Recruitment Clinic: How to Make Your Boss Happy

In today’s Recruitment Clinic I thought it would be good to look at something that we all know is important, but I’m pretty sure doesn’t feature on the company training scheme.

How do you make your boss happy?

If you’re looking for a dirty joke at this point, then you’re reading the wrong article. The Recruitment Clinic doesn’t go down like that.

So maybe let’s phrase the question in a different way: How do you keep your business happy?

There’s almost always someone you work with, who does the same type of job as you, with similar results, but seems to get more credit. You know the chat…

Smug Colleague: “Morning boss! How’s it going today?”
Manager: “Pretty good, how are you?”
SC: “Oh, I’m great. Found an awesome candidate for that role. It took me until 9:30 last night, but it was totally worth it!”
M: “Great work. Well done! That’s the winning attitude, right there!”
You: “I stayed late too…!”
M: “So you should, you’re behind your target.”
You: *sighs and opens Hunted app on phone.*

But assuming you don’t want to move jobs every time your boss shuts you down, why not think about turning the tables, and managing up the chain a little.

Man sitting suit

Here are a few tips that might help you keep you on the right side of your business:

1) Know what’s important

Everyone knows the recruitment industry is about fee generation. But, do you know how much is considered good for you personally? You probably do.

But have you broken that down all the way to the granular? What would a good day be for you? You can’t do your job unless you know what ‘good’ looks like to your business. And that must be based on real measurables.

2) GET credit where it’s due

Despite what they may claim, your managers cannot read minds. And whilst they can read KPI reports, don’t assume that they have seen the line that you’re most proud of.

Update your boss regularly on what you’ve achieved. If you’ve gone the extra mile, be on the front foot to point it out.

3) Commit

As someone who’s managed lots of Recruiters in their time, I can tell you this: It’s incredibly reassuring when someone tells you they will do something, and then do exactly that.

It inspires confidence and trust. So don’t constantly try to lower the bar, being afraid to say you’ll do something that might stretch you. Equally, don’t over promise either. Low expectations are frustrating, and under delivery is disappointing. There is a middle ground, make it yours.

4) Say ‘Yes’

If your business is looking for volunteers for a project… try saying yes. The only reason they’re asking is because it’s something that needs to be done, and if nobody volunteers then it’ll be a forced selection anyway.

So stick your hand up. It shows that you understand flexibility is useful, and you’re a valuable member of the team.

5) Say ‘No’

Heeding the above advice, you won’t be able to volunteer for everything, otherwise your job will suffer.

But don’t say nothing. Say “no” with a reason.

Your boss will give you a lot of credit for explaining why you can’t or won’t do something.

6) Be urgent

Everyone’s impatient. And sales people are amongst the least patient people out there. This helps us do our job.

But, it also makes us difficult to please, and you can guarantee that if you’re not in a hurry, it’s going to irritate your boss. That doesn’t mean you should rush things but try to avoid procrastination.


7) Don’t fight perception

Don’t waste your time trying to argue against an opinion. You have one decision to make: Does the opinion matter, or doesn’t it?

If there’s a belief that you don’t dress as smartly as your colleagues, is that important? If the answer is no, then move on and save your energy.

If, however, that perception is having a negative effect on your job, then it needs to be addressed. You won’t change minds by fighting your corner, so the only way to change this perception is to make a very visible change to your behaviour.

Two-way street

My final thought on this topic is this: remember that the relationship with your employer works both ways. They should be working as hard as you to make sure you’re both happy and productive.

Martin Jones is a Recruiter. From 1999 onwards, he’s worked across multiple sectors and geographies, generating revenue and leading teams. He is a Partner at KnownFour, building a pioneering recruitment business.