Building Mental Fitness as a Recruiter

Much like any skill that you are trying to build, the keys to becoming a better recruiter are (1) learn from someone with more skill and experience than you and (2) get as many at-bats as possible. 

However, there is one other aspect of success in recruiting that is often overlooked–mental fitness. Recruiting can often be a bit of a grind when you’re trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack, but the rewards are almost always worth it. 

Grit is the it-factor that separates recruiters that bill $1,000,000/year and recruiters that struggle to hit their quota.

In Episode 6 of the You Own The Experience podcast, Robert Mann interviews staffing veteran of 25 years, Andy Moss on the importance of grit in mentally fit recruiters. Andy Moss is the CEO and co-founder of Mforce, a manufacturing and automotive staffing firm, and 3DIQ, an automation software for staffing firms known as the “recruiter’s secret weapon.”

If you practice your craft, you’ll be an unbelievable recruiter

Robert Mann (RM): Andy, can you tell us what you do training-wise for your recruiters? Or, what kind of mindset you look for when you hire?

Andy Moss (AM): Sure thing. For starters, I love the mind of an athlete. I like hiring somebody that has competed and has that competitive drive. Finding someone that understands winning and understands losing is invaluable. The human connection is great, but if they are a competitor–someone that wants to go to the mat and battle–that’s what I’m trying to find.

RM: So, do you like team sports people or individuals? Based on your last statement, it sounds like you lean more toward individuals.

AM: We’ve had success with both. Recently, some of the individuals we hired have competed in ballet and we also hired a golfer. It’s intrigued me just kind of the mental toughness they have because they have to grind to get better–and that’s usually self-propelled. There’s no one grabbing them and saying…hey, let’s go! You’ve got to go do it on your own. It’s up to you to put in the work. Obviously, football, baseball, softball, some of those team sports are great. But individual competitors…it can be interesting to see their drive.

RM:  Yeah, when I wrestled, I think mental toughness is something that I experienced and was glad of. It made me scrappy! Can you tell us about how you, personally, gained experience in staffing?

AM: I spent 10 years with Aerotek. They have a fantastic model with some of the best training I’ve ever been exposed to. One of the things my mentor said is…if you practice this craft like you practice [baseball at the time] you will become an unbelievable recruiter, and at the time I wasn’t practicing at all. 

I wasn’t even doing anything to better myself and my craft of recruiting. I started to ask…What am I doing to better myself? What am I doing to get better? I started by making sure I was the first person in the office every day.  

All the leads came in from CareerBuilder overnight. So, if I was there first and I shot the emails out, I could document that they were my people. I just naturally started getting to work at 6:30 – 7:00 o’clock. It just became a habit and I got better. I got better because what I needed was at-bats. I wasn’t having enough conversations to learn how to do the job. Getting the leads would at least get me the conversations to get the at-bats to learn what I was doing or not doing to make this work. 

When you’re the new recruiter or the new salesperson, you have to generate your own at-bats. And if you weren’t doing that well enough you weren’t going to get them. 

Recruiter aptitude is a tremendous indicator of success

Smart individuals find a way to make things happen. They’re not going to wait for solutions to come to them. They’re going to look at a problem or a challenge and figure out a solution. In addition, a college degree is not an indicator of intelligence. 

Half of the recruiters at Mforce do not have college degrees. At one time, a degree was a prerequisite for an interview with a recruiting firm but that has changed over the years. Today, grit and intelligence are the top two prerequisites.

To a point, mental fitness can absolutely be trained. However, a Chevy Tahoe can be upgraded with a more powerful engine that increases the top speed by 50 percent but that does not mean that it could be competitive in the Daytona 500. Starting with a Chevy Camaro as the base vehicle will lead to a much better competitor. If you focus on hiring smart candidates that have the drive to compete, the pass to success will be much easier!

Hiring Camaros (or Mustangs) is easier said than done because people don’t come with emblems on their hoods. Using personality assessments is always a great place to start but there’s no substitute for experience. Look for candidates that have a track record of success in competition and you will be well on your way to building a better team!

Check out episode 6 of the You Own the Experience Podcast to learn more.