There are nearly a million books on how to make a career transition more effective and relevant, and then there are another million ways in which people consider the best practices for the transition itself. The underlying questions of all of these “best approaches” seems to be, what does a seamless and natural career transition look like? Why make the move in the first place? And does my background necessarily align with the job that I have my eye on? I’m going to answer these questions by using just one word, that may or may not make sense at this point in our discussion. “Yes!” Yes, you are correct to think that it’s not a natural transition. Yes, it seems unprecedented to make the move when things are going well in your career, and yes; you should consider making the jump! Yes; you are right, you don’t possess all of the skills to be successful at the job, but yes; you do possess “THE SKILL” to be successful. I do wish that making the move was as clear cut as a simple yes, but yes, I can tell you that you won’t regret the adventure.
When you think of sales, often time the first thing that comes to mind is your local car salesman. “Come on in, I have the best deals on this side of Atlanta! I can get you riding in a new….blah….blah….blah!” Yeah, at this point, like myself, you have probably tuned out. But what does it mean to be in sales and to be a salesman? Being in sales often times mean, being an advisor, giving you the best possible solution to a potential scenario. It means knowing how to solve a problem before it happens. It means, knowing how to help someone, even when they don’t quite realize that they need the assistance. This is recruiting 1 on 1. If you are going to be successful at your job, it begins by being an advisor. Advising a candidate on the advantages of putting their resume back out there and making them aware of the potential dangers as well, is the most important part of being a great salesman/recruiter. Recruiting is about presenting an opportunity that helps to advance a person’s life; not just their livelihood. Every job that is posted is not the perfect job for every person. For heaven’s sake, it may not be the perfect job for any person. The purpose of the recruiter is to know what’s hiding behind door number one and being able to coach the candidate on the beauty and dangers that lurk nearby. So no, while a recruiter does not get you to buy the new shiny toy, there are many similarities between recruiting and selling. Both require one great common a factor; an individual with the passion for being the subject matter expert. Both require the individual to be able to advise their respective clients on the joys of accepting an outcome, and the dangers of making said decision.
Now the question becomes, why even make the move? If the nature of being in sales, and the fundamental principle of being a recruiter is the same; why transition from one to the other? Honestly, this was a contentious issue for me. Why move from a sales background to recruiting? For each individual, you must search yourself and discover what is important to you. One may succeed exponentially as a salesman, but it may not transition that well as a recruiter, and vice versa. My decision came down to one phrase that resonated with me from an old job of mine, “Doing the most good, for the most people, all of the time.” For me, I wanted to directly make an impact on someone’s life. I wanted people to look back and say (whether they got the job or not), “He really worked and cared about what was important to me”. In sales, often times, you don’t see the result of the work that you put in. You make the sale and on to the next. Now there is nothing wrong with this scenario simply because of the sheer thrill and enjoyment in knowing that I’ve made a sale that will certainly impact a company and subsequently the employees that utilize the tool that I sold. Simply put, to “make the move” requires a level of soul searching and discovering yourself, and determination to learn, grow, and be successful. Know, however, that learning requires challenges; but challenges foster growth! Growth requires pain, but pain fosters success! Success requires failure, but FAIL FORWARD!
Most companies always list a requirement for the skills needed to be successful for the job. So the question becomes, do you have the skills needed to make the transition? In short, there is nothing that can prepare you for what’s to come. The best preparation comes from your ability to find the “right” candidate. But in this field, the “right” candidate can always turn out to be oh so wrong. Each day is approached just a little bit differently. One day you may have to be a salesman, the next day, you are a recruiter, then the next day you are a consultant, some days you will find yourself being a counselor. All in all, learn how to wear many hats. If you are going to be intricately intertwined with such a large piece of a person’s life, you must learn that you will wear many hats. So back to the question, are you skilled enough? Well, unless you are a certified counselor, salesman, consultant, account manager, sourcer, and recruiter, chances are you are not skilled enough “on paper”. But don’t be defeated. To make a transition into recruiting means that you understand the most important skill of all; TO BE HUMAN. This means to connect with people from all walks of life and to understand the common human struggle; to be better, thrive, and survive for the sake of the ones we care for each day!
To wrap things up here, don’t fear the transition into recruiting. While you can read books, articles, blogs, papers, etc. on how to make the transition, the most important skill to understand is to be yourself. You will not succeed in any transition if you happen to lose the most important element of yourself and what makes you, YOU! Go out and learn, grow, and succeed, but understand that foresight is necessary, discernment is invaluable, and failure is inevitable. Be the individual that you were made to be and be the recruiter that you were called to be. To understand this is to understand that every transition is not natural; every transition is not seamless, but every transition needs YOU!