Qualithoughts by: Kristine Nañagas, Q2 HR Solutions, Former Senior Recruitment Consultant

Power is a concept that has been subjected to various interpretations and meaning – making. For author Robert Greene, power is strategy. His bestseller 48 Laws of Power echoed Machiavellian principles on how to achieve power within the political or corporate arena. He spoke of ways on how the ambitious can covertly attain the favor of the powerful and of the public through deceit and pretension. For warlords, power is combative force. Through physical coercion, the conqueror instills fear in the hearts of those he has conquered, compelling them to follow his every demand. For the believers of the paranormal, power is mystical and out-worldly. Power, for them, may mean possession of extraordinary and superhuman capabilities like levitation, controlling nature or shape-shifting. Although individuals and societies perceive power differently, it has one characteristic that remains omnipresent amid the variety of meanings and definitions. That is to have power is to influence, may it be through physical force, intellect, charisma or magic.

In the realm of talent acquisition, power is responsibility. I am not defining it as such to boost the image of recruiters or headhunters. It is because the recruiter’s power, as manifested in her ability to influence and persuade others to leave one’s comfort zone and embark on a different career, can either improve or jeopardize the living conditions of the people who are at the receiving end of this power – the candidates. The recruiter’s power is inherent in her job because candidates readily entrust their careers in her hands. She does not ask for it. This power is given to her. Her power is the type that sprang from the needs of others. People who wish to better their careers and financial standing seek the recruiter because her opinions matter. Her advice and influence in the candidate’s decision have the potential to make or break the latter’s professional life.

The recruiter’s power is a responsibility because it requires exercising one’s influence conscientiously, and it entails working while keeping other people’s well-being in mind. Candidates, regardless of job level, confide in her during the most important stages in hiring such as salary negotiation, job acceptance and job offer contract signing. The influence of the recruiter in the lives of her candidates is immense as it extends to the lives of her candidates’ families and friends. The families may either enjoy the rewards of the candidates’ new job or suffer the emotional and financial repercussions in the event of employer – job – candidate mismatch. Her influence then can be detrimental if used recklessly and inappropriately. However, it is only through genuine concern for others can a recruiter fully realise this power. It is when candidates show their gratitude and joy in landing a new job that makes a recruiter appreciate the value of the power she possesses. Only when the recruiter has changed the lives of her candidates positively can she truly be considered powerful. And so in the our little world called recruitment, power; despite its numerous meanings and forms, is a power defined and shaped by responsibility and unwavering concern for others.