Recruiter Etiquette 101

18 Sep

I was booked on an early flight this morning. Trouble is, I live about an hour or so away from the airport… so that meant a 4:30am start for me. No biggie. I made it with time to spare… and was milling around the gate with other commuters…

It was about 30 minutes before boarding, and then came the dreaded voice over the PA.

‘This is an announcement for passengers on Flight VA809 to Brisbane…’

Uh oh.’ I thought.

flight delay1‘There will be a slight delay in boarding the flight as we are waiting for the First Officer. Our new expected departure time is 7:15am.’

Not so bad… just a 15 minute delay, and hey everyone gets caught in traffic once in their life…

30 minutes later…

‘This is an announcement for passengers on Flight VA809 to Brisbane…’

Uh oh.’ I thought… again.

‘We are still waiting for our First Officer. Our new departure time will be 8am.’

You are effing kidding me!’ I thought.

‘You are effing kidding me?’ The lady sporting the Louis Vuitton carry-on next to me complained.

OK, so now we are an hour late. I quickly email my client in Brisbane that I may be a little late for our meeting. Update Twitter™ with my sorry tale and grab a newspaper…

‘This is an announcement for passengers on Flight VA809 to Brisbane…’

Uh oh.’ I thought. Are you seeing the pattern?

‘Due to a crew change we have a new expected departure time of 8:45am. Please stay close to the departure gate for further announcements…’

Riiiight… a crew change… Read old mate First Officer is so hung over he failed the pre-boarding breathalyser…

I hate to think what the lady sporting the Luis Vuitton carry-on was saying now… Wait a minute… I can hear her from over the other side of the departure lounge…

‘90 effing minute delay and not even an effing apology! Think they would’ve held up the effing plane if I was late?! This is an effing disgrace! I want to speak to someone in charge! NOW!!!’

flight delay2Fair play to her I say. I mean, we all made the effort to get here ahead of time… we were prepared… we were patient about the first delay… even the second… to an extent… not so much the third. But the point is there was no apology whatsoever… and only 3 updates in 90 minutes.

I’m sorry, but that is shit customer service.

Which segues me beautifully into today’s post. I have read countless blogs on tardy candidates… hell I’ve written a couple, but let’s just for today hold up the mirror to our ourselves…

Put your hand up if you have never kept a candidate waiting in reception. Not you Luke… I know you’re perfect… and no… there’s no prize… But seriously, it’s just common decency isn’t it?

After all, we’re asking our candidates to come and meet us in an environment totally alien and intimidating to them. We expect a level of preparation, promptness, and an appropriate appearance. We are going to ask them uncomfortable questions about their work history, skills, personality and motivation. We are going to appraise them in a very short space of time on their suitability to what may very well be their dream job… it’s bloody scary… just like flying.

When was the last time you were a candidate? Remember the nervousness, the concern about your coffee breath, the sweaty palms – that no matter how many times you rubbed them on your pants – they got sweatier? (PS. my word of the week is sweatier… see how you can fashion it into a conversation with colleagues, bosses, strangers… go.).

You absolutely dreaded the interviewer coming, because you didn’t want to shake hands with sweaty palms that were only becoming sweatier (see I used it again…), and being judged. Not nice is it?

So, my very simple piece of advice to all recruiters is:

Don’t be an arse. Don’t keep your candidates waiting in reception… It’s not cool… it’s rude. Get the interview off to a great start. Help the candidate feel comfortable… not angry. And if for any reason you are held up, offer a sincere apology.

Unlike @VirginAustralia whoops… did I say that out loud?

Craig Watson

 

Recruitment… it’s all about the show!

11 Sep

branding_logo_2_1

Two recruiters meet in a coffee shop (where else !)…

Recruiter 1”So, how is business?”

