I was excited as I picked up the phone and dialed. Maybe a little too excited. But this is what I come into work for every day. Well, maybe not if I'm fully honest. We're all ultimately in this for the money we get paid to do this job. But this wasn't one of those phone calls to a big-time candidate. I had made a couple of those in the previous months and made a ton of money off of them, important money that helped make my wedding and honeymoon that year pretty amazing.

No, this was a $25/hr. position I was filling. The type I stopped giving much attention to now that I had found my niche in Software Engineers and Application Programmers. I'd throw in a couple of those "lower-end" people every now and again to make sure my client knew I wasn't ignoring their needs. And because I had a real desire to get Ana Maria a job.

Ana Maria was a candidate I had been working with for awhile since I found her a couple of months into my recruiting career. She was lovely to talk to. A bit overambitious, applying for jobs she wasn't quite quailified for. Her relevant expience was over a decade old. My colleagues told me I was wasting my time with her. They couldn't believe I would submit her resume over and over again to different positions when clearly she was too old, not talented enough, just a nice person among millions who we would love to help but just can't due to our bigger fish in need of frying.

But I saw something in her. I knew I could get her that perfect job she was made for and that she would be one of the best employees this manager had ever worked with. I haven't been in this industry for very long (only a year and a half as I write this). When I first started, I was told I need to "smell money", that if dollar signs couldn't motivate me, I'd never last in this business, which worried me because I'm much more interested in helping people, educating them, giving them a chance to succeed, making them know their worth in life, than how fat they can make my bank account.

I call bologne on the "smelling money" issue. Never worked for me. Still hasn't. I work hard to find my high-level candidates and get my cash fix off commission from them. But what really motivates me in this job is that one person I believe in when some others, including themselves, do not. When I can see that potential in somebody whose hope for a new start in their career has begun to fade. You see, in my opinion (albeit based on relatively little experience and perhaps a refreshing naivety that I have no reason to stop embracing), a good recruiter sees past a candidate's monetary worth. Sees past the resume and keywords. Those MBAs with 20 years of experience at the top of Fortune 500 companies are great and a result of hard work. But they've learned to make it on their own and usually see people like me as a stepping stone to their next vacation home with the contract job I can get them to. It's the one who gains more than money, but a new chance in life as a result of my help that I do this for. If I can get that person's value across to a hiring manager, I can feel that I have truly done my job. And for me, all the commission in the world couldn't replace that fulfillment.

Ana Maria was near tears that day when I told her the good news over the phone. It had taken nearly a year and a lot of hard work, but we she and I were finally able to get her a new outlook on life. And all without much benefit to me at all. You know, if you believe in the whole "smelling money" theory.

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Excellent post, Joel, really excellent!  Like you, I love helping people out and am not blinded by the money aspect.  I have repeatedly said that I love my job becaused I can make a difference, potentially, in someone's life.  I won't perform open heart surgery, rescue them from a cliff or pry them out of a car as it goes into the water, but I can help them find a job.  From that, their whole outlook can change.  With that one little change, I sincerely hope that they feel more productive, more valuable, have a little more disposable income, are a little happier and healthier, and will carry that through their personal life.  If they do that, then we will (hopefully) raise a generation of happier and healthier children. 

It may be rainbows and unicorns, but that's how I choose to see things. Welcome to my world.  :)

PS.  It may just be my computer, but it looks like you posted this on 2.3.12 (today is the 21st) and NOT ONE person commented?  Why not?!  I hope it's not because they don't see things the way you do!!  Best of luck to you in this field, Joel.  I've been in it for about 14 years and I LOVE it!!

Thank you so much for your kind words Linda! It's good to know that somebody with as much experience as you has been successful with the same mindset as mine when it comes to motivation.


Is that a headset I recognize in you photo?

With the volume of work I do as a recruiter I've found them "required equipment"--plus you look like an Air Traffic Controller.

I liked reading your reasons for loving recruiting, particularly you effort on behalf of a candidate others would reject.

Keep up the good work and you still be doing for as long as I have.


I think as recruitment consultants, we build careers. It is our responsibility to do so since the job applicants place lot of trust in us. Good Read. thanks

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