Ed Hunter: Quotes From ‘A Top Recruiter’

I recently wrote an article that mentioned a TV Show about Recruitment. This is that TV show. And here’s my impartial review. These views are my own and not representative of my industry, any other third party or affiliation close to me. Nor, as they’ve asked me to say, Hunted.

“Some things stand the test of time with elegance and grace” it says in the opening credits of a new show about recruitment. Unfortunately, I fear the show itself won’t be one of them.

With a dizzying view count currently sitting over the 5,000 mark it’s a wonder they’ve kept their hungry public waiting over three weeks for the next instalment.

Especially when you consider the type of secrets being imparted.

Secrets like James Caan’s “When I look at a business opportunity, the first thing that goes through my mind is: does it make commercial sense?” 

In fairness I’ve spoken to James in the past and he did say the opposite was also true. When he looks at a commercial opportunity, it needs to make business sense. So fair’s, fair. 

However James also says, when his dulcet tones echo through my computer screen… “one swallow doesn’t make a summer”. Which means maybe there’s hope for my interest in this series yet.

I’m sure there’s something to be gained from the show, other than mere entertainment? The only thing is, I’m not sure what that something is.

One of the experts on the show, CEO Randy Moore offers a soundbite which starts like it’s going to be profound. Then you realise he’s taken quite a binary analysis to worldwide employment. Which is fine, except it’s incorrect. And… kind of what the show’s about.

“You have a lot of people out of work, or they’re all at work. So the reality is we have to go after them as a human.”

Spot on.

In a way.

Actually, hang on, no, it’s not is it.

The one thing I’m thinking at this point is… why didn’t they get a ‘human’ to do the voice over work? Because whoever they chose for this, sounds like a robot reading a language they’ve not been programmed for.

“But, look. I know this isn’t about me, necessarily. It’s about we” says another suited expert.

I had forgotten that in fairness, but I’m reminded inside nine minutes, just as I’m wondering whether there are any new cliches doing the rounds I’ve not yet heard.

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Day One

Day one brings a change of mood. You can tell this as a viewer, because the soundtrack moves from harrowing, dramatic, elongated notes, where the longer the note, the longer the dread… to brighter, chirpier, quicker notes, played on a good ol’ friendly guitar.

One of the experts is seen outside the chateaux, where the cast will, for some reason, spend their time.

“I was warned to expect champagne, and actually I’m tasting a little drop of that already. And I think I’m going to meet some interesting people, and I’ve met some already.”

But the insights don’t stop there.

“The talent we’re bringing here is unsurmountable.”

And that last point is probably quite true. The people in this series are at the forefront of Recruitment. Which is possibly why it’s all the more bizarre for it to be packed to the rafters with nonsense quotes.

The first third feels like a trailer. A trailer, for the show I’m already watching. I have to double check a number of times I’m not actually watching the trailer. I’m not, but there is one. How’s that different to this? I wonder.

There are, it seems, some people on the show that seem like great Recruiters and potentially have something worth listening to. Those people are, perhaps predictably, the people who are still Recruiters.

Half Way Point

As we steer painstakingly through to the 15 minute mark, we know all about why this show is happening. It’s to change Recruitment. Or at least the perception of it, anyhow.

Yet, I’m not sure how exactly they’re planning on doing this. All I’ve seen so far is the clinking of champagne glasses. The drinking of said champagne. Cliches galore. And people in suits.

Which sounds like… well, recruitment?

Day Two

Day two rolls around. But I’m still none the wiser to the point of the show. I’m guessing by now however it is just entertainment.

Unfortunately, I feel as dead behind the eyes watching it, as the stuffed lion cub, inexplicably lying next to someone’s laptop as they work on… well, again, I’m still not quite sure, what anyone’s working on.

No one’s told me.

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“Most people would want to earn $1m. But most people focus on the $1m and not the ‘earn’…” says another expert, as I’m left wishing I was currently focusing on an urn.

“Top Recruiter continues to be a vehicle that pushes the meter; the measure, of progress, inside of our industry.”

Now, let me say this. Top Recruiter does a lot of things to me. But I’d rather be pushed under the wheels of that vehicle than watch much more.

When asked what they’re looking for, the most bolshy of the Americans offers…

“Most important is the passion. The content of course, but let’s get past the content.”

So, it seems, even they aren’t completely sure what exactly they’re doing in this chateau. Is it possible that an impassioned portrayal of the dead, lifeless lion cub lying on the desk would win the show? Possibly.

An Insight

On the 25 minute mark, Johnny Campbell from Social Talent offers one of the first, if not the first, insights of the show so far.

And that insight’s about a business pitch. Namely, a pitch should be about asking questions and then, getting the client on side

Good stuff. The only issue I have with it, is it’s taken over 25 minutes to be delivered. And so I ponder… have the people in this show been completely shafted by the producers?

Have they all, in fact, offered some top notch advice and insights, only for them to be given the Hollywood treatment? Well, not Hollywood I guess, YouTube treatment? Is that a thing?

It’s hard to tell but my attention is grabbed when I realise the end is nigh. This is it. The moment we’ve all been waiting for.

The moment we learn what this has all been about.

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Or, is this the moment we find out that “it’s hard to soar like an eagle, when you’re flying with pigeons” as another expert willingly picks up the cliche baton.

OK, that’s just an analogy, so let’s not take it at face value. What the purveyor’s saying is… it’s hard to recruit when you have no talons? No, he’s saying… don’t surround yourself with pigeons if you want to be an eagle. No, wait, he’s saying… OK, look, I haven’t got a clue what he’s saying.

Maybe it’s something similar to the next expert who says…

“Certainty, is more dangerous than ignorance. If you have an ignorance; a naivety about you and you’re strong in your own ideas then that’s when real creativity comes.” 

Absolute. Nonsense.

But at least, as someone who likes to think of themselves as fairly creative, it’s pleasing to associate myself with ideals such as ignorance and naivety. The types of ideals one would need to create a show about recruitment which tries to disarm a negative reputation, while shooting itself in the foot repeatedly for over half an hour.

Just when I think it’s all over, more magic comes along when one of the contestants tells us she’s juggling two laptops and a cell phone. Unfortunately the camera moves too quickly to show any actual juggling, but that would have increased my enjoyment.

I can only imagine the amount of champagne doing the rounds after the producers for this show finished the final cut. And I’ll have alcohol on hand myself in order to attempt to get through the next ordeal, sorry, episode.

In case you haven’t seen it, I don’t want to let you miss it. Just please, watch ten seconds and you’ll know why I’ve written this article.

It may not be my last.

Adieu, Ed