Recruiter 2”Amazing. We have just had our record month. ”

Recruiter 1”Us too… and next month is looking even better”

Recruiter 3 (sitting at the next table)…”Same here”

Recruiter 4 (sitting with Recruiter 3)… “And me”

Whole coffee shop in unison (because they are all recruiters) … “Me too”

 *****

I speak to a lot of recruiters in my line of work and sometimes it feels like everyone is having a record month… every month. It reminds me a bit of being back at school when everyone was apparently having sex (or at least doing some heavy petting). Even the geeks who would congregate around the stairwell playing dungeons and dragons… yep, they were also getting their fair share… apparently. I hear “record month” so often that I generally take it with a pinch of salt. It becomes difficult to believe anyone when a CEO tells you they have just had another ‘record month’… and then have the administrators at their door the next day.

I don’t know what it is about the recruitment industry that we seem pre-disposed to be always painting an ‘over the top’ picture of our success. Maybe it is because our industry has been built on a culture of sales, of being the best and always winning… and if you are not actually being successful, make sure you are making out that you are… It’s all about the show!

Over the last 18 months we have seen a series of spectacular collapses in the industry, most of which were proceeded by positive chat. Crappy figures, profit downgrades and diminishing revenues were spun out in press release as something more positive. Even at the edge of the cliff these companies were still talking a good game.

Obviously every business wants to market itself in the most positive light possible. Nothing wrong with that – I do it with my own business. But in the highly competitive world of recruitment, where the green eyed monster lives large, and everyone wants to be number one, it is sometimes difficult to know where the truth starts and the lies finish… like accepting a new job with all the promises in the world, and then finding your new employer has gone bust two weeks after starting. Surely more ‘fraud’ than ‘positive marketing’!

It’s tough out there in the modern recruitment world. Not everyone is doing well. And maybe those that aren’t would benefit from being a bit more honest about that. That would be a good first step on the road to recovery… rather than just trying to keep the show going.

 

Luke Collard

All recruiters are cockroaches…

4 Sep

Hey… don’t blame me… wasn’t my idea… seriously… you think I’d call my own industry a bunch of darkness dwelling, creepy crawly germ infested bugs? Again… not my description… you can thank Wikipedia for that!

So… back to cockroaches. I’m writing this post from one of the most beautiful places in the world (you can blame me for that quote!). Queenstown, New Zealand. I’m at the back end of the annual RCSA International Conference, and snuck out to write a post while some of the learnings are still fresh in my mind. It’s a barmy -1 degree Celsius (30 degrees Fahrenheit) but the view is magnificent… jealous? Should be.

Anyway, back to the conference. I’m not going to go through the speakers, and what they said… sufficed to say the overwhelming theme was that:

  1. We – as an industry – are perceived literally as cockroaches
  2. We are actually cockroaches

cockroach_1Let me explain a little further. One of the first speakers at the conference was Scott Wintrip. Scott has coached or educated more than 40,000 recruitment professionals and added more than $1.2 billion in positive economic impact for his clients… basically… he knows his shit. His presentation focused on Innovate Sensation. He told us that during his 8 days in Australia before the conference he asked over 100 strangers (not recruiters) to describe recruitment in 1 word. Unfortunately, the overriding theme of responses was not a positive one. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be… Words like Liars, Thieves & Cheats were fairly prominent. He then went on to tell us that there was a high proportion of animal references in the mix… and not noble or wise animals like Lions, Owls or Tigers… and not beautiful animals like Butterflies, Birds of Paradise or Mandarin Fish. No… nothing like that… we copped animals like Snakes, Sharks and of all things Cockroaches. That’s right Cockroaches. Anyone reading this believe that to be a positive description? Anyone? Didn’t think so.

 

‘Cockroaches are among the biggest contributors to global warming, since they break wind every fifteen minutes. Furthermore, they continue to release methane gas for eighteen hours after they die.’

 

So… cockroaches we are then… There were a number of speakers through the remainder of the first day of the conference and into the beginning of the second day… almost all… without exception at least made reference to the negative perception of recruiters in the wider market.

