Recruiting Lessons From Mothers

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Recruiting Lessons From Mothers

Recruiters aren’t born…they’re raised. But where do they get their identity? Their work ethic? From management? HAHAHAHA MANAGEMENT HAHAHAHA. No. Recruiters aren’t the result of some sort of Jurassic Park-esque experiment splicing together “keyword searching”, KPIs and smooth talking. The answer is easy- Recruiters were taught everything they need to be successful from their mothers. Thinking about it over this past Mother’s Day, the lessons are obvious. The impact a Mother has on a recruiter’s life is evident in every way they operate. Don’t believe me? Here are a few examples-

Why Won’t You Call Me?

Your mother cares. She’s worried. Why won’t you call her back? Look, you won’t accept her Facebook request, you’ve blocked her on Twitter and LinkedIn (don’t judge). She just wants to know that you are ok. And if you are eating enough potassium. Did you know that there is “good” cholesterol now? Oh watch out for that new dangerous tick that was found in NJ. She even sent you a link. Does mom give up? HECK NO. That woman cares. She knows that when you want to, when you’re ready, you’ll call her back.

Same with recruiters. So what that you have tried calling that candidate/prospect 13 times. They haven’t told you “no” or “my god can’t you take a hint.” So you try that 14th time. Because you know that when they want to, when they’re ready, they’ll call you back. You’re just trying to stay on their radar until then.

You Have A Little Something On Your Face

Doesn’t matter your age, the amount of people in the room, or the “death stare” you give her…some moms insist on getting something off of your face. They’re just trying to be helpful so people do get the wrong impression of you. It’s the same when they say “is that what you’re wearing” and “when was the last time you cut your hair.” Ok, let’s be honest…sometimes moms do it because they see you as a reflection on them.

Recruiters are the same way. There are times where we politely suggest you wear a suit to an interview, or avoid smoking or possibly lay off the generous application of Drakkar Noir (if you have no idea what that means, it’s like an 80s version of Abercrombie’s Fierce. But worse.). We do it because we care. We want you to make a good first impression. But we also see you as a reflection on us. Don’t let us down…we don’t need the neighbors talking about us.

I’m Going To Ask You Again…What Really Happened?

You can’t lie to moms. Well, you can try. You might even think you got away with it. But that is only because they let you think that. They know. They always know. 20 years later, your mom will casually bring up over Thanksgiving dinner that yes, she knows that it was you that drank all of the Bartles & James Wine Coolers. Because the neighbors told her they found 10 empty bottles in their bushes. And your Blockbuster card.


Recruiters are basically human lie detectors. Look, we know you didn’t leave your last job over “creative differences.” We know you were fired. We just pick our battles. We would prefer you didn’t lie, but we choose to move on. Other times moms will let you know right then and there that they aren’t having it and they want to hear the truth *now* “I’m going to ask you again, why did you leave your 3 year old brother alone in the house, leave the house out of the back door, and walk to the video store and rent Fletch? KEEPING IN MIND 3 NEIGHBORS SAW YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE OUT OF THE BACK DOOR AND WALK TO THE VIDEO STORE. AND THAT YOU ARE CURRENTLY WATCHING FLETCH.

There are times where recruiters have to call you out right then and there. “Oh, really, your resume is accurate? Because I know your old boss and I actually filled your spot when you were fired. A year earlier than your resume indicates.” Thanks to moms, we know to always be skeptical, and when to speak up. BECAUSE WE CARE.

Don’t You Worry, Let Me Handle Your Father

No one is perfect. There are times in your childhood where you get in trouble. Mom might be observant and a human lie-detector, she’s not omnipresent. And when you are caught, there’s always *someone* kind enough to inform her. Coaches, teachers, police officers, retail management (Of course the trick was always to rush home and delete the voice message from the machine. So I hear.). Kids are kids, right? They get into all sorts of things. And moms? Moms can be understanding. Dads? Dads can be scary. Dads sometimes don’t act…rationally. So some moms act as a buffer when it comes to bad news. “We don’t need to tell your father.” “You let me handle your father, don’t worry.” Or maybe Dad is just cheap. Dads can be cheap. So very very cheap. “What do you mean you need new sneakers? What do you call those? In my day I tied palm tree leaves on my feet.” Moms always knew the right way to approach these topics with Dad.

