll get to that. The fact is if you aren’t working smart you better be working even harder! So, let’s assume you’re working smart for now! To be the best you must outwork the rest. It’s an old saying, but still rings true today, especially in recruiting! If you’re not putting in the extra effort don’t expect the kind of results the top producers in your company are seeing.
- Be a model of efficiency. It’s not enough to show up. If you’re going to put in the extra time you must have a plan for executing at a high-level. This is where working smart comes into play. If you’re not there yet—invest those extra hours at work, at least initially, towards developing a winning strategy!
- Maintain a positive mind, body, and yes…soul. High-achievers engage in positive self-talk without effort. They are constantly encouraging positive action in those around them and it inspires them to continue to set the bar higher and higher than their peers. But functioning at such a high level means we’ve got to take care of that temple we were given. Regardless of your religious beliefs, fitness level, and current mental state—you possess the power within you to take control of these areas of your life. Like Nike says, “Just Do It”.
- Never stop learning. Challenge yourself daily to learn. Don’t settle for what is working now. Seek out what will work now and in the future. You may find they are not one in the same. Technological advancements have changed the job tremendously—how have you changed to adapt?
- Never give up. Your life as a recruiter will include some dark times. Moments when you feel you are drowning. Self-doubt will creep in and you will question whether this is the job you should be doing. What I’ve found from speaking with many recruiters across the country is that this feeling is temporary. In fact, when you find yourself in this place, you are only briefly separated from extreme success. So, push forward my friend…and keep charging that hill!
Take it from a guy who grew up in a home where we once borrowed water to flush our toilets. A home where the only light showing from a distance was from the candles my parents had lit because electricity wasn’t in the budget that month. A loving home. A home in which my parents both worked extremely hard to provide the bare necessities. A home where hard work and doing things the right way were not just goals but inherently a part of the fabric from which we were all created. And a home where I learned to adapt to my condition and persevere when many others would not have. In the words of my Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps— “I’ve never, and will never, stop charging that hill.”