Call me a PIRATE and I'll slit your throat!

A Banker, a Doctor, and a Recruiter walk into a bar, two of them leave wanting new jobs.

Indulge me while I play a bit of make believe.  If I didn't live and breathe this business (including an occasional dream about it at night), I think I might actually enjoy reading.  Unfortunately, four score and a zillion years ago when I took the ACT's, my scores in English and comprehension were sent to me written in crayon.  I digress...

If I was to read, I think I'd want to read about PIRATES.  Why pirates?  Because I believe I'm actually a modern-day version of a Pirate.  But not only me, I consider those passionate and successful recruiters that I admire in the same boat.  (HAH!  Can't believe I got away with that.)  So this paragraph is basically the disclaimer than other than seeing some old movies on pirates and a couple of the Johnny Depp flicks, my understanding of the nature and essence of being a pirate of the past is nearly purely fantasy.

When I was a paycheck-collecting guy back in the 90's and little beyond, I remember working with Recruiters.  There are four that, to this day, I know their names and remember the sound of their voices.  That's saying something.  Because there's bizarre phenomenon that we forget how things sound from our past when time goes on.  I can't remember my dear grandfather's voice and he passed in 1993.  It's sad.

To me back then, getting a call from one of those recruiters was an exciting thing!  (Hence, probably why I love doing it today.)  One of these guys was great!  I would answer the phone and the first thing he would say with the highest level of triumph would be:  "GOOD NEWS!"  I nearly peed my pants.

In 2003, I was so frustrated with the corporate world that my wife made me go to yoga every weekday and the session started at 5:30AM.  One thing led to another and with the help of a bunch of different tools, I tumbled into the field of recruiting.  Good for me that I was a top rookie in the MRI system and earned myself some trips to rub shoulders with the stallions of the industry.  And my fascination has only deepened since....

The really, really good recruiters have some common characteristics and I think a lot of these would overlap with the traits of pirates of the past.  OK.  Of course, I'm not talking about the pillage and killing though I know the cutthroat side of piracy is nothing to admire.  I'm talking about the community, camaraderie, competitiveness, and individualism. 

I imagine a world bustling with shipping activity and sailors risking everything to carry trade from one corner of the sea and land to the other.  After all, the world was flat.  And I can fantasize of the guts to spend weeks on a ship with rats, mice, disease, other tough guys, and Mother Nature. 

Then introduce the proverbial large black ship that emerges from nowhere with the sole purpose of creating chaos.  The pirates and their goals were as solid as a cannonball.  Nothing would stop them.  Why should they stop?  They were there to TAKE.

At some juncture, and I've been to a couple of these locations in the Bahamas and Caribbean where this took place, pirates from all over would show up on an island in small cities and do whatever they do for R&R.

Imagine the stories, bravado, and exaggeration.  Amidst all this would be arguments and debate; fighting and gambling.  Up and comers would learn new tips and tricks.  They might be pirated themselves to join another faction.  The weak would be replaced.  The mighty would be avoided.

Modern and (arguably) civilized, I see recruiters as the technological and clever pirates of the business world.  However legal and never mind the purpose, successful recruiters will offer a complimentary and respectful nod to their peers waging war in another arena.  Though similarities in style from an outside perspective, close up, the nuances of their individual self-subscribed process is mystical and baffling. 

Enter the social media 24/7 recruiter meeting grounds of the internet with Facebook, Twitter, and other lesser populated battlefields.  Angry and passionate exchanges are instigated and supported with recruiters all over the planet clicking the "Like" button or nailing an inferior recruiter with a #nastyhashtag. 

Outside observers would be baffled by a fight-to-the-death, feverish pitch of, say, whether it's better for a candidate to get a mailed paper job offer or electronic version.  Many a recruiter has been driven to an early happy hour by a public decree from some bozo recruiter three countries away casting insults of ignorance into the public forum for all to see. 

Conversely, a pirate, scratch that, recruiter suddenly stands up and announces that a VP of Technology in Missouri has ACCEPTED the position!  Suddenly, updates of "LIKE", "LIKE", "LIKE", "LIKE", and on and on start peppering your iPhone.  Digital high-fives erupt until some jealous schmuck retorts that public announcements of success is in bad taste!  Then, naturally, everyone picks sides and the battle wages once again.

Recruiters and pirates are clever, adapting, intuitive, spontaneous, and VERY thick-skinned!  They can start from scratch with nothing and be swimming in gold in days.  They can juggle an obnoxious litany of complicated circumstances moving all at once and shut the lights off at close of business with the calmness of a sleeping kitten.  And the money.  Ohhh.  The money.  The top recruiter can have three deals up in the air at 11PM and fall asleep in minutes not knowing the outcome.

Recruiters and pirates are patient.  Yet, they are impatient.  What?  It's the juggle of priorities.  It's the mastery of emotion.  They have their own individual specification for "professionalism".  And many of these points are NOT universally defined in the community. 

A recruiter might be seen in a 1999 F-150 or a brand new Beemer.  A recruiter might look like Clark Kent or from the cast of Duck Dynasty.  The recruiter may have a Starbucks in their office building or a laundry hamper behind their chair in the basement. 

Recruiters will know how to take the criticism and will have a sense for boundaries of tolerance with their peers.  There's a pretty small gap between "let's talk" and "speak when spoken to".  The recruiter knows his or her craft and knows how to do it and get it done.  Questioning any of it is only a one-way street.  You don't even have to be looking at the recruiter to know when they are broadcasting "Back Off!"

Now and then, some idiot will stumble into ground zero at the Recruiter's Ball.  They'll open up their mouth or tap the keyboard and say something stupid.  That is precisely the time to sit back and watch the chaos that is about to take place.

- Steve

Views: 340

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on September 27, 2013 at 2:58pm

I LOVE this analogy. It really is spot on. And the old pirates will sit back and watch the young Will Turners try to reinvent saving the damsel in distress, knowing all the while that if he's going to be successful, he'll eventually figure it out and become the ultimate pirate once he embraces his inner Davy Jones. Or something. :)


This is great Nehez. I love it.


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