Why I went into recruiting

Editorial Note: Will is one of the most accomplished recruiters in the industry. He has worked for Rosetta Stone, Dell and eBay. When we asked why he chose to go into recruiting he told us that his own personal struggle deciding on a career and how making the right decisions inspired him. Here is his story.

From 2000-2003 I worked for a homebuilder as a sales person. I sat in a trailer home and waited for people to come by to look at our model homes. I sold “to- be- built” homes and SPEC homes (houses already built without an owner). When they bought a “to- be- built” home they would choose from 25-30 floor plans and I would help them pick the lot where they were going to build their house.

There were long days sitting in that trailer. I have never worked as many hours in my career as I did when I worked for the homebuilder. I joke around, but the only days I really had off were Thanksgiving and Christmas. I almost always came in on my “day off”. I would easily put in 60-80 hour weeks. I didn’t want to leave, because I loved the money. I was tied to what most call “the golden handcuffs” and I was miserable.

Some days when I sat in that trailer, I went without seeing a single person. After all, I was mostly dependent on who wanted to come and see me, and if they wanted to buy that day. As most of the world was enjoying New Year’s Day watching football games, I was glued to the trailer. I specifically remember working Easter and Christmas Eve and feeling sick because I was not enjoying life. My friends were becoming distant and relationships were suffering.

I did this for what? Money? Yes. I did this for money. I was the top salesperson in the Austin market. There were 65 sales people. I was given multiple awards, and I bought into the lifestyle hook, line, and sinker. I became so wrapped up in what I was making that I forgot who I was as an individual.

After 3 years I walked away from a large amount of money to do something completely different. In fact, I took a 2/3 pay cut so I could enjoy life again. I remember going to my first football game in years, spending the weekend with my family, and going to Church again. I was happy. Finally!

After this experience, I decided I wanted to help people make better decisions about their careers, unlike the ones I had initially made. When choosing a job or occupation, think about all that is involved. Yes, money is important. You need to make a certain amount to feel comfortable. You need a nest egg. You need benefits. You need to take a vacation from time to time. Beyond that, how much is enough?

Instead consider elements like work-life balance, the ability to learn new skills, how personally satisfying your job is and how much room you have to improve and grow. Don’t get caught up in money like I did. It is not worth it. In the end, you won’t have any of it. The next time you have a chance, just look at the painting “the Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. It says it all. How did these icons lives end? Money and fame meant nothing.


Will Thomson has lived in Austin, Texas his whole life. He is a husband and father of two, and has been in recruitment and sales for 19 years. He has worked for companies such as Aerotek, Balfour, Rainmaker Systems, Dell, eBay, and most recently he has become the Global Sales and Marketing Recruiter for Rosetta Stone. He received his undergraduate from The University of Mississippi, and his Master’s Degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin. He has recruited some of the most sought after talent around the globe, and is a regular blogger for the recruitment industry. He is a featured blogger for recruitingblogs.com and a guest blogger for social-hire.com. You can subscribe to his website at www.wthomsonjr.com, follow him on twitter @wthomsonjr.

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