Becoming the Top Gun in Recruitment: 8 Philosophies from Zensho Agency Founder, Robin Doenicke

“Recruitment is a number’s game. It’s a contact sport. I know people will say otherwise, but I believe this is self-evident. The more clients you connect with and the more candidates you meet, the greater the likelihood of success.”

Robin Doenicke
Founder, Zensho Agency
Recruitment philosophies


Most recruiters fail.

Some recruiters earn enough to get by.

And only a tiny percentage of recruiters truly thrive.

I’ve studied the mechanics of success for many years. I’ve been curious to explore why some people succeed whereas others, who are equally capable and intelligent, don’t. The catch is successful people do things differently.

I have noticed several ethical, charismatic people with high integrity, strong presentation skills, and superior knowledge struggle as recruiters.

So, what does it really take to succeed in recruitment? Let’s begin with three fundamental truths.

  1. What you do
  2. What you can leverage
  3. Luck (no kidding)

What you do is pretty straightforward. It’s the attitude you bring to the game; your actions and initiative; and the mental lens through which you interpret your world. If 20% of what you do gives you 80% of your results, have you clearly identified what that 20% should be?

What you leverage is your and your firm’s reputation in the market. It’s your experience, network, and niche coupled with your agency’s collective performance history.

You can’t build leverage when you’re recreating yourself and your network with every new search you take on. Pick one area of focus, go deep, and let it be known that when it comes to talent acquisition in that sector, you are the person to contact.

Aside from the obvious, Luck includes the current health and vitality of the market: the economical-political landscape, social fabric, and regulatory environment.

If any two of these three things (i.e., action, leverage, or luck) are present at any given time, you stack the cards in your favor and stand a greater chance of succeeding while recruiting.

8 Primary Philosophies You Need to Stick to for Success in Recruitment


1. Urgency

Wait too long, and you’ll miss the boat.

The need to act now is significant. I’ll give a quick example. Let’s say a candidate gets selected by your hiring manager, but you make them wait for 7-8 days before emailing the job offer letter. It will not just create a negative candidate experience, but at the same time, you’re opening the door for your candidate to accept other counter offers. There’s a high chance you’ll end up losing them to your competition.

2. Persuasion

Persuasion is not a dirty word. I persuade my kids every day to brush their teeth at night, go to bed early, and eat their veggies. In business, it is the ability to inspire positive action on the part of the customer because you genuinely believe it to be in their best interest.

Most customers you engage with might not have yet opened their minds to the potential of what you are offering. Your ability to persuade will make all the difference in getting the right person open to the right opportunity at the correct time.

3. Resilience

Perhaps the most important thing we need in this post-pandemic world is the ability to move forward regardless of the circumstances.

Recruiters need to develop a strong sense of perseverance, grit, and an attitude of expansion rather than retreat. This isn’t the time to withdraw into the self-imposed cave of fear.

The market needs your talent now more than ever. You will have failures and setbacks. We all do. That’s part of the game, but it’s also the part that drives us forward. Remember, there’s no comfort in the growth zone and no growth in the comfort zone when it comes to recruitment.

4. Capacity


Recruitment is a numbers game. It’s a contact sport. I know people will say otherwise, but I believe this is self-evident. The more clients you connect with and the more candidates you meet, the greater the likelihood of success.

Of course, the idea is that you secure a few clients that consistently have multiple hiring needs so that your cash flow remains consistent. But, until you find such clients, you will need to engage in business development with several potential customers skillfully.

5. Presence

Most of us spend way too much time stuck in analysis, thought projection, and scenario building. Let go of expectations, and don’t be anchored to your recruitment process unfolding in a particular way.

6. Belief

If you believe success or massive revenue is for other recruiters and not for you, then guess what? You’ll find ways to make that belief come true. As the saying goes, ‘whether you think you can or you can’t, either way, you’re right.’

Be a visionary. See yourself achieving your goal. Believe it’s possible for you and take massive action to make it happen.

7. Henka

Henka (a Japanese word) translates to continuous change.

What recruiters know for certain is that nothing remains constant.

The more you’re able to peel off the layers of conditioning that have kept you locked inside the self-authored narrative of your life, the greater chance you stand of realizing the power you possess. Success as a recruiter can only happen in this ever-unfolding now.

8. Zensho

Coined by the famous Japanese warrior and philosopher Yamaoka Tesshu, Zensho means to live entirely with every ounce of one’s strength in the present moment.

To live completely is to engage with life fully, here and now. Discover your why. Because once you do, you’ll discover all the motivation you need to keep pressing towards realizing your goals.

Recruiters don’t usually get several chances. Now go and make it count.

Happy recruiting!


Robin Doenicke

Robin is the Founder & CEO of Zensho Agency, a multinational corporation and one of Japan’s most highly awarded and innovative recruitment firms.

Zensho, which means “whole life,” reflects Robin’s belief that life should be lived holistically with purpose, passion, and presence. He recognizes that connections can change lives, and his mission is to fulfill his ‘why’ by helping others fulfill theirs. He’s also a martial artist, breathwork, and mindfulness teacher and an executive coach who seeks to transform the lives of those he serves. He has lived in Japan for over 25 years.


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