The Coach Recruiter

Last year I contributed to a feature in the Irish Times Saturday magazine titled ‘How to Change your Life’. My piece (linked here) was on coaching, how I help clients create awareness around what needs to change for them, to understand what’s getting in their way and to help them take meaningful steps to get to where to where they want to go. At the core of all our decision-making is choice.

During the piece Una Mullally, the feature writer, asked ‘so! are you more of a Life Coach or a Career Coach?’ A fair question, as I work for HR Search, a specialised Human Resources recruitment company, but I am also a qualified and practising personal coach. For anyone who has trained to be a Coach and passionately embraces coaching, they will recognise the truth in my answer, I said that “recruiting is what I do, being a Coach is who I am”. Coaching is integrated into how I do everything.


“Recruiting is what I do, being a Coach is who I am”


As a supportive mechanism, to help people forward in their lives, personal coaching is now widely accessed. Executive and job performance coaching has been a norm in the corporate world for some time and in-house coaching practice is growing in the SME and public sectors. One place that you don’t see a lot of coaching practice, is in the recruitment area. It tends to weigh more on the transactional side by its nature and model. However, to my coaching mindset, it is where coaching can add amazing value. For me, the great thing about recruiting is that I get to meet people every day who are looking for support, in making a big change. Whether it is a progressive career move, a career change of direction or through unforeseen circumstances, candidates find themselves in the job market.

Recruitment seems straight forward, right? and in a lot of cases it is, we match the candidate with the client opportunities available and find the right skills and cultural fit for our clients, while managing the process to a successful hire. Where being a Coach really kicks in, is when the candidate finds themselves stuck. They find themselves in a situation where their confidence has been diminished. There is a myriad of situations that can cause this dip in self-esteem, such as the negative impact of a poor manager, bullying, ageism or a toxic work culture. Sometimes on the back of a company restructure, the candidate has been made redundant and finds it hard to move on and find their next role. They can find it difficult to redefine themselves (often after spending over 15 years plus, identifying with one organisation and being defined by that job). It could be, that on a personal level, something has changed, the career path the candidate has taken is no longer one that fulfills them. The only problem is, they don’t know where they can go, they feel stuck.

There are countless push and pull factors, but you get my drift? Below the surface of every cv we receive, is a change story. In the main, most candidates have already managed that change process for themselves and they have clarity of purpose, they know what they want, they are ready to interview and get the next job of their dreams. I partner with these candidates daily, place them in great companies and I love it. Some candidates need a little extra support in finding that clarity and the coaching mindset in a coaching recruiter recognises that. The coaching recruiter is prepared to be that companion on the career path and take the time with the candidate to transition them through the job finding stage, Coach them through the interview process and champion them through to a new position in a company which matches their values and where they can thrive.

Candidates know when you are in their corner, they know when you are interested in their success. When you share this trust in recruitment, you get permission to give honest feedback, through which, the candidate is enabled to perform better in the subsequent interviews. Ultimately, you get the candidate to go where they need to get to and when they get there, they are successful…the client is happy, and the hiring project has been a success and a worthwhile partnership all the way through.

Now that for me is Coach Recruiting.

Niamh Kennelly is a specialist HR Recruiter for HR Search