Is the Word “Recruiter” (Still) a Dirty Word?

In December of 2004, I walked into my Plant Manager’s office at PCC Airfoils and gave my notice that I would be leaving. He asked me what I was going to do and I told him, “I’m going to be a recruiter.”

He looked shocked and painfully responded, “A headhunter?”

I shrugged my shoulders, as I had never heard the term “headhunter” prior to him saying it. The first image that came into my mind was the Grim Reaper carrying a bag full of heads, and I didn’t understand how someone helping people find jobs could have such a negative connotation.

As I began to tell my friends about my career change, they would all say, “Oh, you’re a recruiter,” in a tone that made it sound like they felt sorry for me – or that I should be quarantined. I began to wonder if I made a bad decision leaving my job in the Aerospace Industry to get into recruiting. I made it my purpose in life to change the word “recruiter” from a negative to a positive.

After many years of hard work, when a friend or acquaintance asks me what I do and I tell them I’m a recruiter, they say, “Oh, you’re a recruiter,” with a tone that implies they appreciate what recruiters do and that maybe I can help them someday. I can’t tell you what changed that image as a whole in the past 10 years, but I can tell you what I have done to change the image.

  1. I make sure that I have a metric-driven approach that allows me to not need anything to happen. Many recruiters might need you to do something for them to reach their personal goals, which causes them to apply unnatural pressure. I don’t need to do that because I’m willing to work hard to reach my goals.
  2. I put myself in the shoes of the people I’m working with and think as if I were them. This way, I’m able to give advice that makes sense and is not just to close them on what serves my interest. I call this the Golden Rule of Recruiting, treating others how you wish to be treated.
  3. I’ve worked very hard to not just find jobs, but find the best opportunities with companies that value their employees and offer unique opportunities. I try to find jobs with companies that I would want to work at myself because I rely on referrals for a great deal of my clientele and vetting my new clients carefully before referring candidates ensures the circle of trust.

Today, after being in the recruiting industry for 10+ years, I am blessed to have a position where I can help great people unlock their potential by bringing them great advice and opportunity. If you feel that recruiters are still a negative in the world, I challenge you to give me a call so that we can turn that image around.

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