The boss came in to work today a bit glum. Yesterday, he lost  bit of money on a horse that had won it’s last 3 races but had unexpectedly come last. Based on its previous runs, the horse was expected to win comfortably but had been well beaten. The boss had all sorts of theories as to why the sudden change in form - change of jockey, a longer distance, harder ground and even a conspiracy theory to do with a rogue bookie. The conversation extended to discuss sport’s stars that are brilliant one day and then, seemingly overnight, go off the boil ….why do they suddenly go from hero to zero ?


“It’s like that with recruitment consultants”, I said.  To explain my point I used the example of a recruiter I know  well.


This guy had started working in recruitment in the UK with a large global firm. In his first few years he was consistently in the top billers and had been promoted a couple of times. When the company was looking for someone to move to one of their underperforming branches he was asked. He turned the business around and achieved a big pat on the back because of it. This guy got a bit cocky though and thought he could do better elsewhere. So he interviewed around town and, with the track record he had, was inundated with offers.


The company he chose were delighted to have secured his services and based on his previous performance had high expectations of this guy. But very quickly they saw that not all was well. Having come form recruiting in a different sector he was struggling to adapt to the new market place he was working in. He also didn’t seem to fit the culture or management style which was dramatically different to where he had previously worked. He quickly found himself struggling, unmotivated, miserable  and after a painful period  they agreed to part company. The hero that they thought they had backed turned out to be more of a zero for them.


I know this guy well because he is me.


I  had not suddenly forgotten how to recruit or lost all of the qualities that had previously made me successful. The reality was that the company, the management and the sector I was working in were not a good fit for me. It is like a star footballer who arrives at  a new club full of promise but doesn’t get on with his new manager, is played out of position and subsequently doesn’t score for more than 20 games (not mentioning any names Chelsea fans). Or the horse my boss bet on who went from first to last. Their dip in performance is probably more to do with other factors than just their ability. If they are genuinely good and still up for it, given the right circumstances then they will be good again.


Similarly, a good recruiter does not  simply become a bad recruiter over night. However, a move to the wrong company can turn a  hero biller into a zero biller (literally!). Of course the opposite is also true and given the right opportunity someone who is underperforming can become successful again. I am happy to say that subsequent to my career blip I have been successful in every role I have had. I hope the same can be said for the horse as my boss has already put money on it in it’s next race.

Views: 568

Comment by Ken Forrester on October 13, 2011 at 10:32am

Great post, Luke.  I was captivated by the story up until you told us that the recruiter was you.  So I re-read it from the start with you in mind.  I hear this same story from passive candidates all the time, but never so explicitly told.  I cannot help but to treat this post as if you are actually interviewing for your next recruiting role.  With that said-I have a question for you.  

What have you learned from this hero-to-zero journey that will make you a better recruiter?

Comment by Darryl Dioso on October 13, 2011 at 11:06am

Great post. An added bonus was the knock against the Blues.

Comment by Craig Watson on October 13, 2011 at 5:18pm

Ummmmm.  Let's get a couple of things straight.  I have since won the money back on that horse, so all's good...@luke collard 'since been successful in every role I've had' - don't get ahead of yourself sunshine!

@Ken Forrester - I hope he's not interviewing for his next recruiting role!

@Darryl Dioso - Not only am I 'the boss' he takes a crack at, but I support the Blues...

In all honesty though, cracking post Luke!!!  Keep them coming!!

Comment by Luke Collard on October 13, 2011 at 7:00pm

Thanks for the comments

@Ken Forrester -  I realised that just because you are successful in one place, it doesn;t necessarily gaurantee that you will be successful everywhere. It has subsequently made me more selective about the companies and sectors I work in. As a R2R I have this conversation with recruiters all the time, both those that are currently heros where they are and those that have fallen on tough times.


@Darryl Dioso - any opportunity !


@Craig Watson - aka the boss....haha!

Comment by Suresh on October 13, 2011 at 8:00pm

Good one. ..

I have not seen many players be that much of a misfit as Torres. He may need to move on as well to find the right fit.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on October 13, 2011 at 9:14pm

This is fantastic Luke thanks for sharing.  :)  I love bloggers who are not afraid to be brutally honest and share hits along with the misses.  I can totally relate.


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