Yes there are some bad recruiters out there. God… there a re bad Doctors, Teachers and Cops, but on the whole these professions are respected and IMO (wow, that’s the first time I’ve used IMO instead of in my opinion… it feels liberating… just imagine actually being able to shorten the use of three words to three letters… I guess I’ve kind of spoilt it by using 56 words to describe my efficiency of reducing 3 words to 3 letters… but I digress).

IMO I think I know why we – as an industry – are so universally hated. It all comes down to the fact that we deal in rejection… and people don’t like that. Think about it… let’s say you get 10 applications for 1 job. That means you have to reject 90% of those that have approached you. Of course there are different ways to demonstrate rejection… and sure… some of those may go into a database for future roles, but on the whole you are telling 90% of people they are not good enough for the role they have reached out to you for… think about that when you go back to them to shatter their dreams…

But I have digressed again… so unlike me… must be the surroundings

On the morning of Day 2 Peter Williams digital innovation guru… and surprisingly… not a member of our highly esteemed recruitment fraternity had a wee chat with us.

Pete’s (hope he doesn’t mind me calling him Pete, but in the spirit of my new found skill of shortening things, perhaps he will allow me this one liberty)…

Pete’s presentation was on Digital Disruption, Social Media & Recruitment. It was insightful and very engaging… but he said something early on in his presentation that really… really resonated with me.

cockroach_2He reminded us of the prophecy of demise of our industry when job boards hit the market… and again with the advent of LinkedIn etc. He said that we were an industry of survivors… we are continually surprise with an ability to survive in challenging and detrimental environments…

I thought about this for quite a while… we are survivors you know… a species that is not always respected by others, with a nous for survival in uninviting terrain. An industry facing the prediction of obliteration with ever-moving technology taking over our role… but we have continually faced the apocalypse and survived… remind you of anything? Like… maybe… cockroaches?

I say be proud to be a cockroach… just be a nice one!

Craig Watson

Recruiters… maybe my hips do… but the stats don’t lie…

28 Aug

So… we’re all sick of being told how crap we are right? Next to politicians and Lindsay Lohan… and maybe the Bieber, recruiters are right up there at getting a pretty universal bad rap…

I hate it… I hate the fact that a very small percentage of bad recruiters spoil it for the rest of us… I include me in the ‘us’, but you can make up your own mind…

nraYou see those bad recruiters have a very loud voice. Like the NRA in the States… or Malfoy in Snape’s potions class… or Miley Cirus at the VMA’s. They kinda drown out the good stuff. But that’s ok. It just means that the silent majority need a voice… and I want to provide it… partly because I’m running out of blog ideas, but mainly because I think it’s important to promote good news stories for our industry.

Sure we’ll get the usual suspects attempting to knock us down… (you’ll find those negative Nellies in the comments section… too lazy to write their own blog… too cynical to accept that maybe… just maybe recruiters offer a valuable and positive experience… and too caught up in their own ego to be gracious… whack).

Anyway, I’m prepared to open up our blog (probably should have run this one past Luke first… sorry mate!), to those of you out there who have changed a life, provided a client with a solution that changed their business… or have used your recruitment skills to benefit the community… here is your chance. Feel free to leave your stories in the comments section… or email me craig@watsoncollard.com.au.

Over the next 6 months I will be reaching out to some of you and carefully packaging your stories (in my own little style), into some positive blog posts!

Take that Haters!

On another note, I wanted to share with you some of the statistics and trends we have collected in our Consultant Census. With over 1000 respondents the data is very telling and gives us insight into where the industry is… and where it is going…

I’m actually presenting them tomorrow at the RCSA conference, so here’s a sneak peek!

Slide1

What are your thoughts on the stats? Agree? Disagree?

Of course this data is very generic, and there are many unique aspects that present around specific sectors…

So… I tell you what… if you want me to produce a set of data relevant to your business and more detailed than above let me know… there is a cost, but it will be worth it!

We’ll be back next week… with a real blog post… Until then send me your feel good stories…

And whilst you are here, check out this months Agency in Focus …if you are looking for a different type of recruitment opportunity this might interest you.

