In recent weeks and months, I have seen much chatter about recruiters, and how we are ‘not professional’, ‘any man and his dog can recruit’, how we come slightly below parking attendants in a popularity contest etc…
I want to tell you about why, after 12 years, I LOVE what I do for a job.
The term ‘roller-coaster of recruitment’ is used a lot, with good reason. I have had major lows, which have been quickly (or sometimes slowly) over-shadowed by the huge highs that arise from finding the perfect (I know, I know, no-one is perfect) candidate for the client who has entrusted me to find who they need, not to just fit the skill-set they are looking for, but the fine-tuning of finding the right fit for that particular team. The high from the candidates who come looking for a new role, to then find them the exact antithesis of the job they hate, into a role and business which fits their exact(ish) needs.
Recruitment is tough. Candidates sometimes withdraw at the 11th hour for many reasons including genuine tragedy in the family, uncontrollable external factors, or in some cases either fear, or lack of confidence.
I personally try to help in terms of interview coaching, made somewhat easier in having met, or if logistics don’t allow it, at least Face-time or Skyped, to understand the candidate and their strengths and areas for development within an interview situation. Even then, a job offer does not always result in acceptance. In one case recently, a candidate just ‘wasn’t feeling it’, which, whilst disappointing after the hours spent on phone calls, meetings and coaching, I had to respect. At the end of the day, it’s not my life – changing jobs is a huge step and ‘not feeling it’ says that something in their heart,meant it was the wrong move. Who am I to judge? Of course it affects me personally, I have targets to meet like anyone else, but better that than a candidate starting and leaving within a short space of time – not good for any of us.
From the client side, there is nothing more gratifying, when a client takes the time out of their day to meet me, puts their trust in me to give them my every effort to find them the person they are looking for. Sometimes I am in competition with other recruiters, and just miss the perfect candidate. That’s tough. Most often, clients will honour me with exclusivity for a position, ensuring my undivided attention in trying (and I emphasise trying) to find the right man or woman to fit into their team. It is clearly not an exact science, but I will do everything I can to find that ideal person.
Equally, I have had ‘clients’ who have instructed me on a role, for me to send a CV in good faith, to then approach the candidate directly or through a favoured agency (which, generally speaking, is reported back to me as I’ve taken the time to get to know the candidate and had their permission to submit in the first place). This is not representative of the whole market, but a small minority. So I’m not going to bash clients. I just ask that clients who engage with ANY agency, try to understand the amount of work that goes into getting the CV to them. True, there will be some misguided or unwitting (generally not having had the training) consultants who may deliberately or accidentally spam, but don’t let that colour your judgement about all agencies and consultants.
So what do I love about this? I love getting to know people, finding out what makes them tick, understanding their needs and ultimately, the sheer, undiluted happiness in finding the right job for the right candidate, the right candidate for the right client and in turn, their pleasure in the same.
Recently, I was awarded a retained search, to find a candidate that my client had been looking for a year for. I had a long-list of 100+ candidates plus perhaps 30 or so who had already been through the process, shortlisted to 20 or so and interviewed a further handful as well as reference checking. My client didn’t see all of the work that went into it, the hours we (I say we as I was brilliantly supported by my resourcer) spent searching, calling, screening, interviewing etc. Amongst those, I found the one perfect candidate. Correct experience, attitude and fit – that’s what my client saw. One candidate. So for those who believe recruitment is a case of ‘flinging out CV’s and seeing what will stick’ perhaps that is what you see on the surface, it’s the iceberg underneath that you’re missing.
Oh, and the candidate who was desperately unhappy and undervalued in his former role, is now in a job that he loves and the client has someone already fitting in and being everything they hoped for.
This is why I love my job.