Recruitment’s a doddle these days. It’s easier. Less stressful. Healthier. Back in my day life was better. Don’t ask me how, it just was.
Millennials. Eurrrghh… Wasters. The lot of them. Coming in here, demanding benefits. Wanting to be mentally healthy as well as physically. Looking at the future with blind optimism, despite the overwhelmingly shit situation they’ve inherited.
“Ooohhh I’ve got loads of debt because I’m an idiot and took the decision to knowingly pay £30k for University. I just want some free fruit so I can reach age 130 and buy my own house. #sickfam #lol #yolo”
When I was their age recruiters were recruiters. And clients were thankful for it. Proper recruiters. Not your namby pamby, johnny-come-lightly, we love Europe, left-wing commy turncoats you see nowadays.
Know where I learnt negotiation? On the streets. That’s where.
It’s easy to get a cab with a phone nowadays. Try haggling with a 6’7 brick sh*t house to get 8 people in an illegal cab from a warehouse rave in Southwark back to your flat in Dalston. For a tenner. At 6am.
“Yeah? Well that guy over there said he’d do it for £9, but he’s got a wooden stool instead of a passenger seat. So if we can use your boot, you’ve got yourself a deal.”
“OK, but duck if you see the pigs.”
“Not sure we’ll go past any farms in central London mate but yeah, no probs.”
That’s negotiation. And probably why I’m still incredibly good at locking clients in for that extra 1%. Which might not sound like a lot, but you have to remember, that’s the cost of 4 illegal cabs nowadays. Or 7 Ubers.
LinkedIn’s great. It means you can stalk people online you want to
date recruit. One of the best things is, if you look at their profile, they know you’ve looked at it.
In the past, this was a little trickier.
There was simply no replacement for the one ‘eyebrow raised’ smugness of getting the right contact on a Rolodex first time.
Or having systematically run through the Yellow Pages for businesses in the local area finding one that hadn’t heard of you, or had but was so desperate they’d give you a chance, despite your reputation.
To effectively stalk back in the day, in the same way you can now, you’d actually have to be bad at stalking. Using binoculars when someone was in plain sight. Leaving a little calling card perhaps.
“Hey you, it’s me. Look left. Wanna job? No? How about a drink?”
You kids don’t know how easy you’ve got it.
OK, so you’re lost on a street in London on the way to a client meeting. It happens on virtually every meeting I go to.
Just stop and ponder what would happen without Google maps.
I’ll tell you. You’d memorise street names, and probably the step-by-step directions from an A to Z in the office. Lost? Course you are. So ask a local cabbie where to go. Their response is never “Sorry, not sure mate.”
Their response is ALWAYS the most confusing answer they can think up.
“Oh yeah, I know it. Go down Lattimer Avenue and you’ll see three street signs on the left. One of them’s got a chip in it from when it was hit by a lorry in 87. That was a scene I can tell ya. Anyway, look, don’t take the 2nd right turn, take the 4th. At the end of that road, it forks. Head down there next to the cycle lane and it’s the building just behind the bus stop. You won’t see the door from the street.”
You’d walk off, with a semi-determined, semi-hesitant hop knowing full well you’re not going to make that meeting on time.
You’d even hear the cabbie laugh as you left. Would you bring them up on it? No, otherwise you’d acknowledge their better grasp of geography and higher social standing. Uber’s really the comeuppance they’ve been due for quite some time.
If you’re late to meet a client these days, a quick WhatsApp or email will stop any ill-feeling. Shit happens. And in London, even with the aid of Google Maps, shit happens on most journeys… tube drivers must hold more ‘members’ of the public at red lights than geriatric sex workers in Amsterdam.
What happened before WhatsApp?
Before WhatsApp, you’d just have to leave someone hanging for a good half an hour. All the while they got progressively more angry. You’d then enter the meeting hot, sweaty, out of breath, dishevelled and without possession of a decent excuse.
If meeting outside an office, they’d leave before you’d arrive and you’d have to play the ‘are they late or have they already left’ game. The answer to which you only find out back in the office.
Yeah. They left.
You have a good rapport with a client. They sound hot. A quick check of Facebook confirms it. Now just look at their LinkedIn profile to let them know you’re thinking about them and send an email that casually moves into a personal convo. End it with an emoji and you’re in.
Before emojis however, things were… different.
Firstly, without social media, you’d have no idea whether they were good looking in the first place. The old recruitment term “hot on the phone, add two stone” was as true a testimony as anything spoken before or since. Also have you ever tried to sound flirty in an email without the use of small pictures?
Do you go Haha? Or Lol? Can’t send Lol. An x? Bit much.
Oh sod it I’ll just call her. Dammit. Gatekeeper.
“Any message? Urrrrhh, nah just ask her to call me back before she opens that email. Thanks.”
Anyone of a certain age will be familiar with the term ‘send nudes’. And (apparently) sending the odd risqué image is incredibly commonplace nowadays. So given the level of etiquette on show in most recruitment agencies, it’s safe to say this is a large part of your working week.
Whether that’s your mate Dan sending you some weird sh*t including a goat or your latest mirror photoshoot you’re sending to your hot colleague who definitely isn’t forwarding it to all of her mates.
Back in the day? Not so easy my friend…
You’d be putting your naked arse on the photocopier and leaving it in someone’s drawer or faxing it across, being careful to type in the exact number and hoping no one comes over as it’s half way through sending.
“Oh no wait, that’s a 3 at the end, not an 8. Let’s hope the person with that number doesn’t mind a bit of cheek.”
I don’t know what it is about ‘vapes’ that’s driven the world crazy for more vapour. Loads and loads of vapour. People who didn’t smoke previously now walk down the road with an undeserved swagger showing off their ability to breathe.
You then walk into an inescapable plume of strawberry f*cking cheesecake that envelopes your lungs and coats your very soul in a purply hue. This is annoying for two reasons, one… you’re visibly breathing in someone else’s vapour. It’s a lot more intrusive when you can see a it leave their mouth and enter yours. Someone who probably walks two feet in front of you, for a good ten minutes unaware they’re the most annoying person on the planet. Secondly, and also, more annoyingly, it kind of smells quite nice.
In the olden days, it wasn’t vapour. And it wasn’t outside.
You’d be passive smoking 60 Rothmans a day from your stress-head boss, sat on the same desk.
“Look I know you’re stressed mate, we can all feel it. But my lungs are kind of giving up on me. I don’t mind this job, but honestly I think I might be in serious danger of developing lung cancer. The stress of which, kind of makes me want a cigarette.”
Ahhhhh the all-expenses-paid trips to Ibiza for a right royal tear up. The only thing that’s definitely not happening on these, is the taking of any ‘extra-curricular’ toxin or anaesthetic. That doesn’t happen. Anything else goes.
This however is a new thing. It’s a good thing too. You never really know someone until you’ve been leathered together. And the subsequent suffering is a fate better shared.
Before Ibiza was a thing, Recruiters letting their hair down looked different.
You’d have an hour off on a Friday, to lose your own money at the dogs followed by a fight in the car park and £90 black cab home. Or the boss would perhaps suggest moving on to a ‘sports club’ where you could lose yet more of your own money watching puppies of a different kind.
Thank god for technology huh.
Keep it real folks.
a Millennial Recruiter.
Senior Consultant/Mentor (f/m/d) at Austin Fraser & Austin Vita
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