Craig Watson

 

What makes a recruitment agency ‘the best’?

21 Aug

popularity_contest_tshirt-p235069822332396586t53h_400What makes a recruitment agency ‘the best’?

Well up until recently it was seemingly based purely on how many people an agency could get to vote for them in the SEEK awards. Whilst there are other industry awards, the ones run by SEEK have arguably been seen as the biggest, and therefore in a lot of people’s eyes the one to win. 

But the awards were just a popularity contest, and the agency that could put together the most effective marketing campaign to get votes would win. It had little to do with actually recognising the best… in the same way that the winner of X-factor recognises the best singer!!! A lot of very good agencies would never get close to wining because they simply didn’t have the resource that their larger competitors had to run a campaign… or more likely just couldn’t be bothered involving themselves in such a ridiculous game.

But that has all changed now.

SEEK have thrown the reality TV show-esque popularity contest out of the window and replaced it with a judging panel. I admit that I don’t know the ins and outs of how this new system works and what specific criteria they are judging agencies against… (you can view it here)…but I think this makes the awards far more credible and valuable.

But how do you define what being ‘the best’ actually means in recruitment?

Is it the amount an agency bills, their profit, service levels, client list, staff retention, community involvement… the fact that they have a pool table and dress down Friday? Obviously, it will mean different things to a candidate who will be more interested in the quality of service, than it will to an employee who might be focused on how lucrative the commission structure is. For the owner of the agency it might be all about profit, where as the client is more interested in the strength of their candidate database. For the office administrator it is the fact that he or she is given flexibility so they can pick their child up from school every day. 

It is probably impossible to get a consensus on what being ‘the best’ agency actually means. But surely it has to be more about being good and successful at recruitment, than just a popularity contest. So well done SEEK. Maybe those agencies that don’t agree are a bit annoyed that they will now have to actually show why they are ‘the best’ if they want the right to wear that label.

So, if you were on the judging panel, what criteria would you be using to determine which agency is ‘the best’… and how would you score?

Luke Collard

7 Traits of Great Recruiters…

14 Aug

So… you want to be a recruiter… or… you want to be a better recruiter?

Well listen closely my friends…

I speak conservatively to 5 recruitment people a day – Consultants, Managers & Owners. Well I don’t speak conservatively… I conservatively speak… if you get my drift… Geez… how 70’s is that? Drift…

bestrecuiter2These Consultants, Managers & Owners come from different niches and from different sized companies. That means over the past 5 years I have spoken to in excess of 5,500 recruitment professionals… OK… I may have spoken to a couple of you more than once, but it is still a shit load of recruiters in anyone’s language…

So, you know what? Over the journey I’ve kind of worked out the magic formula… the traits and idiosyncrasies that all of the very best recruiters possess. Forget about the process, your social media coverage and market reach… forget about the number of times you pick up the phone in a day… and forget about your ability (or lack thereof) to update the database and complete reports. *Disclaimer… when I say forget about the above I mean forget about them for the 3 minutes and 42 seconds it takes you to read this blog…

Come along for the ride with me… look at the list below and ‘tick off’ the ones you have… and work on the ones you don’t.

