Ed Hunter: How to Get The Rookies Fired Up in 2019

Energising the masses for a day in recruitment is a little like hypnosis. Or maybe one of those tricks you see Derren Brown perform. You know, if they can follow instruction in small things, like simple coercive movements… they may well be suitable for larger manipulation.

Like ripping off the needy, or pushing someone off a building.

You can take this strategy with the fresh intake and gently turn them into great billers. But you need results now. Not after NLP and six months of voodoo magic.

And you can’t get newbies and Grads interested in recruitment by just money alone you know… it’s 2019!

Gen Z don’t want money.

I’d argue this may be an outcome of systematic programming however?

I mean, pay someone f**k all, for long enough and they’re going to start thinking they don’t need money.

“Intern required” reads a job ad. “You’ll have all the banana lattes you can stomach, for working more than the CEO in far more exploitative and demeaning ways.”


But how do you get grads fired up without money?

In my day, a fresh score would do it. Or a big bag of drugs. Paracetamol… Aspirin… Caffeine etc.

A crisp twenty pound note, laid on a desk, ‘for the first person to strip to their boxers.’

“Ed, you’re already in your boxers? What the f…””

To do well in recruitment as a nipper now, you need to be this wound up…

Ed Hunter Angry Woman at Protest

There are a few ways to get this sort of reaction.

I’m going to give you a few now, so your rookies are chomping at the bit to hit those phones.


Go on the offensive

This is a bit of an old classic, but if your Grads are angry with the world before they pick the phone up, no Gatekeeper in the world’s giving them the meeting line.

Sit them in a line.

Now, with strong eye contact, one by one, tell them a truly offensive joke. No holds barred.

If they’re female and have short hair, joke about feminism. If they’re a wide boy with an Essex accent, take the piss out of West Ham. If they’ve got glasses, ask to try them on and instantly recoil pointing out something they’re already well aware of.

“Jesus… how bad’s your eyesight?!”

Then, make a joke about them being snowflakes and constantly offended by good natured ribbing.

If they’re offended at being type cast, add that to the repertoire and go for the jugular.

Start a rumour about each of them, individually

‘Dan is it true you pissed the bed until aged 17?’

‘Steph, I heard something about you on Saturday, not sure whether I should mention it. All I’ll say is… Alpaca and Orgasm?’

Without having to confirm anything, your Grads will feel angry at the world, and empowered to perform.

Pretend not to be woke

Obviously you are woke. You know that. I know it.

Hell, everyone on LinkedIn certainly does from all the diversity and inclusion stuff you post without reading.

You can’t run a *checks notes* recruitment agency, in 2019 without offering 4 days a year ‘protest leave’ and installing individually marked toilets for all 9 genders.

All you need to do to convince your staff you’re not woke, is be yourself for five minutes. Take the phone call you normally take in the boardroom, on the sales floor.

Send the risqué sexist joke to ‘all@’ instead of just your mates from the Recruitment Directors’ Group.

Start a fire

A real fire.

Use something trivial for kindling, like the trousers of any latecomers.

Anyone heading for the exit might as well stay there. Lock the doors.

Anyone trying to put the fire out’s worth keeping.

Anyone still on the phone’s a winner.

Bring in the dogs

By replacing your morning email with a warning the sniffer dogs are headed up, you’ll swap morning frustration for outright terror.

Naturally, the only consultants worrying about this will be the ones with something to hide. So do allay their fears shortly afterwards. But maybe suggest your afternoon catch ups will be attended by your mate at the local constabulary.

Sack someone at random

For this to work really well, you want the reason for the firing to be as arbitrary as possible.

Like wearing snazzier socks than the boss.

Or parting their hair on the wrong side.

Write their names as a list and leave it on a desk

You’ll need to order them of course, but it doesn’t matter what order you choose, they’ll do that for you.

Start the list with someone you think might make it, and then filter the rest in at random.

They’ll naturally assume this is in order of skill.

The ones at the bottom will try to prove you wrong. The ones at the top will try to stay there. 

Of course as it’s 2019 and people take things incredibly literally on the internet these days, I should point out the satirical element to most of these suggestions.

The only fire you want to start at work is in the belly of your new grads.

Until next week, may luck be on your side.