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6 Tips for Recruiters to Self-Motivate During Tough Times

A woman in a business suit sitting at a desk with a laptop.

​Recruiting is hard right now. The labor market is hypercompetitive, open requisitions have skyrocketed, and recruiting resources have not been fully restored from the ravages of the pandemic.

Then there are the demands of hiring managers. "Some hiring managers really don't understand all of the environmental and cultural changes that are impacting the talent acquisition function now," said Jeremy Eskenazi, SHRM-SCP, managing principal at Riviera Advisors Inc. in Los Angeles. He was speaking at the SHRM Talent Conference & Expo 2022 in Denver on April 12.

"In the past few decades, we have never seen such strains on the talent acquisition function," he said. "All of these issues have placed the role of talent acquisition professionals in a difficult position—more than ever before. And the job of talent acquisition can be pretty stressful and sometimes depressing."

Eskenazi said that narrative needs to be changed, and it all begins with realizing that recruiters deserve appreciation. "We deserve love for changing people's lives by bringing them into our organizations," he said. "We deserve love for doing a great job at work and feeling satisfaction and recognition for our work. We deserve love for innovating."

Self-Motivation Is the Key

Eskenazi said recruiters shouldn't necessarily expect to receive that appreciation from hiring managers and senior leaders.

"We all must understand that we have to self-motivate ourselves every day," he said. "To be able to do this, first we need to shift the thinking in the role we play as trusted advisor and then we need to start asking for the love even if it's not offered."

Here are six tips Eskenazi shared to help recruiters self-motivate:

Tip 1: Embrace being an organization builder.

The biggest motivator in talent acquisition is the acknowledgment that recruiters build organizations.

"As talent acquisition pros, we have to take a lot of credit ourselves for actually watching this concept in real life," he said. "For example, every time you walk the halls of your own company and you see someone that you personally were involved with recruiting and hiring, and that person is thriving and maybe they have been promoted since you hired them, you had something to do with that success."

Tip 2: Learn how to say 'no.'

Feeling a lack of control is stressful. Eskenazi said recruiters should aim to set and manage expectations with stakeholders "so you don't always feel as if you have to deliver everything that is requested. Learn how to set limits so you can have control over your work."

Tip 3: Share the joy.

Recruiters regularly offer people career and life changes that are huge milestones of joy for them.

"When a candidate accepts your offer, really take a moment and share their joy and celebrate your success together with them," Eskenazi said.

After the transaction of the offer is completed, pause and ask the candidate to engage with you more personally, he suggested.

"Ask them what the reasons were that they chose to accept your offer and what this career change will mean for them. Just understanding their joy and celebrating with them will really make it real for you, too. The moment is much more than just a transaction."

Tip 4: Celebrate every win.

Eskenazi reminded recruiters to take a moment to practice a little self-celebration after closing on a candidate or hitting hiring goals.

"Too often we forget our wins in a sea of negatives, but we cannot forget them," he said. "If you have ever worked in a sales organization, a search firm, recruiting agency, etc., often they do a far better job of celebrating wins than we do inside of organizations. The idea of ringing a physical bell in a shared office every time a goal is achieved or having a big whiteboard with successes is not new. Copy this concept yourself, even if you work virtually."

He urged recruiters to also celebrate with something personal, like enjoying an ice cream or other treat for doing a good job.

Tip 5: Take advantage of the opportunity.

Talent acquisition goes through cycles of boom and bust. Eskenazi recommended recruiters make the most of the current environment, which he calls the "Golden Age of Talent Acquisition," because times will get lean again. But presently, organizations desperately need recruiting professionals; those with innovative, consultative and strategic skills are highly valued.

"You are in demand," he said. "Just keep that in mind."

Tip 6: Revel in conscious curiosity.

The function of talent acquisition requires recruiters to understand many different parts of businesses and organizations.

"We often have to be a chameleon weaving in and out of different teams, serving different departments and divisions, and we need to understand what makes them all successful," Eskenazi said. "The best recruiters have learned that the only way for us to be successful is to be consciously curious—meaning we are self-motivated to learn more deeply about how ours and other businesses and organizations actually work and thrive."

He advised recruiters to learn how to turn on the skill of being consciously curious and how to apply that curiosity to daily life as a consultative HR professional.


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