Ed Hunter: If Recruitment Were a Sport, Then I’ve Already Lost. (Apparently)

If I were to believe half of the recruitment articles I read on LinkedIn, then I’m doing it all wrong.

Some of the click-bait titles are brilliant:

“5 reasons you’ve been looking at BD all wrong”

“7 things all recruiters need to change NOW”

“How your recruitment business is like the Titanic”

“Hey stupid! Pick up the phone!” (No seriously – that’s a real title)

Are we reading these articles for self-improvement, or are we just displaying our sadomasochistic tendencies? Rarely do I see any articles championing the industry, or championing those crazy enough to inhabit it! Surely there are some things recruiters can do better than anyone else, without being told ‘how to’ by someone who hasn’t placed a candidate in years.

Well thankfully there is!

Never one to let the recruiters of the world down, I have compiled a list of 5 things that we are all great at. Things that you shouldn’t change for anyone.

Time for us to start reading some articles that remind us why we do what we do, and why no one else can! So here you go…

1. Smiling

We’ve all been there.

It’s Friday morning, 8:30am. The bacon sandwich hasn’t had the slightest effect on what could be described as the most lethal hangover since the end of quarter party where you won an award for billing more than ‘Charlie Big Spuds’.

You look at the diary and realise you’ve booked in a great candidate for a face-to-face at 9am. After a quick 5 minutes of self-loathing and running through every stupid decision that got you to this point – you pick yourself up, crawl to the door, and by the time you’re at reception – you’ve got the biggest smile ever sprawled across your face. Even if there is a little bit of bacon stuck between your teeth.

2. Covert Business Development

This is a skill that isn’t taught. It’s something that embeds itself into us from day one in recruitment.

You won’t even notice that you have this skill, but trust me you do! It’s the art of leaving an innocent friend’s birthday drinks/party/BBQ/get-together with 6 new leads, 4 new candidates, 2 first interviews and a temp placement.

When you have this skill, the first question when you meet new people is usually “So what do you do for a living?”. Now depending on their answer, you will either recruit in the sector or know someone who does. This is when you start to dig deeper…you let the sausages burn on the BBQ whilst asking about someone’s salary from five years ago.

Before they know your name they’ve signed up for a job, told you who to headhunt from his team and signed off on two new job mandates at 25%. If this sounds familiar – you are a covert recruitment expert!

…Obviously this all goes out the window when you come out with the dreaded: “I’m a Recruitment Consultant”. Then you instantly become a mortal enemy.

3. Brightening up meetings

So I have worked in a few different offices and have had the fortune to work with some great characters. One of my favourite things about recruiting is that very few of us are really cut out for the corporate world, but we’ve infiltrated it perfectly!

This is why T.M Lewin have half-price suit sales. 

One great example is that everywhere I’ve worked there’s always been ‘meeting games’. Whether it was the time a colleague and I had a meeting where we had to say ‘squirrel’ as many times as we could (to the point where the client signed off their next email with “P.S…. Squirrel”)…

…Or the outrageous coffee game where we took a candidate to Starbucks and had to order the most ridiculous coffee we could imagine… My personal favourite is a Dolce Soy Skinny Latte, Iced, Half Caff, 4 Pump (Sugar free), Cinnamon Venti.  Whilst the looks I got were disturbing, the coffee went down in history in the office, and the candidate didn’t bat an eyelid. 

4. Smashing a week’s worth of KPIs in one day

So it’s Friday – and whilst you’ve been working hard all week, you begin to realise that all of the useful tasks you’ve completed do not count towards your KPI’s. Then you remember there’s a forfeit for anyone who hasn’t hit the minimum, and something clicks in your brain.

At this moment you get “in the zone”. Mild-mannered Tim flies out the window and is replaced by ‘DC comics’ lesser known super hero…. ‘BD Man’. You smash the phones harder than an injury lawyer on an “icy weather warning” day.

By the time 5pm comes you’ve picked up 3 jobs – had 2 arguments with internal recruiters about approaching line managers. You’ve heard the word PSL 34 times and set up 3 meetings with random businesses no one has ever heard of, but who happen to be recruiting.

But most importantly you’ve smashed your KPIs.

5. Recruitment*

*I’d like to apologise for getting all sensible. It’s important that we all love what we do and understand that self-improvement starts at your desk and not on your newsfeed!

Not forgetting most importantly we are great at recruitment! And by and large the most important thing you need to remember is that if you are working in a job you love, for a boss that is consultative and supportive then you are doing the right thing.

There isn’t an article in the world that will turn your quarterly billings from £60k to £120k and if you are feeling like something is going wrong – you need only look around you and ask the right questions to the right people. Nobody needs to be told off by a director they don’t even work for through the medium of LinkedIn Pulse.

A good manager will be able to help turn around your quarter and all you need to do is love what you do… If you don’t, then this isn’t the right game for you in my humble opinion. That is the answer to this recruitment lark!

So put down the “7 things your doing wrong” and ignore the “27 reasons recruiters suck”, and find what works for you and kill it. 

Honourable mention –

6. Drinking

Religion depending recruiters around the world can drink any other profession under the table… Don’t believe me? Well I can be 8 pints in before I even think about telling the new manager that I thought he was a “bit of a prick” when he first joined.

Not forgetting the women of the recruitment world who can cane the champers until France starts to run out and still walk around in heels, rather than have them slung over their shoulder like a bunch of estate agents getting kicked out of Royal Ascot by 3pm. 

Until Next Week…Ed.