  1. Commercial Acumen – To be a great… a truly great recruiter you need to understand business. You need to be aware of the commercials behind your desk. Break-even points. Profitability etc. I’ve banged on about it before in other posts, but it’s key and will help drive other areas like urgency, activity & time management…
  2. Passion – You need the fire in the belly! The desire to wake up every day and work your market. Passion feeds you the energy you need… and you need a butt-load (not sure there is a hyphen in butt-load… but… anyway), you need a butt-load of energy to be a successful recruiter. If you don’t have the passion and drive to be successful you need to find it… or get out.bestrecruiter1
  3. Resilience – The best recruiters have this in abundance. The number of things that can… and do… go wrong in a day in the life of a recruiter are many & varied (and I’m putting that nicely). Resilience is a magical trait that allows you to move on from disappointment and tackle the next assignment with the same vigour and positivity.
  4. Empathy – Guess what? It’s not all about you. It’s about your candidates and clients… and if you don’t understand their drivers and motivators you just can’t be the best… sorry you can’t.
  5. Bull Shit Radar – No hyphen there… you know what? Candidates and Clients lie… not every time… not even most times… It kinda feels like most times, but believe me it’s not… stats show that clients and candidates lie to you about 36.87% of the time… I made that stat up, but I’m tipping I’m pretty close to the mark! Fact is you… yes you… need to be able to sort out the bull shit from the truth. The best recruiters can do this. How’s your Bull Shit Radar?
  6. No Fear – Most deals that don’t happen can be avoided. I think I said that backwards… what I meant was… You can avoid most deals falling over… no actually the first time was better… Most deals that don’t happen can be avoided. ‘How?’ I hear you ask… Well funny you should ask, because it’s all about asking questions. If you ask the tough questions early in a process you can control it much… much better. Sometimes the answers aren’t what you want to hear… which is why many recruiters are too scared to ask them… but wouldn’t you want to know a deal is dead in the water early in the process – rather than later? It gives you more time to focus on the real deals. In my opinion (if I was cool I would have said IMO), FEAR or lack of it is one of the absolute must haves for the very best recruiters.bestecruiter3
  7. X-Factor – Do you have it? What even is it? If you ask Danni Minogue, Redfoo or any of the other judges it’s the ability to juggle flaming samurai swords whilst riding a unicycle and singing Ava Maria. But for me it’s a combination of points 1 to 6 coupled with a knack for getting things done. If you have 1 – 6 you will be a very good recruiter… throw in the x-factor and you become great!

There you have it. My 7 Traits all Great Recruiters Have… If I were really smart I‘d make it into a sexy acronym… say… like… FREXCAPB and make a fortune on the e-book deal… but clearly I’m not.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what traits or attributes define a great recruiter.

Have I hit the mark… or am I way off? And more importantly… Do you have FREXCAPB? It’s starting to grow on me…

Craig Watson

Experience required …..why?

7 Aug

previous experience requiredWhy is the recruitment industry so obsessed with hiring experienced recruiters?

I don’t want to underplay what we do as recruiters but, for all its challenges, let’s be honest it isn’t rocket science. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence, an outgoing personality and good communication skills can become a good recruiter …many have carved out a successful and lucrative career on far less!

So why do so many recruitment agencies insist on experience? 

When I started in recruitment I was put through a couple of in house training sessions to cover off the basics and then was thrown in to the deep end running an end-to-end desk. I picked it up pretty quickly and was fairly effective more or less immediately. Not because I was particularly talented…..I was just enthusiastic and keen to get stuck in. And I am certainly not an exception. I was talking to a guy last week that started in recruitment only 5 months ago but has already billed over $160k in a start-up business…where there was no training…just a desk and a phone and ‘get on with it’. The history of people entering the recruitment industry with no experience and being successful quickly is there for all to see…….look in the mirror.

The argument is that with experience comes a track record, and therefore a better chance of that person being successful…or less risk of them failing. There is sometimes a perceived value in the client base and network an experienced recruiter can bring with them (although how often does this turn out not to be the golden goose it appears to be!). In leadership roles it is obviously important.

I get all of that. …and I am not saying experience means nothing. But to make it the number one criteria doesn’t make sense. Especially when it means you have to wait months and months to hire someone. Would it not make more sense to hire someone now with all the right raw skills who you could have up and running, making you money and growing your business……than waiting….and waiting ….and waiting…. When you consider that it is such a candidate short market, and good experienced recruiters are reluctant to move, even if you think you are selling them something ‘market leading’ and ‘unique’ it makes even less sense to hold out for that experience.

