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5 life lessons from recruitment

As in any career, from time to time as a recruiter you may find yourself contemplating whether the job is really for you. It’s important to reflect on what lessons and skills, both professional and personal, you’ve learnt from your time behind the desk and on the phone.

You turn dream jobs into realities, build great teams, and learn from people from all corners of the world. I’ve worked in recruitment for three years and no day has been the same.

Ultimately, recruitment has taught me lessons and given me skills that I wouldn’t necessarily have picked up in other industries. “What could they possibly be?” I hear you ask.

1. Patience is key

As human beings, we can be incredibly patient but we can also be extremely impatient! We like to have things done to our schedule and if they don’t go accordingly, we tend to get frustrated. Recruitment teaches you to be patient, leaving no other option but to relax and breathe.

2. It is not always about money

Of course, as salespeople, we always want to make money. However, we also get joy from being part of somebody’s journey: helping them to achieve their goals, offering CV advice and sharing industry knowledge. Yes, money is still a huge factor, but I make sure that I go above and beyond for candidates and clients, as they have been kind enough to give me their time. It is the least I can do, especially as we find ourselves in a world where everything comes at a price.

3. Your job is your career, not your life

The two can often blur into one big picture. Recruitment, more so than any other job, can leave you finding yourself lost in time (on calls to Singapore in the early hours and to New York in the evening), working hours you didn’t know you were even capable of. The key is to make the decision to leave the office when the job is done, to spend time with friends, family and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

4. Do not take things to heart

You will have days in recruitment where you have a great conversation with a Senior Vice President of a Fortune 500 company followed by somebody being, to be frank, downright disrespectful on the phone. Do not take it to heart, you may have caught them at a stressful time. It’s not you, it’s just bad timing.

5. Relationship building is a privilege

The joy of executive search is that you get to know people on a more personal level; their family, their motivations, personality and life ethics. You learn of their struggles and the stress of responsibilities they hold, especially in the life sciences industry where they can be responsible for so many lives. Embracing and enjoying the bond you build with your network is beyond fulfilling.

Working in recruitment is incredibly rewarding from both a professional and personal point of view; you learn a lot about yourself, work alongside some of the most driven people out there, and facilitate life changing hires.

Written by Hervé De Klerck, Associate Principal – Technical Operations Practice at Walter James (contactable at

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