The psychology of recruitment.

It can take tremendous courage to leave your comfy job and start something full of unknowns. The new boss seemed nice enough during a one-hour interview, but what is she like day-to-day? You’ll have to learn new names & faces, new software, new processes, prove yourself all over again.

Sometimes people need a nudge. Not a push; never let a recruiter pester you into quitting your copacetic employment when there is zero interest on your end. Yet often, “passive job seekers” do actually desire change deep down, and there’s a psychology for tapping into that.

Other candidates are super-inspired. They call or email me every other day, and I’m sprinting to keep up with their career ideas! Ultimately, the recruiter-candidate relationship is malleable. A good recruiter intuitively customizes his/her style to meet each candidate’s needs.

The Ghost Recruiter: For some professionals, I’m simply the middleman. I facilitate an introduction to a well-suited employer and fade into the shadows.

The Mentor Recruiter: Some candidates see me as a resource of knowledge and experience, guiding their job search, interview coaching, and providing constructive feedback & positive encouragement.

The Peer: To others, I’m a collaborative partner, engaging in give-and-take discussions about the job market and pros & cons of each opportunity (and maybe comparing March Madness picks…)

The Assistant: It’s just fine if I’m primarily administrative support, coordinating your interview calendar, processing paperwork, and making travel arrangements. (OK, I’ve never actually booked a candidate’s flight or hotel, but I can be a diligent hand-holder. I’ve edited cover letters, re-formatted hundreds of resumes and, in one case, sent nightly texts reminding a busy Engineering Manager …how’s that portfolio coming?… don’t forget to compile your references… — He thanked me later).

For many candidates I work with, I’m two or more of the above roles. The recruiter wears multiple hats. I can be your drill sergeant and your cheerleader. Nag you like your sister and nurture you like your mother. Be your therapist, listen to your concerns, and help you find a more professionally fulfilling path. Different approaches motivate different people. And I’m affirmed by the frequent thank-you cards and emails I receive from hires grateful they secured a job they love!

How can you help your recruiter help you? Start with honest communication. On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to leave your job this year? What would it really take to turn your head? Prioritize these: money, location, work culture, professional development, company reputation, and anything else that is important to you. Then let the recruiter do his/her job: matching you with appropriate opportunities and co-navigating (to whatever extent you need) the interview and offer process. End result? Getting you where you want to be.