Recruiters, you won’t like this. But this is the one trait that is ruining your career and negatively impacting your life.

Wasted emotion.

That is what is destroying your job satisfaction. That is what is leading an army of recruiters to burn out and fade into the sunset.

Wasted emotion

Don’t get me wrong. Being emotional about placing people in jobs is normal. In fact, it’s essential. I love the passion of a recruiter on a mission to fill a job, or place a candidate. I am cool with screams of joy, or moans of despair. I love a placement dance and used to pump out a mean John Travolta/Bee Gees type number myself when I pulled down a big placement, back in the day.

In fact one memorable deal in London in the 80’s got me so excited I danced from desk to desk, kissed the Jamaican cleaning lady on both cheeks, sashayed down the stairs and across the road to the ‘Pig and Whistle’, where I stayed till 11.30 pm. All good.


That is healthy emotion. It’s wasted emotion you have to curb and eliminate.

The days of moping because a placement fell through. The bitterness and angst over a temp who bombed out. The tears and recriminations over some meaningless in-office spat. The self-pity and ‘woe is me’ because a candidate got a counter-offer. The slumped shoulders and defeatist language that follows a bad month or quarter.

All that is ‘wasted’.

It’s dragging you down. It’s wearing out your battery. It’s eating away at your self-esteem.

And, just quietly, it’s dragging those around you down too!

Let me make this easy for you. You have chosen a tough career! In this job people will let you down. People will lie to you. People will back out of commitments. People will be rude and ungrateful. ‘Certainties’ will crumble.

There. Now you know.

I don’t expect you to be a recruiting robot. Have a quick cry. Kick the desk. Have a few beers.

But leave it there! Move on.

Don’t waste your emotion on stuff that’s dead and gone.

Save the emotion for the next placement dance!


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Views: 5162

Comment by Ken Forrester on July 9, 2013 at 8:24am

The part about the Jamaican cleaning reminded me of a true story.   A couple from England just returned from their vacation in Jamaica.  They were excited about the great time they had and the wife said to their Jamaican cleaning lady:  “why would you ever want to leave such a wonderful country with such a beautiful sunshine and that lovely music?  The Jamaican cleaning woman replied: “you can't eat the beautiful sunshine or that lovely music”

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on July 9, 2013 at 1:17pm

This is terrific. I've also found that for especially tough "no's" it's helped me to write the offender's name on a piece of paper then rip it up into tiny shreds. Candidate or hiring manager, either one. Be mad and then get on with it. :)

Comment by Derdiver on July 9, 2013 at 2:02pm

Placement dance!!! LOVE IT!!  I used to hit an old "easy button" for Irony when I got the placement.

Comment by Rebecca B. Sargeant on July 11, 2013 at 9:31am

This is such a timely post for me. 

I just spent some of this weekend hanging out with all that "wasted emotion" when a client passed on an amazing Recruiter I showed them. 

Knowing what your personal reset button is very important for all Recruiters.  For myself, it's making sure I am spending enough time outside in the fresh air.  It can be as easy as going for a quick walk around the block. Or like this weekend, taking a trip to the cottage. 

We are all going to have wasted emotion as some point in our careers.

Like Greg said, "Have a quick cry. Kick the desk. Have a few beers. But leave it there! Move on. Don’t waste your emotion on stuff that’s dead and gone.Save the emotion for the next placement dance!"

Thanks for the GREAT post!

Comment by Chadd Balbi on July 15, 2013 at 9:39am

Great read! I know exactly where you are coming from. I used to get down and burnt out real quickly because of all of the above. I always remind myself: "Take the down days in stride, and be humble about the good days"


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