Footballers, Recruiters - Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Being a recruiter can be both the most challenging and the most rewarding role in an organization. This is why every recruiter is like a soccer team’s skipper. Even when leadership roles and responsibilities are shared among the teammates, the skipper’s role remains central to the team’s performance.

In the past few weeks, you would have noticed how becoming a captain can affect a player’s performance, for better or worse. This is because captains need not only to be competent in their playing but, also need to inspire confidence in their teammates, evaluate the game plan, and change it if circumstances dictate.

Listed below are a few characteristics that recruiters have in common with the footballers we know and love.

Mentally Strong

The mental part of the job is the hardest. Inevitably, the decisions made by the captain will be criticized, both within and outside the team. Equally, the captain needs to maintain a cool head during the game to make the right decisions at the right time.

Likewise, recruiters sometimes back certain hires because of the potential they see in them. This may offend an experienced employee, as the new hire is given more space to grow. In these situations, recruiters must go with their gut and stand their ground. This requires significant mental fortitude.

Excellent Communicator

This skill is required in every captain. Managing communication inside the team and with the management (here, the coach) while keeping their communication concise is a quality not many people have.

Successful recruiters know the right way to speak to people with shared goals and can adapt to various communication styles. Because so much of our communication is written, top recruiters are skilled at communicating written thoughts without the receiver interpreting their words incorrectly.

 Emotionally Disciplined

“Fire in the belly. Ice in the brain.”

As a role model, the captains must lead by example and meet every expectation they have of their players.

If the captain loses self-control and vents anger or frustration, they will have lost the ability to make rational decisions. Their performance will also suffer a loss, as uncontrolled emotion affects timing, coordination, and the ability to “read” the game.

A recruiter who is emotionally disciplined is naturally effective at controlling and expressing their emotions at the workplace, which is bound to have a healthy impact on the attitudes and behaviours of others around them. This leads to colleagues gaining confidence in their professionalism.

Knows Their Teammates

Captains deal with individuals who are all different in attitude, temperament, and experience. The skipper’s duty is to get to know every player in their team and understand their strengths and weaknesses. The captain needs to know which players are best left alone, which require quiet reminders of expectation and which need a more forceful articulation of what is required. A captain who takes time to get to know their teammates as people, and not just players, will ultimately earn far more respect and effort from them.

Recruiting is a relationship business. You need the desire and skills to build relationships effectively, and a talent or connecting with people. Success for a recruiter depends on the people you know, and how they feel about you.


A self-confident captain inspires confidence in others and helps the team maintain a high calibre of performance. This is easy when things are going well; it is harder, but arguably even more important, to do so when the going gets tough. The captain needs to make sure they at least give the impression of confidence in these circumstances and be on the ball. Looking and acting confident will, sooner or later, lead to being confident.

Successful recruiters have the right combination of confidence, ambition, and personality. Out of all these skills, confidence is what differentiates the excellent from the good.

In the end, whether it’s football or recruitment,

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Happy hiring!


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