Ed Hunter: The Kids Are Alright

I’m going to start this article with a bit of honesty and a slight reveal over my true identity. Last week I published an article slating Millennials and some people didn’t get it.

“Here’s another oldie having a go at the kids” they assumed.

So lets set the record straight… I’m going to give you a clue over who I really am…

Brace yourselves…

I’m…

Oh God I can’t type it.

I’m…

a Millennial.

But, just to reiterate  ‘What Really Twists My Tail’, from this week, that tag is completely f**king irrelevant. It means nothing. It doesn’t mean I’m fluent in emoji to Ancient Egyptian standards. Nor does it mean my vocab’s solely slang, portrayed through mumbles, memes and hashtags. There are plenty of people, older than me, who produce bare dank memes and j-holin noise #getme #realtalk.

These are just tags that let people judge others before they know them. Like using skin colour, gender, nationality, language or the fact someone wears a shiny purple shirt and black tie to the office.

OK, to be fair, that last one is justified. Stop doing that whoever you are. You’re not the same as the rest of us. You’re wired differently and I’m fairly sure you’re both aware and fine with that.

But as much as I protest this drivel, people are absolutely adamant prejudice is the way to go. So, because I’m nothing but a fashionable sod, let’s judge the oldies for a change. The generation that f**ked the environment, let egotistical maniacs rule the world and still have the audacity to look down their noses ’cause we don’t like suits.

You don’t know how easy you had it…

Luckily I do.


Competition

If you’re not a Millennial you have no idea what real competition is. Oh, you got the top biller award in the 80’s? Well done mate. You were the only one in your market, in the whole of the country. You probably spent most of your pitches explaining ‘recruitment’.

Now, it’s not that straight-forward. 

I started recruiting in the recession. The most advertised position in the UK was for ‘Recruiter’. As if, by some miracle, people would hire Recruiters who were so brilliant they’d pull placements out of their arses and solve the economy. Which you still would have put down to ‘great strategy’ by your generation.

Strangely, it made piss all difference.

You think it was daunting starting BD when you came through the ranks? I was laughed at for my first six months straight. Every single day. All I heard was the bellowing laughter of Directors.

Then it changed.

On one call about 9 months in, I didn’t hear laughter. “I’m making progress” I gasped as I delivered the pitch of my life. I sold in the candidate’s skills with a presumptive close. “Tuesday or Wednesday for an interview” I probed?

Silence. Deadly silence.

Stay quiet, I remembered… the first person to talk loses. Then I heard it. Softly at first. A shadow of a whisper echoing in a dark, cold room. Getting steadily louder as I pressed my ear to the phone. What is that noise? I was silent for 3 minutes. I cleared my voice, hoping to be interrupted. Then it came. Sobbing. I was listening to an MD softly weeping as he stared at the empty room his staff used to sit in. I felt so bad, he told me I was the 6th Recruiter to call him that day. Asking when he thought his hiring plans might change, I realised that ‘BD handbook’ wasn’t going to cut it.

The entire thing read like satire.

But it worked out OK.

Because I had the entire South East region of that County (perm only) to try that sales pitch again and again. Which left me with a dizzying 3 businesses to try. That’s competition flower. Still, well done on that award.


Non-Billing Managers

Your chances of becoming a Non-Billing Manager are directly disproportionate to the amount you make as a biller.

If you’ve somehow scraped by and get on with the owner, you’re a shoo-in.

But the universal truth about running a recruitment business is NEVER make a great biller a Non-Billing Manager. And the best of the best are Gen Y and older. The type of person who’s able to deliver the same, sage advice in no less than 15 variations over and over and over again. Without even a nod to the insinuation the advice was probably bullsh*t in the first place.

“OK, if they’re not hiring, here are some ways to finish the call…”

“Are you reading from that handbook again?!”

Unfortunately for us, only so many of these cherished positions up for grabs. 

As a Millennial you’ve pretty much got no chance. Unless you start on your own. And if you do that, you’re going to need to be billing for a good while before you step back. Unless you buy loads of PS4’s and pool tables and ride on the coat tails of the other Millennials you hire.

I don’t even know what advice you’d offer as a ‘true Millennial’ in recruitment training.

“Remember fam, the more selfies you take with CEOs on meetings, the higher chance you’ll have of confirming that live retainer.”


“It’s Political Correctness Gone Mad”

You have to tread on egg shells in an office as a Millennial, or wind up at a tribunal. No personality allowed. Don’t be yourself on social media. Don’t upset the status quo.

But there were less people in the olden days. You know, 20 years ago they said “You’re never more than 10 metres away from a rat in London”

That’s like Recruiters now. Way back when, there were less Recruiters. And because there were less Recruiters, you’d be making silly money for your bosses and have the keys to the city.

These were the glory days. The summer of love. Smoking in the office. Punching kids if they whispered something out of line. Everyone was more chilled after a lunchtime bifta and given the amount of smoke billowing around that was probably deemed OK in the office too. Political correctness wasn’t a thing back then. Which come to think of it, is probably why older generations have no problem labelling us all.

Nazis.


Office Attire

In the 80’s and 90’s every single man in the world wore a shit, shiny suit. They were terrible colours, ill-fitting and normally matched to a horrific set of shoes and two-tone shirt. This meant, firstly, you didn’t have to fork out constantly for new outfits. But equally, even if you did spend a lot of money, the top end fashion was awful anyway. So it didn’t matter.

Back then, if you wore a Donald Duck tie you were considered playful. Not a complete f**king oddball no one would trust with their career.

A lot of recruitment offices now look like a catwalk. A sh*t one, sure. But a catwalk nonetheless. On one particular afternoon in the past, women in recruitment just collectively decided to stop wearing suits. So men kicked off and widespread dress down policies came into force throughout the world.

Which is great, but really does increase the money you have to spend on your outfits. And the amount of time it takes you to get ready in the morning. What I’d do to wear a Donald Duck tie non-ironically.


Spending Your Commission

When recruitment first started, you could buy a house for a tenner. This meant, not only were you making crazy money in comparison to your other mates, none of whom were Recruiters, but commission would set you up for life.

A life spent relaxing, in a cushty Non-Billing role.

As an astute Ed Hunter fan pointed out on LinkedIn earlier this week, “We’ve traded the chance of owning a house, for table tennis, duvet days and ‘bring your dog to work’ days.” Which is a fair observation. And it’s perhaps ironic that most rental accommodation now doesn’t allow pets. It’s like their final dig in the ribs.

That said, you should see how happy my dog is with the pillow fort underneath the pool table, after everyone’s left the office.


This is why life’s more difficult for Millennial Recruiters.

So do us all a favour and stop labelling us as lazy.

I’m off for a lie down.