Seven Stages of Recruiter Heartbreak

There’s a problem with recruiters. We’re too determined, too stubborn. We don’t just give up and say enough is enough. We fight till the end. But at what point do you say the dream is over? At what point do say you’ve lost this deal? Heartbreak, bereavement, loss and sorrow. These are feelings even the most stern-faced recruiter has felt. You’re not alone. These are the seven stages of recruiter heartbreak.

Denial – It’s Not Over Yet

We can still make it work… we’re sure of it!

There are countless reasons why a deal could fall through. Whether your candidate’s finished second best, the client pulls out, a counter-offer was accepted or you’ve just been ghosted. You won’t acknowledge it at first. You’ll fight it for as long as you possibly can.

You’re in denial. It’s time for a Good Will Hunting “it’s not your fault” moment. You need to process what’s happened.

Pain – It Just Hurts So Much

It feels like a break up. You put your faith and hope into this. You knew you shouldn’t have become too emotionally involved but you couldn’t help it. It’s going to take a long time to trust anyone again.

This is the stage of recruiter heartbreak where you spend all night wallowing in your own self-pity. Ice-cream and Dirty Dancing, pizza and Fifa – you need some ‘me’ time to get over this pain.

They’re just not worth it, you’ll tell yourself while listening to The Streets’ “Dry Your Eyes” for the eighth time on repeat.

You may consider drowning your sorrows. Though, it’s not something we’d recommend just yet. A few tequilas down and you’ll be crying into your mate’s arms while attempting to leave a drunken voicemail on your ex-candidate’s phone.

Anger – They Betrayed Me!

It’s always better to get over someone when you hate them. So let’s start hating!

They betrayed you, how dare they? You worked tirelessly for months. But, they don’t take a moment’s consideration for the position they’ve left you in. You’re never working for them again. You hope they come crawling back looking for your help. They’re never going to find a consultant like you.

You speak to a few other candidates and clients in the coming days. You’re short-tempered and full of resent. All candidates are the same.

Guilt – What if I’m the Problem?

This is where you really hit rock bottom. What if you’re the reason it all went wrong? What if you’re just an awful recruiter? Maybe you don’t deserve another deal.

At this stage, you start to question your own skills at recruiting. You over-analyse everything you’ve ever said or done. You have incredibly low self-esteem and even start to put-off new candidates and clients by talking about your inadequacies. This makes you feel even worse.

You may not have been the problem before but you certainly are now.

Bargaining – Making a Deal with the Devil

It’s time to make a deal with the devil, this isn’t happening again!

You find yourself standing alone at night, smoking a cigarette in the rain, while thinking about every lost deal you’ve ever had.

You tell yourself you’re going to be a bad recruiter, you’re going to be the worst there’s been. You’ve tried being nice, you’ve tried playing by the rules but it’s just not worked. Nice guys finish last, now it’s time to try something else.

You think of all the nasty tricks you can play. You plot and scheme until the early hours of the morning. Tomorrow, you think to yourself, everything will change.

When tomorrow does come, you forget about everything from the night before and carry on as normal.

Acceptance – That’s Just How it Goes

Could you have done more? Probably.

Was it your fault? Not really.

Have you learnt from it? Of course.

Will you keep going? Hell yeah.

It’s been a few days now and you feel a little silly for moping about so much. Looking back you can see where you went wrong. Though, you can also see everything you’ve done right. These things happen to everyone. Now you need to get your head back in the game, focus on getting the little things right and work towards your next deal.

At least you’ve learned to be a little more cynical.

Bouncing Back – What Was the Fuss About?

The final stage in getting over recruitment heartbreak is to get back in the game. You need to work hard and take each day at a time. There will be highs and there will be lows, that’s just part of the job.

There will come a moment, usually after securing your next deal, when you’ll realise just how much you’ve grown. You’re making deals, killing it and hoovering up the commission payments. Things have never felt this good. And secretly, you know a large part is attributed to what you’ve learnt from your candidate dropout.

In time, you’ll learn to forget about this heartbreak. For now, you only need to look forward.

Want to take the next step in your recruitment career? We want to hear from you. We take a quality over quantity approach to recruitment. If you’re confident in your abilities, get in touch and we’ll find the ideal role for you. Have a browse of our job board to get a feel for the type of vacancies we currently have on offer.

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