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Are You A Narcissist?

By July 7, 20169 Comments

Last weekend, whilst sailing in the Waitematā Harbour, I met John, a child psychologist. Perhaps surprisingly, this was a social occasion and not an intervention organised by my worried parents. I, being a recruiter, found out his profession before we’d even got out of the marina. John, being a psychologist, had me talking about my “overly playful” uncle before we’d rigged the mainsail. After sobbing uncontrollably over my premature loss of innocence for fifteen minutes,  John asked me what type of person “makes it” in the recruitment world.

It’s a question those in the Rec-to-Rec industry should be able to answer succinctly. I went for the obvious first;

“Resilience. Yep. Gotta be resilient in this game. Tenacity. There’s another one. Curious. Hard working. Confident. Even when you’re clueless, you’ve gotta be confident. Oh, and competitive. Your ego has to be far too inflated to even entertain the thought that a competitor can fill a role before you can”.

We then continued to talk about the time Dad forgot my seventh birthday. I wanted some walkie-talkies…

This coincides with a Herald article flicked my way earlier this week. According to research by the University of Auckland, Kiwis, unsurprisingly, are largely an ego-free bunch, with only one in ten of us displaying “traits which could be considered narcissistic”. To the home-schooled among us, according to Psychology Today, narcissism is described as follows:

“Narcissism involves cockiness, manipulativeness, selfishness, power motives, and vanity-a love of mirrors. Related personality traits include: Psychopathy, Machiavellianism. Narcissists tend to have high self-esteem.”

I think, in part at least, they’ve just described almost every high-billing recruiter I’ve ever met. I myself, although barely scratching the billings that many Whiteboard readers enjoy, have been described by at least one ex-girlfriend as a narcissist. *This has since been downgraded to sociopath I should add.

Thankfully, like click-bait on LinkedIn and chlamydia in Hamilton, we came across an easy-to-share quiz…

Interestingly, we’ve had a real mix of scores in the office. Your usual blogger, a man who named a business after himself and insists on ramming his recruitment musings down your throat each Friday, scored a mere 17 out of 40. Only slightly above “normal”. Myself, well I managed 27 out of 40. A figure which makes me more dangerous than a convicted sex offender but mildly safer than an estate agent. A happy medium.


I encourage you to take the quiz and put your score in the comments below. It’s anonymous (to the rest of the world at least), and will kill at least five minutes on a day when clients won’t return your call. I’ll draw a line in the sand a say that collectively, as an industry, we’ll score higher than average. And that’s a good thing. Maintaining a high self-esteem whilst taking what sometimes feels like a constant barrage of knock-backs can only be commended. A feeling of self-importance has some merit. We are important. Not least to the hundreds of people we place in great jobs each year.

So take the quiz and post below. I would say don’t beat yourself up over the result, but I’m sure you’re all to egotistical to even care. 😉