When I Grow Up I Want To Be A… Recruiter… Really?

I took my 8 year old nephew to school last week.  He took me into his classroom, introduced me to his teacher and showed me some of the work they were doing.

On a wall at the back of the classroom there was a display entitled – When I Grow Up I want to be a…

Being a recruiter I was naturally drawn to this display, and here are the highlights…

24 kids in the class

6 wanted to be a doctor

4 wanted to be a teacher

3 wanted to be a hairdresser

3 wanted to be a policeman

2 wanted to be a fireman

1 wanted to be an actor/actress

1 wanted to be a racing car driver

1 wanted to be a gardener

1 wanted to be a Footballer

1 wanted to be a chef

1 wanted to be a So You Think You Can Dance contestant.

I took a closer look somewhat surprised at what I was seeing… what? No recruiter??

The teacher – let’s call her Miss Moneypenny – saw me looking at the display and came over…

‘I see you’re looking at our display,’ she said ‘What do you do for a living?’

I gave the obligatory, smug smile and said… ‘I’m a Recruiter…’

‘Oh…’ Miss Moneypenny’s eyes involuntarily dropped to the floor… ‘A Recruiter…’ Imagine the whiff of derision in her voice, the hint of disappointment, the twitch of fear in her eyes, as she looks for a way to back out of this conversation.

I, on the other hand, chose to ignore her questionable behaviour and keep talking. After all, I am a Recruiter – proud of it – and I’m used to people not understanding how important our industry is to the fabric of society…

‘Yes,’ I smile, ‘A Recruiter… It amazes me that some of your students didn’t choose it as a career path.  Did you know that in the last year alone Recruiters in Australia helped over 350,000 people find new jobs?’

‘No.’ she responded.

‘Did you know that over the past 2 years the recruitment industry in Australia was the second fastest growing sector in terms of growth?’

‘No…’ in a slightly more bored tone this time…

‘Did you know that next to Travel & Tourism, Banking and Insurance – Recruitment spends more money in sponsorship and development of sport than any other sector in Australia?’

Obviously, these stats were made up on the spot… but I felt threatened…

‘Wow… you guys are practically super heroes…’ Miss Moneypenny responded, with a roll of the eyes and a sneaky look at her watch.  I took the hint and excused myself from the classroom, but it really got me thinking…

Our industry – and what we do – is a noble profession.  Yes, we are paid for our services, but so are Doctors, Police Officers, Fireman and Teachers.  And guess what?  We help people too!

We – as a group – need to turn around the perception of Recruiters that’s out there in the greater community… Are you as sick as I am of beingever so slightly embarrassed when you are at a barbecue with new people and they ask you what you do for a living?  It’s up to us to change this view.

It’s the little things that will help – and here’s a short checklist to live by…

  • Respond to all applications you receive.
  • If you promise to get back to someone – get back to them. NO excuses.
  • Be honest with your feedback.
  • Be transparent with Candidates and Clients
  • Out the ‘cowboys’ in our industry – we don’t need them.
  • Believe in the value of your service.
  • And… Be proud of being a Recruiter!

Let’s face it.  No-one goes to school and says… ‘I want to be a Recruiter when I grow up…’

But… wouldn’t it be good… if we helped change that?

An just as a sign off, a little question… I’m training for ‘Tough Mudder’ in a couple of months and I was wondering in my training schedule does running late count as exercise?

Craig Watson

Views: 1177

Comment by Matt Charney on January 28, 2014 at 7:25am

Great post, Craig! I've always thought it was interesting how no one planned on falling into this industry - it's kind of existential, as career paths go, but think that more kids would likely want to be recruiters if they also knew we were referred to as "headhunters." That sounds way more bad ass. Thanks for sharing this post with RecruitingBlogs - really enjoyed it.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on January 28, 2014 at 8:01am
Recruiters will always be the bad guy as long as we have to reject people. Doesn't matter how nice, transparent or communicative we are. Human nature to shoot the messenger.
Comment by Tim Spagnola on January 28, 2014 at 8:33am

Awesome post Craig. Great to hear your voice around the RBC. It has always been appreciated. I'm curious to how RBC members would have responded to this question when 8. Recruiting is a interesting career path, and the stories as to how folks fall into it our equally interesting. Good luck on your training. If running late helped I would be ready to run one tomorrow. Cheers.

Comment by Ken Forrester on January 28, 2014 at 8:43am

Maybe you should have told her that you were in sales.  And when she asks what you sell, you tell her that you sell two of the greatest products ever conceived by man.  That would have got her full attention, and then you tell her that you sell talent and opportunity.  You sell elite talent to employers and unique career opportunities to top performers.   Maybe she would have invited you to stay for a minute and tell the class what you do for a living.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on January 28, 2014 at 1:02pm

Thanks, Craig. Keep blogging.

I've been saying for years: “If you're not prepared to *pay someone USD $50+/hr to do a given recruiting task- it can be (and probably SHOULD BE) "tran-sourced"- no-sourced (eliminated), through-sourced (automated), or out-sourced (sent away), usually for far less than the cost of U.S. minimum wage.” On the other hand: if you do high-touch, high-value add activities, like advising and mentoring hiring managers, creating, improving, and stream-lining hiring practices/procedures, building relationships, and closing- these aren't going away anytime soon.


Here's(re) the rub(s):



Actually,we should DISCOURAGE potential recruiters and SAY BAD THINGS about Recruiting- that way: less competition and more money for the rest of us!




*Your costs may vary.



Comment by Glenn Gutmacher on January 30, 2014 at 11:13am

I love Ken Forrester's suggested improvement to your exchange with the Australian grade school teacher.  Then you wouldn't have had to resort to fake statistics about the recruitment industry (reminds me of stats like "the average policeman eats 8.7 times his weight in donuts annually"). It's a slippery slope from there down to rusing -- and since your goal is to enhance the reputation of the recruitment industry, we should avoid lies and exaggerations about it wherever possible, since that is likely to backfire on us).  But you were trying to save the particular situation and it's hard to think big-picture in that spot, so you are forgiven.

Comment by Ross Clennett on January 30, 2014 at 5:21pm

Great post, Craig, loved the humour and looking forward to reading you more here.

Comment by Steve Hopkins on April 17, 2019 at 7:35am

That was worth reading, we are creating a series of articles. You can check out here https://recruitcrm.io/blogs/the-recruitment-entrepreneur


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