Recruiters know how to discuss those touchy subjects. If there “less than optimal” facts about a candidate, let the recruiter discuss with the client. We know the client and we know the best approaches to take. Same with negotiations/counteroffers. Clients can be cheap. But we know how to talk to our clients to get what we need.

You Deserve Better

This is an important one that recruiters really need to thank mom for- The ability to have perspective. Moms have been there and done that. They were kids, they know what it’s like, they know what you think and why. Like that group of kids that you think of as your friends? They only like you because you are the only one with Mortal Kombat in the neighborhood. And because you give them cash. Moms know better. They’re adults and they know the way the world works. Everything isn’t black and white, right and wrong, fair and unfair. So they can empathize with how you currently feel, but they can also tell you how to fix it, or have a more knowledgeable viewpoint.

Recruiters operate in the same way. When they first start talking with candidates, they find out about their current situation. Some candidates don’t know how bad they have it. They don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know they are underpaid, or that others in their graduating class are two levels higher than them career-wise, or that competitors look down on where they work…but recruiters do. They know what’s going down on the streets. You have to make decisions for yourself, but recruiters want to give you the knowledge to make informed decisions. If they say you deserve better, you probably do.

When Are You Going To Settle Down

Moms want you to move onto that next chapter in your life, find that special someone, and have love and stability. Because she cares. Or maybe she just wants grandkids. POINT IS…recruiters want the same thing for candidates. I know I know, there are reasons why you left your last job. There are always reasons. But we care. We care about your long term happiness. We want you to have stability. Because it will get to the point where you missed your chance and people won’t consider you anymore for anything other than a fling. Let us introduce you to this person we know…I just know you’ll love them.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Kids can be arrogant. They think very highly of themselves. Moms do their best to not raise arrogant kids and, when necessary, knock them down a peg (politely) . “Who do you think you are mister? God’s gift to soccer? You are going to practice.” Recruiters, when necessary, sometimes knock candidates down a peg. There are times when candidates are unrealistic about compensation, titles, duties, etc., and recruiters have to help show them difficult realities such as market value, promotability, etc.

Do What You Think Is Right

Ah yes, the Mom Jedi Mind Trick. “You can decide what you want to do. I won’t tell you what to do. I told you how I feel and why. But the choice is yours…do what you think is right.” Same in recruiting. We can educate, give opinions, state a compelling case, but ultimately, the choice is yours. We just hope that the candidate thinks is right. And by that I mean we passive aggressively want to walk you down the path of logic to agree with us. Not for our sake, but yours. But hey, what do I know, I’ve only been recruiting for 15 years…you do what you think is right.

Patience Is A Virtue

Moms know that raising children is a marathon, not a sprint. You are laying groundwork for adulthood, and that doesn’t happen overnight. They understand it is a long process. They repeat themselves. Over and over. And over. And over. Sure, it can be frustrating, but they know that some day it will be worth it…they will have raised adults. And they can finally have their house back. Recruiting is the same way. If you are not patient, you will drive yourself insane. Recruiters are always waiting. Waiting to land that candidate after 10 attempts. Waiting for resumes. Waiting for feedback. Waiting for offers. Waiting for decisions. If it wasn’t for mom, recruiters might flame out in 8 weeks. But you know that you are working towards something and it will pay off for everyone involved.

You Can Always Talk To me

For a recruiter, instilling a sense of trust and compassion is, ultimately, the only way to forge a successful relationship with a candidate. They need to know that you believe them. They need to be able to believe you. They need to know that you will listen to what they are saying, and not just waiting for your turn to talk. Candidates need to know that what you say and do is in their best interests, not yours. And if that doesn’t sum up a good mom, I don’t know what does.

If you have any questions about anything I discussed in the above article, looking for a job and/or working with a recruiter, just ask! Shoot me an email at

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