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Five valuable life lessons I’ve learnt from recruitment

As in any career, from time to time as a recruiter you may find yourself contemplating whether the job is really for you… and if not, then what skills, both professional and personal, have you actually learnt from your time behind the desk and on the phone?

You have the ability to make somebody’s dream job become reality, help companies build great teams,  and learn from different people in all corners of the world. I’ve worked in recruitment for three years and no one day has been the same.

The fact is that recruitment has given me skills that I wouldn’t have necessarily picked up in other industries. “What could they possibly be?” I hear you ask.

1. Patience is key

As human beings, we can be incredibly patient but equally highly impatient! We all like to have things done to our schedule and if they don’t go accordingly, we tend to get frustrated with the people involved and, in the worst cases, the entire world. Recruitment teaches you to be patient in a way that it leaves no other options but to relax and breathe.

2. It is not always about money

Of course, as salespeople, we always want to make money. However, we also get the joy in being part of somebody’s journey to achieving their goals, from freely giving CV advice or sharing industry knowledge. Yes, money is still a huge factor but I also make sure that I go above and beyond for candidates and clients as they have been kind enough to give me their time. It is the least I can do, especially as we seemingly find ourselves in a world where everything  comes at a price.

3. Your job is your career, not your life

The two can often blur into one big picture. Recruitment, more so than any other job, can leave you finding yourself lost in time (on calls to Singapore in the early hours and to New York in the evening), working hours you didn’t know you were even capable of. The key is to make the decision to leave the office when the job is done, to spend time with friends, family and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

4. Do not take things to heart

You will have days in recruitment where you have a great conversation with a Senior Vice President of a Fortune 500 company followed by somebody being, to be frank, downright disrespectful on the phone. Do not take it to heart, you may have caught them at a stressful time. It’s not you, it’s just bad timing.

5. Relationship building is a privilege

The joy of executive search is that you get to know people on a more personal level; their family, their motivations, personality and life ethics. You learn of their struggles and the stress of responsibilities they hold, especially in the life sciences industry where they can be responsible for so many lives. Embracing and enjoying the bond you build with your network is beyond fulfilling.

Working in recruitment is incredibly rewarding from both a professional and personal point of view; you will learn a lot about yourself, work alongside some of the most driven people out there, and facilitate life changing hires.

If you are looking to work as a candidate or client, with a company that is set to bring about transformation in the life sciences industry, then look no further than Walter James.

Written by Hervé De Klerck, Associate Principal – Technical Operations Practice at Walter James (contactable at

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