Recruiters get terrible press.
And it’s worse now then ever before. Everyone has a ‘terrible recruiter’ story. They are ‘lazy, sleazy, pushy and incompetent’. And those are just the nicer things said. Every day brings more abuse and increasingly, gleeful predictions of the demise of the recruiter.
Today is the day we pay homage to the good that exists in our profession. It’s about time the world offered respect to the thousands of honorable, ethical and hard-working career professionals that make up our ranks. People like Graham Whelan and Peter Murphy. These two are just the tip of the iceberg, representing an army of people across the world, who always put the person before the dollar, and who have had a positive effect on thousand of lives. I know dozens of such recruiters myself. Let’s talk about these recruiters for a change, and lets make sure we don’t tar every recruiter with the broad brush of disdain that often gets heaped on our industry.
And while we are about it, let’s shine a light on some of the reasons recruiters deserve respect instead of derision.
For a start, it’s a tough job! One of the toughest around. It’s brutally competitive. Hugely stressful. It comes with long hours. Salaries are usually low, with upswing pegged to great results, and so often recruiters work long and hard for a tiny return. It’s scary too. Cold calling is not fun. And as much as clients complain about unreliable recruiters, try working the other side of the fence! Clients, who tell you it’s urgent, make you jump through hoops, then don’t return your calls. Clients who invite you for a meeting, and then don’t have the manners to show up! Job requirements changed in mid-search, or cancelled when weeks of work have been done. Clients who lie about their commitment to the brief. Candidates who play one job off against another, and leverage job offers for salary increases. Candidates who beg for a chance, and then don’t turn up for the hard-won interview secured at the client, leaving the recruiter to cop the flak, for ‘flakiness’.
If every client or candidate who heaps abuse on recruiters for ‘wasting my time’, did an honest little balance sheet of who wasted whose time the most through the process, I know where the deficit would be!
But even more than that, what recruiters do is basically good. We find people work! And that’s a good thing right? Something to be proud of. It makes an impact. We change people’s lives. We solve companies staffing issues. We help people further their career ambitions.
How about a little nod of appreciation from clients who may make a living selling cigarettes, or alcohol, or junk bonds, or life-saving medicine at obscene profits, or defend criminals. How is that these people call our profession ‘bottom-feeders’? Pot. Kettle. Black? I am not saying what they do is ‘bad’, (even though it often bloody-well is!) but what we do is honorable, it’s positive, there is no collateral damage in our work.( Yep we find people work. Last year 10.4 million people world-wide went to work via a temp agency, every day!)
We create jobs. Yes we do. The often-quoted criticism of our industry, that there are ‘no barriers to entry’ has an upside too. Our industry breeds entrepreneurs who have the courage to start their own businesses, and hire people. I remember doing that myself, at 28 years old, (and several times since), and having endless sleepless nights, paying myself a pittance, while employing many people to get the business going. I have no complaints. I reaped the rewards. But I took the risk, as do thousands of other recruiters, many of who are women by the way, who leave the restraints and discrimination of bigger corporates, to create their own businesses and secure their futures. That is something to be proud of, surely? Does it happen in banking much for example? Or law? (oh, and if you think I am making this stuff up, then reflect on the fact there are 128,000 private recruitment agencies, globally, with 176,000 branches, employing 908,000 internal staff, worldwide.)
And what about the service we provide candidates? Our industry gets hammered for poor ‘candidate care’, and often it’s deserved. But lets have a reality check. Recruiters invest millions of hours advising, counseling and supporting candidates on their job search. Some of that is very tangible assistance, like resume preparation, salary information, or interview training, but often it’s a morale boost or good career advice, or just a sane sounding-board. And we act as an advocate for the candidate who does not shine through the resume, but can in the interview. That’s us that make that happen. And candidates don’t even get charged!
So, my recruiting brethren, as we face another tough week, and we read another article on our appalling service and our impending demise, I encourage you to stand proud!
Don’t let the bastards grind you down!
We do a good thing. We are surrounded by honorable, hardworking colleagues, we impact lives every day, and we create work across the world