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Patron Saint of Recruiters

At the risk of sounding completely kooky here, I love Saints. I admit it, I do.

Today is the Feast of All Saints in the Roman Catholic Church, so I was feeling a little inspired to write about a topic I've covered and thought about a lot before--getting a Patron Saint.

It’s been popular for a couple millennia to pray to the Saints, and I know some of you are already rolling your eyes. I won’t take time to explain why this is a great practice, others do a much better job.

Then some of you don’t really care because, who prays anyway, right?

Still others may think I’m just silly and Saints are kitschy.

So if I’ve still got your attention, I’ll continue with my proposal.

Recruiters need a Patron Saint.

If you’re a carpenter you’ve got—obviously—St. Joseph. He also takes care of engineers, fathers and more. Job seekers, cancer patients, victims of abuse, mothers, bloggers suffering from writer’s block—yup, they’ve all got one.

But what about us? We search the internet looking for names, profiles, and resumes. We work the phones to find out who knows who, who needs what, and gather intelligence about the competition. We take customers and candidates by the hand and walk them through the stressful process of interviews and job offers with the grace of a diplomat and the tenacity of a terrier until they come together on that glorious START DATE.

I think the Saint we are after is a miracle worker, a fiery preacher, an enemy of tyranny, and a pretty cool and humble Franciscan monk named St. Anthony of Padua. (read more about him here:

Why St. Anthony? Because he helps you find stuff.

Early on in my Catholic existence I learned of St. Anthony. I chuckled at the simpletons who lost their trinket and said, “St. Anthony, come around, something’s lost and must be found.” What a crock, really, I thought.

Then I lost something. I don’t remember what. But at the moment, it was VERY important. So I asked for a little help. Cynics beware: I found the dang thing and thanked my good Saintly brother for his help. And a habit formed.

Fast forward about a decade. Even though I had enjoyed thoroughly a “retirement” consisting of bearing, nursing, diapering, and cuddling four precious babies, I longed to get back to my other vocation: recruiting. So I did what I was used to when I had a life decision ahead of me: I prayed.

Most of the time it was a casual prayer, offered amidst the bustle of constant interruption and mess and chatter that is the life of mom. Dear Lord, maybe I could go back to work? Start a business? Be awesome at recruiting? Please?

I had heard a casual reference to St. Anthony once being a patron of job seekers, and that made sense. (Dear St. Anthony, help me find a job!) And although I haven’t found any “official” statements to back that up—St. Cajetan seems to be the favorite there—I still liked St. Anthony for it. So I got to know him a bit better; read a little on his life, asked for his intercession on my “job search”.

After a while I got to where I would lie awake at night, dreaming, scheming: what would my new career look like? I decided to find out who was the Patron of my chosen profession. I couldn’t find anything. Maybe that’s because Recruiting is one of those nebulous knowledge-worker type jobs that some people don’t even realize is a real career. (Oh, you are an HR nerd? A head-hunter? Hmmmm…not exactly)

Enter St. Anthony again. And this time I meant business. One night, lying the dark, I told him he was mine and I was his. I put my career—whatever it would be—under his able patronage.

So every time I fire up the computer, go to a meeting, approach an interview, I ask him to pray for me. If you are a Recruiter, I think you should too.

And with all the ink and blogspace dedicated to HR/talent/recruiter types trying to figure out how to be happy in your work and make employees happy, I offer the suggestion that is both simple and old:

“You have not because you ask not.” –Jesus Christ

Or perhaps you prefer the more modern, but equally immortal words of MC Hammer:

“We’ve got to pray just to make it today.”

Connect yourself to something bigger than you, bigger than the stresses of this week, bigger than being “engaged” at work, bigger than this impossible search you are currently working on. That something is actually a someone: God. We connect with God through prayer, and sometimes we get a little help when others--especially Saints--pray with us.

And yes, I know I’ll risk the jokes about the lamest forms of Recruiting: Post and Pray. But actually, I do pray about my work.

And I also realize that meeting people at a point in their life when they are considering a life-altering decision to change jobs and maybe even move to a new city, state, or country, is a great and serious responsibility. I love that about my job and I bet you do too.

So join me if you will:

A Prayer for Recruiters

(I wrote this one)

St. Anthony of Padua, pray for me.
Help me find the candidate I am looking for.
Intercede for me that I may help the poor and the distressed.
Give me grace and patience to deal with
Everything that comes my way today.
Help all job seekers to have hope and to find their way.

P.S. Today is the Feast of All Saints (November 1) and hence the inspiration to think about the patronage of the Saints. But St. Anthony of Padua has a feast day on June 13. Take a pilgrimage to a local shrine or Catholic Church dedicated to St. Anthony and say a prayer. Then have a special treat to celebrate!

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