Highway to Hell – first weeks of being a junior recruiter

“Induction is over. You think you know the processes by heart but then as you go, you realize you know less than Jon Snow. Soon you realize that you are indeed on the highway to hell, and there are no stop signs. Is recruitment really for you?”


That’s what my brain was telling me back in February when I started working as Associate Recruiter. Overall, I have now almost 2 years of experience in recruitment. I thought I know a lot but it turned out I was wrong. I know SOMETHING but there’s definitely room for improvement. Let’s talk about that later on. Time to focus on February.

After 2 weeks of intensive training, it was the time to call the candidates. I have my requisitions assigned to me, I’ve started to build a working relationship with senior recruiters. I’m excited to start a new journey and gain experience along the way but at the same time I’m nervous. What if someone makes fun of my accent? What if I won’t do well? What if I reject a good candidate? I remember my voice was trembling when I spoke with the first candidate. She applied for a global marketing role, and thank God for that! Marketing people tend to talk a lot, and I find them usually very friendly. Her warm tone of voice was soothing. No wonder why I thought she is the best candidate in the world! (yes, I was biased, and yes I do want to talk about bias later) I was lucky because actually the lady was good, and she made it to the next stages! But hey, I screwed up one thing – my notes were all written in my notebook. I was supposed to fill out a template but typing, talking and active listening seemed too much at that time. Yet, I had to send my notes to the senior recruiter. After a while I figured everything out, and now my notes are 10/10 but back then I felt overwhelmed.

Next day, I got a request from another senior recruiter to short list 60 candidates for a scientific advisor role. Oh boy.. 60?! I thought it will take me forever to go through their CVs and cover letters. I gave him my list, he gave me his. No matches. Great. His advice? Don’t read cover letters, they tend to be misleading. Gotcha, okay.. Cover letters are no no. Any advice was welcomed.

4 days of the journey, and I got a positive feedback which reach every major stakeholder! I was over the moon! I felt so motivated, I wanted to do so good.. and somewhere I failed. Let me tell you about my another screw up.

I have scheduled a call between myself, and a candidate. Global marketing role, again. I thought the lady looked good on CV. Senior recruiter for this role comes back to me to stay I should not be speaking with her because she is not good. Without thinking, I’m going back to the candidate to say that the call won’t happen because X person reviewed your profile, and she thinks you are not a good fit for the role. That was a huge mistake. Candidate was not pleased with my “feedback”. She got in touch with whoever she could. It was bad. Someone who is way above me had to take care of this. It was definitely a lesson for me, and I tell you this – I’ve learned from that. Now I’m making sure that this will never happened again.

Next screw up happened with a candidate who was not eligible to work in X country, and we just could not offer him visa sponsorship. I recommended him for the next stage, and the senior recruiter came back to me saying “hey, thank you for the X candidate, experience-wise he is good but unfortunately we cannot proceed him due to his lack of work eligibility”. Then, we had an intensive training on work eligibility which was extremely useful. I thought work eligibility is a sensitive topic to discuss with the candidates – I was not feeling 100% comfortable discussing it with anyone but I realized that this is part of my job. I think I will talk about it somewhere later on? Let’s see.

Enough screw ups! I had some placements, and good reviews coming from both senior recruiters, and my line manager. I read a lot about current affairs in Europe, UK, making sure I know what’s going on in the pharma world. I am enjoying my work, and I do believe that recruitment is for me. First weeks were like a roller-coaster – things went from 0 to 100 in a blink of an eye. It was good, bad and ugly. Point is – never doubt yourself. Even if something is telling you it might not be for you, do not listen to it. JUST DON’T. Think what you can improve. Talk to more experienced people. Find yourself a mentor. If you work hard, you will see great results. If you screw up at the beginning, please do not be discouraged. Without screw ups you won’t learn, trust me on that one. You will feel like you on the highway to hell but then you will find yourself a way to the paradise city.