The Recruitment Clinic: How to get a new house

Welcome back to the Recruitment Clinic. The best place for giving your recruitment career the shot in the arm it needs.

I thought I’d start this article with a little story from the Clinic household last Christmas. Having been in the business for 17 years now, I find it hard not to find recruitment parallels in almost everything, but I feel like I have to share this one. Because it’s about disappointment.

So, on Christmas morning I laid out the presents in front of Mrs Clinic. I sat down next to her, gazing on with eager anticipation, ready to bask in the warm appreciation to come. The only thing is, it didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like she was rude about what was unwrapped. It’s just that it was clear that through a combination of bad judgement, inappropriate size estimation and, in one case, flawed taste, the only gift that was still in the house come the end of boxing day was a novelty umbrella.

“Next year, why don’t you just ask me what I want?” she huffed… and maybe I will. Maybe.

What does this have to do with recruitment? I hear you cry.

Well, it’s like this. If you don’t write down what you want, then it’s unlikely that you’re going to get any of it. Seriously. When it comes to your job, you’re both giving and receiving, if you’ll excuse the phrasing. Write your list, and then start shopping.

So you need to have a clear set of goals ahead of you for 2017. And they have to be things that you’re genuinely excited about. You’ll work a lot harder if you know the juice is worth the squeeze. 

And don’t be lazy about it either. If you really, truly, want to buy a house, then at the very least work out exactly what that means. How much money do you actually need to make this dream come true? Where will you buy? And when?

And if you don’t want to buy a house and by that, I mean if it’s not at the top of the list of things you’re excited about, then focus on what is actually important. What do you actually want to get from this year? Maybe it’s a holiday? Or a car? Or a champagne lifestyle. Or maybe it’s just to pay the bills and have enough left over to get the occasional pizza. Whatever gets your engine purring; I’m not judging.

Here are a few things for you to consider when you put those goals into place…

1. Be a material girl

Or boy… obviously. But don’t be bland about your wish list, be specific. If you want to travel, then where will you go, and for how long. Which handbag are you buying? Have you actually picked your new suit? Get a picture of it somewhere, like the background of your computer screen. Or printed on your desk.

2. Have a career goal

Wherever you are, and whatever level you’re at, there should be a ‘next step’. Do you know what yours is? Are you excited about it? If you’re not, then spend some time finding something that will motivate you.

If that next step isn’t a promotion or rung on the ladder, it could well mean it’s simply a financial goal. But make sure that’s written down too.

3. Don’t only think about the really big stuff

We all have smaller goals, and it’s really easy to ignore them. It’s great to have some milestones to celebrate along the way, and to know that you’re making progress.

You’ll be in the habit of celebrating interview requests and small progression at the start of your career. Don’t forget to keep doing it as bigger success comes along.

4. Think about your personal development

If you’re not learning, or challenged, then you’re going to find your shelf life is limited. I’m not going to tell you that you need to ‘live outside of your comfort zone’ – there’s enough of that nonsense (accompanied by pics of Leo) in your LinkedIn feed. But don’t get so comfortable you get bed sores.

5. Make the effort to actually record these goals

You’ll be surprised how quickly you may forget why you’re really doing the job, and the motivation can slip into monotony. If you have your goals recorded somewhere, it’s easy to give yourself a reminder.

If you’ve already taken the step of recording your aspirations, tick them off. Then leave them there. Make sure you remind yourself how far you’ve come.


Once you’ve got all that figured out, you just need to do a couple of things, and you’ll be all set. Have you fixed the timelines? Have you established with your business that the goals are realistic, and got the green light on the promotion plan you’re proposing?

If you have, the only thing left to do is put the list down, and come back and read it again 24 hours later. When you do, it should give you some energy right back. If it doesn’t do that, then it’s not exciting enough!

Remember these plans aren’t getting tattooed on your forehead. Life changes, and your goals will adapt. Revisit and rewrite them as often as you need to.

Whilst it might seem like an odd time of year to write a letter to Santa, it’s definitely the perfect time to write your own wish list. And then you can start working towards achieving them.

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.