Recruiting is a Lifestyle, Not a Job

By Josh McAfee

Resumes Job Posting Hiring Indeed Recruiting Recruiter Executive Search Tech Management HRIf you’re up to the challenge, there are exceptional career opportunities for recruiters (and aspiring recruiters.) I’m not just talking about staffing either. 

Plenty of people just fall into recruiting. It seems like an easy enough choice. Once they’re in it though, it becomes apparent how demanding it really is. For good recruiters, this isn’t your typical 9-5 that you can leave at the office at the end of the day. Much like a real estate agent, you need to be readily accessible to clients and candidates. And you can usually expect that to be when they’re not at work. This can make for some late nights and busy weekends. 

However, if you’re a natural go-getter, love helping people, land in the right environment, and are ready to work hard and smart, recruiting will be rewarding and lucrative. 

So why do people get into recruiting? 

  • Low Barrier of Entry: Someone will give you a shot if you’re smart, have a good work ethic, and are a good communicator. What you do with it will determine your success. That’s why being selective about which company and positions you take are important. Your work environment, training, systems, and tools can have a massive impact on your career trajectory. Don’t be shy about asking plenty of questions when interviewing. The answers will help you make great career decisions.

  • High Earning Potential: You hear about the big bucks to be made in the tech, engineering, medical, and law industries. Unfortunately those take a big financial investment and time consuming education or other training. It’s not uncommon for tenacious new recruiters to earn a six-figure income and promotions within their first 24 months. You get paid in parallel with your production. Besides sales (which recruiting is akin to), I don’t know of a lot of jobs that provide that kind of opportunity without significant upfront investments and commitments.

  • Enjoy Helping Others: Finding and matching candidates with the perfect new positions and helping clients build fantastic teams is extremely rewarding. If you’re the type of person that genuinely enjoys helping others (and has a thick skin), then recruiting could be an ideal career choice.


  • Never a Dull Moment: Interacting with a large volume of candidates, clients, and partners every day provides endless opportunities to learn, grow, and build amazing relationships that most other careers don’t provide. Through nurturing relationships, learning how to facilitate business growth, and developing excellent people skills, you’ll evolve valuable expertise. Business leaders will recognize your potential, even beyond the recruiting desk.


  • A Powerful Network: If you’re intentional, you could find yourself walking with some candidates from helping them land their first real job to placing them in a C-suite role. Some will rely on your help to start and grow a new company. Frankly, if you can place 25-50 high potential people yearly and you invest in them long term, they’ll grow into leaders that view you as their trusted source for hiring. 


Hiring Recruiter Recruiting Jobs Candidates How To Now how do people become successful recruiters?

I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with hundreds of recruiters. The best ones I know all seem to share common traits which aren’t going to be listed on a job description. This is where recruiting strays from the concept of a job to the notion of a lifestyle.  

  • World-Class Work Ethic: Successful recruiting means putting in long, hard days (often on nights and weekends). Normal work hours mean nothing because with recruiting, you’re always on. You can meet a client or candidate anywhere, anytime and in almost any situation. You have to get really good at utilizing your time efficiently. When I get in the car, I usually have multiple calls I know I’m going to make on the road (using hands-free calling and keeping my eyes on the road, of course). I’ll also strongly encourage you to become a student of recruiting to help you accomplish more with less and keep organized. 
  • Mastering Relationship Building (and Consultative Selling): If you want to go fast, go alone…if you want to go far, go together. Think of that proverb as you’re building strong relationships with candidates, clients and partners. Recruiting is unique in that not only are you “selling” on the client side, you are also “selling” on the candidate side. The added twist is that your “product” has a mind of its own. That requires extreme diligence in understanding both client and candidate situations, needs, desires, and fears. Then qualifying candidates and clients to make sure it’s a solid match AND having backups to protect your success if the selected candidate or client says no. A broad client pool will provide you with multiple opportunities for each candidate. Additionally, a broad selection of well matched, qualified candidates provide multiple options for clients to feel more confident that they are making the right decision. That means more options for both clients and candidates, which also increases your probability of closing deals. Recruiting can be a little more complicated than most realize.
  • Possess Grit: You’re going to need this when there are hard times and, believe me, there will be plenty of hard times. You will lose sleep, you will feel stupid, you will fail more than you succeed. Grit will save you through tough candidates, tougher clients, or grievous mistakes (your’s or someone else’s). Sometimes the hardest thing is to pick up the phone for that next call or appointment. To persevere, you have to intentionally keep the activity level high all the time. That means more than just sending and receiving emails and text messages. You have to talk with people. It means keeping dozens of balls in the air on the candidate and the client side of things.
  • Ethics: In recruiting, people are trusting you with their careers and the success of their companies. You have to always focus on doing what’s right if you want to keep clients and build trusted relationships that will endure. You’ll go further faster if your network trusts you to help them make great decisions versus feeling like you’re trying to force feed them something.


I’ve worked in the industry for decades, working with and placing a ton of recruiters. I can tell you from personal experience that recruiting is a vastly rewarding and fun lifestyle. You’ll make some incredible friends and colleagues in the process that you’ll grow with. You can also earn a great income that can grow well into the six figures fairly quickly.


If you’re looking for a fast-paced career that’s never dull, has endless growth opportunities, empowers you to help people, makes great money, and you aren’t afraid of hard work, then choosing the recruiting lifestyle could be a great decision.


Hiring Recruiting Jobs Recruiter Josh McAfee Tech JobsJosh McAfee is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Humans Doing. With over 26 years of recruiting and team-building experience, Josh has worked with startups, SMBs, and large companies to determine hiring needs, develop out recruiting strategies and processes, and connect top talent to fuel growth. 

In 2021, he became a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author with his book Measure Up: Mastering Your Career Search Like a Boss.

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