I value experience, but I think it is often overrated. Quite often experience just equals bad habits and a burnt out attitude. And you pay a lot more for the privilege!  The perceived need for experience is actually  just a mixture of ‘that is what everyone does’, ‘that is what we have always done’ laziness, and a morbid fear of the unknown. Only in a very few situations is it absolutely necessary.

We are seeing some agencies move their hiring away from experienced recruiters and investing in fresh talent, and not just at the graduate level. What is your experience? Would you only ever hire an experienced recruiter ….how much experience is enough…..and more importantly …..why?

Luke Collard

Takin’ them to the edge…

31 Jul

You’ve been there before… it’s D-Day… (well actually it’s today, but let’s not split hairs)… after a painfully long process the offer has finally come through from the client. It’s a good offer… actually a great offer. You got the salary your candidate wanted & a clear career path. The client will invest in professional development and they have even pre-approved the holiday your candidate has booked next month (and only told you about two days ago). You feel a huge sense of relief. Your manager has been piling pressure on you to close this one for weeks. You can almost taste the celebratory beer… almost. You pick up the phone to your candidate… and this happens.

edge1‘Hi Jimmy it’s Craig from Watson Collard here.’ I begin. ‘I’ve got some fantastic news for you! I just got off the phone with Bev from Aardvark Corp and they would like to formally offer you the role.’

I wait for his elation to smack me from the other side of the phone… the joy of acceptance pulsating out of him like an alien in… well… Alien™… but nothing…unless you count the sound of crickets as something… was that him just saying yes? I press the phone closer to my ear. No… still nothing.

‘Jimmy?’ I question. ‘We must have a bad line mate… I can’t hear you…’

‘No… I’m here.’ He replies.

I feel a little dread induced vomit begin to rise in my throat… I slip into panic mode…

‘Don’t worry about your employer counter-offering…’ I stammer. ‘We’ve had that conversation.’ We have had that conversation… haven’t we? ‘And resigning… I can help you through that…’ I frantically reach for my initial interview notes. ‘Remember the reasons you were… are… looking to leave. You wanted more money, a clear career path, training and a mentor… Aardvark is offering all that…’

‘It’s not that.’ He counters. ‘It’s just…’ Oh God he’s accepted another role hasn’t he?

‘You’ve accepted another role haven’t you?’ I accuse. ‘I’ve been speaking to you every day and there’s been no mention of other opportunities…’ I can hear the desperation in my voice… but I just can’t seem to stop it.

‘No…’ he says. ‘It’s just that I need to speak with my wife about it. I want to go through it with her over the weekend…’

Wife? Wife? He never mentioned a Wife before…

To cut a long story short, Jimmy did accept the role in the end. It took him another week though… there were questions around the employment contract…from his wife… and then we did have to go through the whole counter offer thing.

All of this could probably have been avoided though… or at least tackled earlier…

There is a point in every recruitment process when the candidate should have a feel for the client and know whether they would work for them (if the package and conditions were right). It is at this point when the recruiter should take them to the edge.

edge2It’s scary… yes. It means you have to force the issue. It will affect your pipeline (maybe positively… maybe negatively), but it also means that you will know where to focus your time and energy.

It sort of goes a little like this… and happens after the first or second interview.

‘So Jimmy. You met with Aardvark today, and you’ve told me that you really like the business, the manager and the team. They have met you with the full knowledge that you are expecting a minimum of $80k plus super. You are looking for clear career progression, investment in professional development and a mentor.

So, my question to you is… If they come back to me with an offer covering all of that off… can I accept the role on your behalf?’ Then silence… that’s right don’t speak… wait them out…

There is going to be 1 of 2 responses only… ‘Yes’… or ‘No.’

If it’s ‘No’ ask why… Methodically go through the reasons with them. You will find out about the wife or any other barriers here and you can deal with them… or… if the barriers are too high… end the process and focus on something else.

Pretty easy hey? Ask the question. Take your candidate to the edge and start controlling the process…

That’s it… that’s all… try it and let me know how you go!!!

Craig Watson

 

Recruiters…..how low will you go?

