Ed Hunter: How To Be Lucky in Recruitment

You don’t get to where I am without a sizeable portion of luck along the way.

“Luck Ed? But you’re the best recruiter in the world?!” you’ll splutter as you struggle to keep down your morning Jäger.

And you’re probably right.

I probably am the best.

But I’m humble enough to accept that despite my millions in the bank, 9/10 mrs, massive house and huge endowment, I have been fortunate too.

But I only realised recently how much luck might have been involved in my success as a recruiter.

So I decided to do a little test.

A test to see how much luck plays a part in my life.

Like with every research paper of mine, this one’s well thought out and rigorously analytic. Basically, I wrote down every decision I made in a day, in order to see whether there was a link.

Here’s the diary of that bang average day.


I wake up in my grandiose bedroom and stretch out across the ample bed. I’m happy to feel the warmth of the sun inviting me into the day. The heat hits my ears, as the rays light up the room.

A short time ago I demolished half my roof, leaving 50% open to the elements.

This morning I’ve woken up dry, so it’s a lucky start to proceedings.


I reach for the glass of water by my bed and replenish my liquids.

Then I flip a coin.

Heads I get up, tails I don’t.

Absolutely no interest in starting the day on the wrong foot.


It’s heads.

I slam one foot on the floor with steadfast assurance, wincing as I hit the wood.

I look over the other side of the bed and become thankful I’ve not picked the side with lego, up-turned plugs and mousetraps, strewn lovingly by my housemate at 3am.


I finish my morning workout, cursing ‘shuffle’ as I hum Wham! Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and dive in the shower.

It’s cold. Almost too cold, but as the temperature’s been chosen by a random number generator I have nothing to blame but luck.

I reach for the shampoo.

Next to me are two unmarked bottles.

One’s Original Source Mint Shower Gel.

The other’s bleach.

As the top layer of skin erodes from my scrotum, I’m thankful I’ve not chosen the bleach.

I brush my teeth with moisturiser after picking the wrong unmarked tube and dry off.

Shower could’ve gone better.


I break out some dice.

I’ll only need one for this decision, and it could make or break the rest of my morning.

1-2 = I walk

3-4 = It’s the blindfold challenge

5-6 = Kayak, which could be tricky as work’s nowhere near water

It’s a one.

I’m off feeling great about the world and my chances of a solid day’s recruiting.


As I enter the office, first again, I decide I’d like this lucky streak to continue, so do what any great recruiter would.

I permanently delete 50% of the database at random.

There’s little to be gained in working with unlucky candidates.


I sit back and daydream about the glorious reception my colleagues will give me whenever they decide to roll in.


I open Word to write another hilarious anecdote for my will.

The missus has been on at me for a while to write one, but I haven’t got past the risqué opening skit yet.

Excerpt: Instruct funeral organist to play “Pop Goes The Weasel” as slowly as possible until congregation is staring at the coffin in dread. Follow with amusing story about that sheep.


My Resourcer bowls in, apparently unaware of the time. His apology seems sincere, but it’s up to the cards whether he stays or not.

I whip out a deck and ask him to close his eyes.

“Pick a card, any card” I smirk. “If it’s red you’re sacked.”


I’ve had a stellar morning interviewing candidates for a tricky role I picked up last night.

Thankfully, after the due diligence I took first thing, everyone I’ve spoken to has been not only strong on paper, but lucky too.


I’ve got a list of ten potential candidates for the role.

All of them are what we call in the industry ‘Dead Certs’.

To test that, I hover over the ‘Send’ button on Outlook and shake the magic 8 ball.

Six make the cut.

The other 4 get deleted from the database.


I call my boss to tell him about the deals from yesterday.

That’s one thing luck won’t affect today. Two placements for the week. Six for the month and I’m flying as usual.

To finish the call I ask him to pick a number out of ten.

He picks four.


Whilst four pints at lunch seems fine on the face of it, I’m glad he didn’t go higher as I’ve got a busy afternoon.

I strut back into the office and call two of the new Grad intake into the boardroom.

“One of you is doing really well. I can really see your effort and I think you’re likely to smash it if you keep on at this level. The other, I’m sorry to say just isn’t cutting it. I think you know which one’s which. But it must improve.”

I’ve never met either of these two before.

But chances are, they either respond to criticism or praise.

If luck’s on their side, they’ll associate with the right one.

I dust off my hands and walk out, knowing I’ve set them on the right path.


After a quick snooze in the toilets I’m feeling nice and refreshed.

I got lunch on the way back and tuck into it with a smile on my face.

You’re assuming I’m lucky to have something I like, but I just went for the usual.

You can’t take chances on the big decisions.


I’ve got an interview happening at 5pm today so I call the candidate to wish him luck.

Right after I put the phone down, I call back ‘number withheld’ and muffle my voice.

“There’s a drunk sniper trained on your front door. If you try to leave the house, you’ll have 3 seconds before he opens fire. Good luck!”

I slam the phone down and smile.

This guy’s not been in work for 2 years so he’s absolutely desperate. The client loves him and it should be a shoo-in. That said, I don’t want him falling out in the rebate.

If he makes it past the sniper to the interview, he’s just the sort of go-getter who’ll keep the fee secure.


I call the client to make sure she’s going in for the interview.

“Yes, despite the accident, the interview’s going ahead. Please have the candidate take the stairs” stutters the terrified receptionist still a little teary.

I’d greased the tracks on one of the client’s two escalators last night, to increase our luck today.

She was obviously one of the lucky ones, so everything’s looking rosy.


I’ve asked my Resourcer to send over some contractor’s CVs to backfill the unfortunate souls from the escalator ‘accident’.

I’ll send over half and start vicious rumours about the others on LinkedIn.

Of course I won’t send over until the dust’s settled, probably some time tomorrow.

I increase the rate slightly for a better margin, but only so they know I’m not pandering to them just to maintain the relationship.

You don’t want to be tarnished as lily-livered.


I send round an email to the team about my two placements from earlier.

“You make your own luck in this game!” it reads, “I’m sick of hearing the same old excuses from the same old people, if you think you’d benefit from some training, please ask”

Anyone who responds I forward on to the boss to be tagged as ‘Liability’.


I notice two Grads get into a car and confidently leave the car park.

I’m pretty sure the breaks I cut were on a red car, but as they speed down the hill, I question it. Liquid lunches really don’t help the memory.

“Pint mate?” reads a text from Phil.

“Sure mate, sounds good.” I respond, remembering not to argue with fate.


As I get home after another successful day at the office, I thank my lucky stars for the breaks I’ve had in life.

I spin the chamber on the revolver and close my eyes.

No point cutting short a decent sleep if you’re gonna wake up unlucky…




I close my eyes hoping for another great day of recruitment tomorrow.

It’s a Friday, my luckiest day of the week.

And that dear friends is how you stay lucky.

Yes, recruitment’s about hard work.

But without a little bit of luck along the way, you won’t get very far.

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