What I would tell my past self and what you, as a recruiter, could learn from it

Precision Insights, Recruitment

8 years in recruitment & Precision Sourcing. That’s a long time in our world. More than a quarter of my life spent at the same office, in a similar role with the same bosses and in the same industry.


Well, that’s what I am going to look at today, the lessons I have learned, and what I might tell my greener self now I have the knowledge that I do.

To take a step back, I work in an industry that is notorious for having high turnover. Some numbers we see is that 70% of rookie recruiters won’t make it out of their first year. Realistically the number sits at around 50%. That’s just the first year!! KPMG did a comprehensive study of the Australian recruitment industry in 2016 and found the overall figure sits somewhere around the 40% mark.

Put that into the context of your team. If you manage to stay there for 2 years, it is likely in that time most of the people you started with will be gone. Now, I am lucky enough to be still working with a few of the people I started with, but I have also seen a lot of people come and go.

Let’s take a look at what tips I would give rookie recruiter Joel and perhaps you will be able to pick up something useful that you can use.

Year 1 Joel:

  • Stop being so cocky! 21-year-old Joel was so full of himself! The world is not your oyster, but it can be if you put the hard work in. You may be finding the recruitment role easy now but don’t fall into a false sense of security.
  • Listen to your boss, listen to your peers and take the advice on board without question. You haven’t ever done this job before so you need be a sponge.
  • Find your purpose and soon – don’t tread water for a few years because you don’t know yours why. It may be fun to spunk every commission cheque right now, but that won’t drive you forever

Year 2 Joel

  • Damn that first year was easy, wasn’t it! Now you are up sh*t creek because you took your foot on the gas. Life isn’t that easy it takes years of work to be a success and doesn’t happen in a year. Get your head down.
  • Build your brand. Get it done soon, get ahead of the game and be seen as the go to person for data recruitment. Get all over social, blog and get to events and network.

Year 3 Joel:

  • Ok, you got your head down again, good work. What’s next? Relationships, deeper relationships that is what the Aussie recruitment industry is all about. Spend time with people who value you and buy into the service, not with time-wasters. Your time is as valuable as theirs and make sure you remember that.
  • It’s time to be a thought leader. You have been blogging and going to events, what can you put back. Put on your own events, make sure they add value, speak at events and believe in yourself.

Year 4 Joel:

  • Do exactly what you are doing- what a year you are having! You have a purpose (Nicole), you have laid the groundwork, and your visa issues are finally sorted! Keep up the high activity, keep up the motivation and prove your worth because…
  • It’s time to start thinking about your next career step. You need to build a platform to manage. By doing the basics really well, people will buy into you and look up to you. Don’t force it and just deliver.

Year 5 Joel:

  • Not everyone wants you to succeed dude. You’ve had a good career, and you are progressing well. Great job managing a team, but not everyone is going to be as happy with your success- but that’s ok. They will come round, or you should cut them out of your life.
  • Hire people who are better than you. They will make you better, and you should want everyone in your team to exceed what you have done. Not only that, your bosses will be pretty happy with you too.

Year 6 Joel:

  • Managing people is hard! Everyone is different, and you have to be as adaptable as possible. One size does not fit all so make sure you listen and don’t just tell people what to do and expect them to do it.
  • Coach don’t manage. People want to be led not dictated to. You need to get on a level.You have been there before yourself so put yourself in their shoes.

Year 7 Joel:

  • It’s been a good year; it’s now time to make that step you wanted to into senior management. Get some outside help, engage your mentor more and get that step by step guide from your bosses as to what you need to improve on. Don’t stand still


It’s been an awesome 7 years at Precision, and I truly hope that the next 7 years are spent here, being successful and growing as a person, a recruiter and a leader. I hope that some of the above can help you and your career in recruitment.

I am by no means the finished article as you can never be perfect, but if anyone wants to discuss their experience in recruitment, I would love to do that. There will be plenty of people with more experience and plenty with less experience than me that I would love to learn from.