The Recruiter's Soapbox

control ro sell - house sold sign

Finding Out What It Feels Like To “Sit On The Other Side Of The Table”

They say that up there in the top 10 things to cause major stress are moving house and changing jobs.

Recently I went through the process of selling my house and learnt several things about myself along the way. For most people, I’m told, the stress of selling comes from a disruption of routine, dressing the house to sell and having to live in “show room conditions” for 5 weeks. All of that was fine for me: I just needed to work hard, put in some extra effort and be super organised; it had me written all over it.

The stressful part was the lack of control. 

Once the house was in tip top condition, I had to hand the reigns over to a realtor and that’s when I started to struggle with the process. Myself and many recruiters like me are good at what we do because we know how to control a process, we know our subject matter and markets inside out. We are sales people, marketers, social media gurus, influencers, and negotiators and we thrive when we are in control of the process. Selling your house through a real estate agent, means handing the control over all these elements to another sales person and what I found was that I was not very good at “letting go of the reins”. I had my own views on how to market the property, how to speak to potential buyers, the selling points of the house and how to close the deal.  In short, I wanted to do her job.  I wanted to control the sales process and in hindsight I can admit, I must have been a nightmare vendor.

Putting this into the context of recruitment, and in particular working with a rec2rec, it took a while for the penny to drop… and then I realised, this must be what my candidates feel like when they come to me and find themselves “sitting on the other side of the table”. I’ve lost count of how many recruiters I have attempted to interview, but they just couldn’t let me. They struggled to adapt to being the interviewee for a change. They had to try and control the conversation, meaning that I did not get the information I needed to present them properly.

When you have done something for so long you find yourself operating in a comfort zone. I realised that I have forgotten what it is like to hand over the reins to a fellow sales person.  I have forgotten that this can be an unsettling, nerve racking and stressful experience and that as a sales person yourself, it can be hard to let go of the control we so love.

My friends asked me what I learnt from selling my house and as I thought about it I realised that so much of what I took away from this experience is totally applicable to recruitment.

  1. I could not have gotten through this process without trusting my realtor. Ultimately, we did have disagreements/differing opinions through the 5 week campaign, but it was the fact that I felt she was being honest with me at all times that got us through these bumpy patches. As a recruiter, if you have not earned the trust of your candidate, how on earth can you expect them to take on your advice or believe a word you say?


  1. Selling my house was an emotional process for me, not just a transaction. I was emotionally invested; this was the first house I had ever owned, my 3 children were all born here, and my husband and I had renovated it to a level that worked like a dream for our family. I think sometimes as recruiters we can forget: Changing jobs and/or careers is not a transaction. The way that our industry operates means that we can get too caught up with leader boards, commission cheques and targets. Always remember that this is someone’s life, livelihood, and family that we are affecting. This is no transaction.


  1. My real estate agent is, most definitely, a sector expert. Ultimately her knowledge, expertise and experience came through in spades. She didn’t just have opinions or sales pitches.  Everything was backed up with facts, data, and examples from her experience. She knew more about selling a house in this suburb than I did, which gave me the confidence to put the process in her hands. As a recruiter if you can prove that you are the expert in your space, even the most discerning candidate will feel comfortable putting their career in your hands.


To sum up, I was working with a highly experienced, honest real estate agent with high levels of expertise and I still found the process hard. I have no doubt in my mind that faced with anyone not demonstrating these qualities the process would have broken down and I would have severed ties. These same qualities are what we need to see more of in the recruitment industry if we want our candidates to take us seriously and have the confidence to relinquish the control and put their careers in our hands.