A controversial look at what to do when the ‘chips are down’

Recruitment consultants are Sales people. Full Stop. Sales people have their ups and downs and so do Recruitment consultants. Full Stop. The key difference is that Recruitment consultants hate being referred to as Sales people. Full Stop. Hence they do not overcome their ‘down time’ as efficiently as Sales people. Full Stop. Worse still, many recruitment managers do not believe their consultants should have down times. Full Stop.

Hence this blog may be controversial in nature (to many managers) but I do hope it helps minimise your ‘down time’.

1. Update your resume with your achievements, read it and give yourself a pat – no one lists their ‘down time’ on resumes do they?

2. Go to the bathroom, stare into the mirror and scream out loud “Damn, I’m bloody good, so why the %&$# am I sulking?”

3. Pick up the phone and talk to candidates you’ve recently placed. Better still meet them for a nice cup of coffee. The conversation is bound to be good.

4. Stare at those family pictures on your desk – your body language will automatically improve

5. Change your seating & hot desk yourself next to someone who has been performing that week (note I’m not saying high performer, cause even high performers have their ’down’ moments)

6. Take a break - from a few minutes, to a couple of hours to even a day – no point warming that seat of yours just to look busy. You’ll only end up depressed

7. Talk to someone you trust, be honest and tell them what you are going through (similar to those Alcoholics / Narcotics Anonymous meetings)

8. Work on a recruiting aspect you love doing – references, interviews, marketing etc

9. Clear your desk, tidy up and start afresh. Often a simple act like scrubbing your desk will clear the cobwebs in your mind

One way of looking at the 80:20 rule is 80% mindset and 20% skill. Yet when the chips are down we focus on improving the 20%, when instead a slight change to the mindset will work magic to the 80%.


Do whatever it takes but do not walk around with a body language that makes you look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame !

Views: 234

Comment by Recruiting Animal on March 24, 2011 at 7:45am
80% mindset and 20% skill <-- I like this line but your suggestions probably won't work.
Comment by Will Branning on March 24, 2011 at 12:15pm
Thanks - I needed to get some wise suggestions since I'm experiencing a slump currently...I'm headed to the mirror for some honest "face time"
Comment by Amber on March 24, 2011 at 12:40pm

@Animal, if you meant they won't work to directly get a sale/placemtn/order, I think Alban's suggestions are in addition to things like getting on the phone with clients/candidates, etc. (but I might just be assuming that).


@Alban - thanks for the post, it is hard for anyone to admit there are ever down times so I think this can give the o.k. to be realisitic and get the mental attitude adjusted so the focus can be put back on "up time"!

@Will - the mirror reminds of back in my corporate days when the company outfitted every monitor in the sales branches with a side mirror that had "Smile and dial" imprinted on it. (Although I have to say it was not really much of a morale booster)


Comment by Leah Davis on March 24, 2011 at 4:43pm
Cheers Alban. I'll give them a go. I used to go for a run and i found the endorphans would pick me up. But i've had a back problem for a few months that has tied me down so need to find an alternative that works.
Comment by Paul Alfred on March 24, 2011 at 7:52pm
You know we don't talk about the fact that some of the  best guys/girls  in the business get burn out leave the industry for a year or so  and come back to the industry  ...  But I am talking about folks who have been in the game over 20 years
Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 24, 2011 at 8:58pm

Good suggestions.  What i know for sure about this business is that one can only go as low as one can go high.  And oh my god can we go high.  I have a deal with everybody in my office.  When you are beat up, burned out and pissy, get out of here.  Stay off the phone or pick out the candidate who calls you at home at midnight or 20 times a day who has had 14 jobs in the past ten years call them and tell them to go butt a stump or worse.  Go get a good bottle of champagne, get up in the middle of your bed and drink the whole thing and sing 99 bottles of beer on the wall until you start laughing.  You are doing great.  This is the people business ,if you don't go nuts every once in a while or feel like you couldn't place your grandmother in a nursing home if she didn't know if it were day or night, you would not be worth a flip.

If none of that works go in my office and have a big time snot slinging cry.  It's good for the soul.  You will look so badly after you do it that you will have to go home.


There is a reason why recruiters who have been around for years take off two days after they close a big placement or any placement.  We know that is the mountain top and the valley is coming.  If it were all mountain tops everybody would do and we would have to go sell ATS systems until recruiting looked like a spring breeze.

Remember how you felt the last time you made a big one?  That's the mountain top.  Mountains have valleys, this just happens to be a valley.  Anybody can handle the mountain tops, it takes a kick ass recruiter to handle the valleys.  Take off tomorrow roll in the grass with your kids or your dog or stay in bed all day.  Most of all..These things two shall pass.  They always have and they always will.

Comment by Alban on March 25, 2011 at 1:03am
Thanks Amber, it’s all about taking care of the 80%

@ Sandra – you’ve hit the nail on the head and quite frankly you should turn your comments into a blog that will reach out & help a wider audience.

It does take a brave person to admit they are going through a slump and kudos to Will Branning for that. I hope the ‘mirror treatment’ helps you reach that mountain top, which Sandra (quite rightly) refers to.


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