Recruiter Lessons From Hip-Hop Music

I love music. When I was recruiting, there was no way I could get through the day without it.  EVER!  The job could be stressful at times, and music was always a good way to stay level-headed for me.  My reliable genre of choice was and still is, of course, 90s Hip-Hop/Gangsta Rap. Ahhh, they just don’t make music like they used to. (Cue mom voice.)


Thus, I was inspired to throw together this list of recruiter lessons from some of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it for you - they are in no particular order!


  1. “Hey young thugs, the best thing in life is life, get your mind right and get your grind right” - Ice Cube - As recruiters, it’s easy to let the negative things get the best of you. Keep your head up, keep learning, keep working hard. Keep it right between the ears.
  2. “Never get high on your own supply” - Notorious BIG - Doesn’t matter how well you’re doing or how many travelers you have working for you, you should always strive to be better.  There’s always someone out there ready to outwork you. Never be complacent.  Keep hustling, keep working hard.  Don’t get distracted by what’s in front of you, because that could all be gone. Travelers go perm, or they take time off.  You’ve got to be prepared for that.  
  3. “Real G’s move in silence like lasagne” - Lil Wayne - Get it?  Cuz the “g” in lasagne is silent.  True, legit recruiters who work their butts off, aren’t out there touting themselves or their agencies or talking negatively about anyone else.  They are going unnoticed and working hard for their travelers, who also aren’t out trolling other recruiters or agencies. They also aren’t out there flossing in their new cars and fancy houses.  If you want to be better, then BE better.  
  4. “Everything I am not, made me everything I am” - Kanye West - Usually, our biggest weaknesses can also be our biggest strengths.  Don’t be ashamed of that. Find out what those flaws may be and turn them into strengths!  Are you an impatient person?  Good; use that to find ways to be more aggressive when finding jobs for your candidates.  OCD much?  Harness it!
  5. “Never let me slip, cause if I slip, then I’m slippin” - Dr Dre - Not his best rhyme for sure, but accurate nonetheless. In this line of work, you’ve always got to keep your guard up. You’ve always got to assume that your travelers are getting calls from multiple other recruiters every day.  If you’re not taking care of them the way you should be, better believe, someone else will. Don’t get caught slippin’ or someone will surely step in and pick up where you’re leaving off and you’ll have a tough time regaining your grip.
  6. “How you gonna win, when you ain’t right within?” - Lauryn Hill - While she may be the only female to make the list, don’t get it twisted, there are a lot of great female artists.  But she holds it down for me with the lyrics.  And this one is on point for recruiters. When it comes to this line of work, it’s all about the direction your ethical and moral compass points.  If you’re doing the right things for the right reasons, the right things will happen for you. Our client and candidates have more access to information than ever before and making the right choices has never been easier for them. Be an advocate for our industry, not an adversary.  
  7. “Make a business for yourself boy, set some goals. Make a fat diamond out of dusty coals” - Outkast - First, you need to have some goals.  Second, don’t be afraid to fail. Everyone fails, but take those failures, learn from them, and create success from it.
  8. “Wake up, wake up, wake up; it’s the first of the month” - Bone, Thugs & Harmony - You get to start fresh!  Good or bad, regardless of how last month went, you get to start over, so wake up, it’s the first of the month.  Get after it!
  9. “Everything evens up if you just wait, even a garbage can gets a steak. But when it turns your way before it turns away, you gotta turn that into something, you gotta learn from Jay” - Jay -Z - Some days can just seem downright awful!  It’s all about what you decide to do with it. When you have even the slightest opportunity to turn things around, what will you do with it?
  10. “Don’t push me cuz I’m close to the edge, I’m tryin’ not to lose my head” - Grandmaster Flash - We all have our hot buttons, don’t we? And this job sure knows how to push them! We’ve got to get good at keeping ourselves in check. Sometimes we have to talk our coworkers or travelers off the edge too if they’re having a tough day.  It’s all part of the gig.  


Well folks, there you have it.  I can’t call it a Top 10 because there are so many more out there.  I hope you enjoyed reading this and it brought back some memories for you.  I’d love to hear your favorites - please share!  


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