"I don’t need a good candidate, have you got any OK candidates?"
As a recruiter, we love it when a client calls to say that they need help recruiter in a role. And when they tell you the specific role, your heart can either sink or soar as some jobs are so much fun to recruit, the role is interesting, the candidates are engaging & passionate about they do, and then there are those jobs that are the complete opposite.
Six months ago a Client who is also a candidate called me and asked me to recruit a Production Planner for the food manufacturing business he’s currently working as an Interim for. We’ve known each other for years now to the point where our client meetings usually involve lunch in a pub, some mutual micky taking, an update on our various ailments and then lastly a chat about work. But up until 6 months I’d never placed him and I’d never placed a candidate with him. So the phone rings…..”Jo it’s about time I made you some money, I need a Production Planner, salary about £25,000, can you help?” For those that know this type of role, the salary has been at this range for years now and no-one grows up thinking “Oh I want to be a Production Planner”. So I was prepared to do my speech in managing expectations but knowing our relationship was built around honesty as well as quirky sense of humour, my reply was “I can get you an OK Production Planner but getting a good one could be tough.” And his response was “An OK one is good enough for me”.
So it got me thinking about when we recruit, do we sometimes have unrealistic, high expectations? I think it’s ingrained in all of us to want the very best person, with the best skillset, who will fit into the culture of our business, all for a bargain price. But not every business can promise the best career path or the best salary. Some candidates want the work life balance and they don’t want to be the next Head of. And not every recruiter can find that “walking fee” as the ideal candidate is known within the trade. Juggling all of this can be tough. I therefore thought it was a breath of fresh air for a client to know what the business needed, what the business could afford and what was available in the current candidate driven market. The candidate is a good, solid Production Planner but he’s not the most dynamic of candidates and he isn’t particularly driven. And he didn’t phone me after the interview to say “Wow, he’s brilliant, how soon can we get him back for a second interview?” But he did phone me to say “He’s a good Planner, he’s keen and he can do the job”.
6 months later the candidate loves his job and tomorrow I’m going out for my annual lunch / banter with the Hiring Manager. I think this really shows that being realistic can sometimes be the best way to recruit.