24 Jul

how lowI tend not to get too bothered about most of those annoying things that are sent to challenge us recruiters. People turn down jobs. Clients make crazy decisions. Stuff happens. It is not that I don’t care…I just accept that there are some things that are out of my control and there is no point wasting emotion on them. I save that for shouting at the TV when my team is playing…because that definitely helps!

However, when a client tries to negotiate my fee at the end of a process and then tells me “I am standing in the way of him being able to offer my candidate a job because of my fee”…I get a little hot under the collar.

Let me get this right Mr Client. We agreed fees at the very start. You signed a document saying so. You happily met my candidates and never once mentioned the fee again. A few weeks later you now want to offer one of them..…but also want to negotiate / re-negotiate / take the piss. And you have the brass to tell me that if I can’t do something about the fee then it will be me standing in the way of this guy getting a job!

Where is his justification in doing this? Well, there isn’t any. But that is not his point. Mr Client thinks that he has me over a barrel. Surely I will see that some sort of fee is better than no fee. Add a little emotional blackmail on top of that and I will have no choice but to crumble and agree.

Most recruiters out there would have experienced something similar. And it raises a vital question for every recruitment business….especially at the moment.

At what point are you prepared to walk away and just say no?

When you have already done the work, it is tempting to rollover and just accept a reduced fee…something is better than nothing, right? Take the money and run. Even if you are dealing with a more honourable client who understands that negotiations happen at the start, dropping a percent here or there to get the gig is tempting. When your competitors are dropping their pants at any opportunity just to work with a client, you might feel you need to do the same to keep in the game. In a competitive market place these things might be tempting…but then so is that last drink on a big night out….and that rarely ends up well.

It makes little long-term commercial sense to keep lowering your fees. In my experience, once you start doing this then it is a slippery slope. You open yourself up to more of it in the future and it is hard to build a credible reputation. But the main reason I say no is not a commercial one. I say no because some things are just not worth it. If you are the sort of turkey that has the brass to say I am standing in the way of a guy getting a job because you won’t pay the agreed fee, then you don’t deserve my hard work or the awesome candidate I found you. And I don’t want to go home at night and have to scrub myself with pumice stone to feel clean again.

To complete the story, I called the candidate, explained that my client wanted to offer him the role but didn’t think he was really worth the $867.00 that he was trying to knock off the fee. Suitably unimpressed, he called the client to pull out of the process. “If you don’t think I am worth $867.00 then you are not the right employer for me”. That was nice!

A lot of people who use recruitment agencies see it as a buyers market at the moment. DIY solutions like LinkedIn, internal recruitment teams and other pressures mean that clients potentially have more power at the negotiating table than ever before. How much depends on how much you let them have.

So, do you have a line in the sand that you just simply refuse to cross?

Luke Collard

My 3 Recruitment Wishes…

17 Jul

Before I start today I want to shamelessly promote 2 events.

Firstly, in conjunction with the RCSA, I am presenting a blog writing workshop in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane & Perth… do yourself a favour…

Secondly, join me at the SoSu in Melbourne in August… you won’t be disappointed.

Now… on to my story…

Imagine… if you will… me on a holiday in sunny Marrakesh. I’m strolling through a crowded street bazaar where you can buy just about anything… juvenile spider monkeys… rare (and spicy) spices… a VHS copy of Caddyshack…

genie1When suddenly a toothless man with sunken eyes, wearing a traditional Moroccan djellaba and a Collingwood scarf appears in front of me. He is gesticulating wildly… hopping from one foot to the other and waving what appears to be an ancient lamp in front of me…

‘Two Shekels… Two Shekels!’ he screams.

I know I am supposed to barter… I even have my platinum Bartercard™ on me… but I’m too scared. I place two shiny shekels in his weathered hand. He tosses the lamp in the air… it spins… once… twice… thrice. The man disappears just as I reach out to catch my overpriced new purchase. I drop it and it crashes to the ground. Everyone in the market stops what they are doing and stares… first at me… then the fallen lamp…

‘Whoopsy daisy.’ I say… almost apologetically.

