Think like Talent Acquisition & Not a Recruiter

Career, HR, Recruitment

Learnt from my mistakes last week – think like Talent Acquisition & not a recruiter

I made a mistake this week. I behaved like an Agency Recruiter when I should have been a Talent Acquisition Partner and it could have cost my company dearly.

It’s a funny one, because Recruitment is the only industry I’ve ever worked in where the littlest thing you do, and I mean tiniest thing, can cause quite polarising reactions – sometimes in the same company – and you never quite know which way it will go.

You don’t need to know the details, but basically, I put my agency BD hat on and didn’t think through the email I wrote. It was a nice enough email and actually, it was pretty spot on from a BD perspective; I got a decent response rate from recipients who wanted to use my services.

But like I said, I didn’t think it through and I should 100% have put myself in Talent Acquisition’s shoes and thought about the impact such an email would have on them before I sent it. Despite my effusive apologies and insistence that I meant no harm it was still the wrong move, and here’s what I learned:

  • It doesn’t matter what you say or do, if someone feels something, the important thing is how you made them feel and not what you meant. It’s a level of emotional intelligence that ironically enough, is hard to draw upon when you’re feeling, well, very emotional.


  • When you work in a service – lead industry, you will constantly battle with two concepts: the Master/Servant and the Customer is Always Right. Both are wrong and right in various situations and sometimes, you won’t be able to do anything right. Just your face will be enough to annoy someone and when that happens, you need a good colleague/boss who can step in.


  • Recruitment is emotional. There’s a lot is at stake for everyone – Candidate, Client, Recruiter – whoever you are. It’s perfectly OK to get emotional about a situation, but it’s important you don’t soak it all up and let that emotion cloud your judgement. Recruitment is just a job, at the end of the day.


  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If your candidate has been made redundant, they might understandably be on edge and wonder why you finding them a new role is taking a while. If your Talent Acquisition client is abrasive with you for just generally being a Recruiter, they might have dealt with a dozen other Recruiters that week who’ve been much more unethical than you, and you might be wearing the brunt of their frustrations with that. Be sympathetic, but stand firm in how you value yourself


  • Talent Acquisitions’ main focus is on the candidate experience which is fundamental to their business brand. Remember that when you’re engaging with them.


  • As a Recruiter, most of us are desperate not to let the targets over our heads impede our level of service but sometimes, no matter how hard we try, they just do. And sometimes, that is totally OK and understandable. No situation is irreparable.

Ultimately, when you work in such an emotionally charged environment, it makes sense that you will have days when you let it get to you. That could force us to go one of two ways – either very sensitive or dare I say, dead inside! Either way, Recruitment is a delicate balance and the most important thing to remember is at the end of the day, it’s just a job. Remain true to your ethics and morals and if you mess up, apologise and then move on. Because sometimes you are a product of the industry that you work in and you shouldn’t have to apologise for that. You are just doing your job in the best way you know how. So, I encourage you to think like Talent Acquisition not a Recruiter.