What makes a good recruiter when looking for a new job?
As some of you may know, prior to me becoming a recruiter, I worked in the food industry and as I’ve said many times before, it’s a crazy, magical, frustrating and exhilarating industry. But I left because I’d fallen out of love with it and I needed to find something I loved again. That’s when recruitment came knocking on my door.
I joined a global recruitment company who gave THE BEST training I’ve ever known but talk about KPI’s, crickey! Hours on the phone, CV’s sent, candidates met, clients met, new contacts added to the system, new jobs in, the list went on but at the end of the day it was all about “money on the board”. So when I set up on my own, I looked at what KPI’s I’d set myself, and I cast my mind back to when I was a candidate and what I wanted from a recruiter. This would surely help determine what type of business I wanted to run, KPI driven or people driven.
Recruiter Number One who I shall call Felicity for the purpose of this. I worked closely with Felicity for many years, I hope she’s reading this and I hope she knows who she is. She knew the industry inside out, she knew her clients, she took the time to get to know me professionally but also she understood what made me tick. She never did the hard sell, she always listened and when my Dad was critically ill and I just couldn’t focus on a job search, she gave me the space & time I needed. And if she had a list of KPI’s, I probably did damage to the “money on the board” one as when her client offered me a job, I went with the job that I’d applied for directly. No other reason than cakes seemed more exciting than sandwiches!
Recruiter Number Two, who we’ll call Richard. I’d attended a first interview with a company at the recruiter’s offices in Leeds and then skedaddled to a well-known retailers head office in the same city, arriving late with a load of colleagues looking at me suspiciously. Thank goodness the average wait for a meeting with my customer was at last 30 minutes so with my National Account Managers head on, I was early, prepared and totally focused! A week later I drove some 350 miles for a face to face interview on site and was really chuffed when I was invited back for a final interview & presentation. And before I go any further, let me tell you when this was as some of you will instantly get the relevance of this. 2008. Price Inflation time. As a NAM I was challenged with recovering a huge amount of cash each week, roughly the value of the equivalent of my company car….a week! I had a meeting with my buyer to discuss and the first thing she said was “Oh I hear you’re looking for a new job?” Mmmmmm, negotiation tactics considered, I was well and truly on the back foot. The person I was considering to go and work for had been asking about me with no consideration for confidentiality. So I called the recruiter afterwards to say I wasn’t too impressed and he wasn’t that bothered but he did confirm that the presentation for my final interview had arrived and he’d forward it on. Another meeting with my customer and she sent me away with more calculations to do and a meeting 24 hours later. Brilliant I thought, 24 hours instead of the usual 3 weeks means I’m getting close on this inflation stuff. But then I realised it was the day of my final interview. So I called the recruiter to say I was mortified I couldn’t attend but explained about inflation, the importance of it and that I had to be with my customer, who already knew I was looking for another job. And his response was “What do you mean you can’t attend the interview? Where do your loyalties lie?” My response was quite simply “With the people who pay my wages”. Needless to say I didn’t go for the final interview and I never worked with that recruiter again.
And then my decision on what sort of recruiter I wanted to be was easy. One with core values, not KPI’s. I don’t claim to have all the jobs or candidates in the world, I might never find you the perfect job but I like to think somewhere along the way I’ve given you some advice, some guidance and at least helped you on your journey. And for those that I have found jobs for, thank you for trusting me and likewise, thank you for your trust, honesty & communication in return. Whatever joy, frustration, challenge or problem you have, always talk to me. Sometimes it may take me a little longer than I’d like to get back to you but I will always listen and try to help if I can.
People, Trust, Honesty, Listening and Communication. (And maybe a warped sense of humour with a sprinkle of sarcasm!) Quite nice KPI’s I’d say.