I bend slowly to pick it up. It feels like the entire market leans in with me as I reach for the lamp. There is an audible sigh as I gather my quarry… I pop it in my backpack and instantly the market returns to normal.

‘Funny folk.’ I think as I stroll down a deserted alleyway that leads back to my hostel.

Good story huh? Well it doesn’t end there my friends…

Hours later, after enjoying a traditional meal of Mrouzia and flat bread I reach in to my backpack to contemplate my new lamp.

Turning it over in my hands I notice it has become slightly scuffed and dented from the dropped catch.

‘Shit!’ I curse out loud. ‘I should have haggled him down to one shekel!’

genie2I use the sleeve of my shirt to rub the lamp… once… twice… thrice. Then ‘POOF!’ There is a puff of smoke and a huge blue genie (looking very disinterested… and slightly miffed), appeared in front of me. In fright I drop the lamp. It hits the floor and rolls under the bed. The genie watches the lamp disappear… rubs his head… looks at me and says…

‘Figures… so you’re the butterfingers who dropped the lamp and gave me a mild concussion…’ I stared at him… disbelievingly… and a little bit embarrassed.

‘Anyway,’ he continued. ‘You are now my master… yada yada yada… three wishes… blah blah blah.’

I stood… rooted to the spot. My jaw almost hitting the rancid, hostel floor.

‘Well…’ he prompted. ‘The 3 wishes? I’m running late for the Casablanca Camel races. I have a sure thing in the second…’ He looked down at his fob watch and tapped it a couple of times.

I still couldn’t say anything.

‘Ok…’ he said. ‘I can see you’re struggling with this. Let me help you out a little bit… what do you do for a living?’

‘Ummm… I’m a recruiter.’ I replied.

‘Well how about using the wishes to make your job a little better?’

I continued to stare blankly… and he sighed loudly.

‘C’mon Einstein.’ He said. ‘If I gave you 3 recruitment wishes what would they be?’

‘Ohhhh.’ I said. ‘I see where you’re going here…’

He nodded for me to continue.

‘Well… here goes… number 1… I wish all candidates would stop lying to their recruiters and hiring managers.’

He crossed his arms, nodded his head and ‘POOF!… Done.’ He said

‘Great… I also wish that all clients would stop lying to candidates and recruiters…’

‘Your wish is my command… POOF!’

‘Ok… ok… ok.’ I said. I was really getting the hang of it now. ‘ For my final wish… I wish all recruiters would stop lying to their candidates & clients!’

‘POOF! Done.’ The genie rushed. ‘Listen thanks for making your wishes etc. but I really need to get to the races…’

‘Sure… on your way then.’ I acquiesced.

He crossed his arms and was about to blink himself away… then he looked me up and down… ‘You’re really pretty new to this aren’t you?’ he said.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked.

‘Well… you really wasted 2 very valuable wishes.’ I looked at him quizzically. ‘ I mean… why didn’t you just say that you wish nobody lied in recruitment?’

And with that… ‘POOF!’ he disappeared.

genie3But seriously… wouldn’t recruitment be soooo much better without all of the lies?

Without candidates saying… this is the only role I’m looking at… my grand mother died… I’m currently on $100k… I was in a car accident… etc.

Or clients saying… sure, I agree to your terms of business… we have a super low staff turnover rate… your candidate is still in the mix, but I just need a few days before we decide on the next step… we were already connected to your candidate via our network.

Or recruiters saying. We’ll keep your details on file and contact you when something suitable comes up… the hiring manager hasn’t got back to me yet… your expected salary is in the ball park… I have a client who has asked me to reach out to you.

Anyway, point is… nothing will change until we take the bull by the horns and do something ourselves… so recruiters… and I mean all of youeven the cowboys… raise your right hand and repeat after me…

‘I will not lie.’

There… feels better already… doesn’t it?

Craig Watson

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