Ed Hunter: Appraisal Day

I’ve always found it important an annual appraisal is arranged swiftly after the previous year’s finished. As a sign of how much my management and I think alike, ours were arranged for February.

I wasn’t top biller last year, but I did pretty well. Others in my office, didn’t. So emotions were running high from the get go.

There’s a list of names being bandied around between Carl and I. On it are: criers, leavers, arguments and sackings.

Here’s how it went down…

(Names, events and facts have been altered)

7.55 – I’m early this morning. I outperformed Charlie last year even after his constant lead until the end. If it wasn’t for his terrible ‘banter’ all year I wouldn’t be bothered. But I am. Being here before him today means I can get another one over on him.

8.00 – The MD walks in and notices I’m already on the phone. Yes, it’s an internal call to Carl discussing the impending bets, but a feigned smile and thumbs up makes the MD think otherwise. Plan’s started swimmingly. 

I’ve got Charlie down for an argument on the list.

8.05 – Charlie then rushes in. Apparently he got caught in the rain. Gutted. I audibly put the phone down and wish him a good afternoon so the MD and him can hear.

“Afternoon Charlie. Early bird catches the worm mate!”

“Second mouse gets the cheese Ed.” He winces. He’s such a knob.

I’m not this petty to anyone else, but this guy deserves it. I’ve started this morning 2 – 0 up and he’s rattled.  

8.30 – My first appraisal of the day. My immediate Manager notions towards the boardroom. I know how this is going to pan out. A quick well done. More of the same. Sh*t analogy about football  – which he knows nothing about. Few recruitment cliches. On with the day.

He doesn’t disappoint.

“Think about the recruitment funnel” he offers… again. Where does he get this nonsense?!

“Seriously though, well done last year. More of the same this year, yeah?” “Just make sure you don’t do a Leeds.”

“Leeds United or City?” I prod. He nervously exhales and changes topic. I smile to myself.

I leave the boardroom 25 minutes later than planned after I ask whether I’m ‘living the brand values’ enough just for a laugh.

9.30 – Samantha goes in for her review. Samantha’s a great biller (and probably ‘the one’ too) but she does NOT take criticism well. Even the most constructive of criticisms can draw a tear. The boardroom has glass walls so she cleverly positions herself, back to the wall.

It’s not her first rodeo. 

I’ve upped the bet to 20 notes with Carl there’s tears before the end. He takes it. Carl’s not a great gambler. She did have a great 2016 by all accounts, but it’s not my first rodeo either.

The money’s mine 15 minutes in, when heads go into hands and her Manager goes bright red. He’s as delicate as an elephant but it’s a win for me as I’ll use this as collateral to chivalrously and opportunistically buy her lunch. Courtesy of Carl.

10.30 – It’s Ross’s turn.He’s the new Researcher and only started in October, meaning he’s very green.

We’ve all been on the wind up for the last month asking what he billed last year.

“No one’s taken this long to do their first deal” quips Carl.

“Sean did” I respond “but he did get the boot at his first review.”

Ross is nervous. Very nervous. I feel bad for telling him the MD doesn’t like nervous people and will be able to smell it on him.

Unbeknown to us, he’s typed out his resignation and goes in ready to pick up the tears Samantha left behind.

We all feel quite bad and a glare from the MD doesn’t bode well for my chat later. Ross comes out smiling however. Luckily he’s seen the funny side, as we’ve packed up his desk and left everything in a box ready for his departure.

I tell him to “get back on the phone” to break the awkwardness. We all laugh. Apart from Charlie.


11.30 – It’s time for my chat with the MD. The man whose opinion I actually care about. He says “well done”.

We chat about everything other than recruitment including asking my thoughts on the ‘club trip’ this year. I suggest his yacht. He says he’ll consider it. He won’t. But it’s nice to be asked.

He apologises about my immediate Managers use of irrelevant cliches insisting he was a great biller. “Was” I think to myself. We have a chuckle and wrap up.

12.30 – Quick stop at Samantha’s desk to discuss how sh*t the Manager is. I make a joke about him only wearing loafers being “because he’d struggle to manage laces.” She loves it.

I then get over excited and my joke about “al desco dining” crashes. Idiot. Know when to quit.

14.30 – Interviews are going well. One’s in the bag and there’s still a chance they’ll take two.

15.30 – Charlie walks past my desk to the boardroom. I feel a sudden shred of guilt until he scowls in my direction.

He’s carrying his notepad and an impending sense of doom. Excellent.

Could he be a leaver? Carl bets me a tenner he goes. Carl’s a sh*t gambler. I take it. It won’t be today if he goes, he’s waiting on a big paycheque.

16.45 – Looks like it’s been a long one for old Charlie. I send a candidate I know he’s already seen as a peace maker.

He doesn’t look happy but replies “thx”… Couldn’t even be bothered with the full word. Knob.

With my start I’m likely to beat him this year but me being a nice guy will annoy him much more.

I make that 4-0.

17.00 – After a brief time daydreaming about life as a professional gambler it’s time for me to do my own appraising.

Just the one Researcher for me this year as half of my team (the other one) left. I promise Jon I won’t be a sh*t Manager or ever drop in a cliche for the sake of it and everyone’s happy.

I then tell him “the phone won’t dial itself.” He misses the irony and hurriedly picks up the phone. Jon won’t last.

17.30 – The interviewing client calls in. He’s taking both candidates and asks if I have anyone similar.

“Of course I do” I reply loudly. “I’ve been telling you I’m a specialist for three years.” He laughs and tells me to stop wasting time and get on the phone. Great client.

17.45 – Pat on the back from the MD. Beers are suggested, and as it’s a Tuesday, I agree.

Charlie can’t make it, he’s “pulling a latey.”

5-0 friend.

18.30 – Carl joins the boss and I at the local. It’s all recruitment chatter until I remind everyone we all hate talking about recruitment.

Carl puts on his best Scottish accent and dials ‘caller withheld’ for Charlie.

“Alreet pal? Aye I need three Ruby developers fae a wee 6 month contract. 9am start yeah? Yer the only one who’s picked up the phone so ye got these exclusive. Dinnae worry about rate, just get ’em ‘ere.”

Apparently Carl’s uncle is Glaswegian. Who knew.

We’ll cancel via text in about 25 minutes. But until then it’s all smiles and back to recruitment chat. Obviously. 


20.45 – I walk through my front door and appraise my own day.

“Probably 8/10” I think, until I realise we forgot to send the cancellation text to Charlie.

I’ll up it to a 9.

Wonder how he’s getting on…