So anyway… I was at a party recently. I found myself talking to an Accountant… I’m not going to prejudice this blog by applying sweeping generalisations like… ummm… Accountants aren’t boring people… they just get excited about boring things.
Let’s just say the conversation was about as interesting as a sightseeing bus on the Nullabor. So interesting in fact, my wife had flitted away from us very very early on..
‘I’ll go and get you another drink and find us something to nibble on.’ She smiled. But her eyes were saying something very different. ‘You’re on your own – sucker!’
The Accountant and I – let’s call him… ummm… Eugene… continued to make small talk for the next few minutes… weather… he didn’t care much for the sun… sport… he didn’t care much for sport… wine… he didn’t care much for alcohol… a few prolonged moments of silence ensued… then…
‘So Craig,’ he pontificated. ‘What do you do for a living?’
‘Oh, I’m in recruitment.’ I replied. My eyes scanning the party for my wife, hoping – no praying – I was going to be saved… or at least she had secured a plate of arancini balls and a fresh beer for me…
Excuse me? I thought. ‘Excuse me?’ I said… with maybe a slight hint of confusion – or unbridled anger – in my voice.
‘Don’t get me wrong,’ he preached. Don’t worry buddy,I won’t get you wrong. I’m not even going to get you a beer, or an arancini ball. By the way – where’s my wife?
‘I just don’t see the difference.’ He continued. Dismissively waving his hands in the air.
‘Well Eugene,’ I countered… in a very measured tone. ‘I’m not sure who you speak with when you are looking for a new role, but I’ve been in the industry for 20 years now, and I’m fairly sure I have a pretty good grasp of how it works. In my experience I’ve never come across any recruitment consultant who travels to a far away country to kidnap a bunch of candidates, then sails to the new world (or if there’s no wind has his new candidates whip out the oars and row), and then auctions off these candidates to the highest bidder with no regard for their welfare. So to be quite honest Eugene… and don’t get me wrong… I’m pretty, bloody offended by what you just said!’
Point is this. It is easy, very easy to make generalisations about industries, people and situations. Eugene clearly had had a bad experience with a recruitment consultant – maybe more than one bad experience. And now he has formed an opinion – a very negative one – based on his experience. It’s dangerous, and it’s wrong.
In the recruitment game we have all had a bad experience with a candidate who’s let us down, or a client who has stuffed us around. It has happened and it will continue to happen. We are dealing with humans and everyone is different…
My advice though is don’t make generalisations, don’t expect every candidate to be dodgy, or every client to be dishonest… most aren’t.
You will enjoy your time in the recruitment industry much more if you are positive in your relationships, believe what you are being told and work with a strong code of ethics. Sure you will be disappointed from time to time – even surprised with some behaviour. But the unpredictability of what we do is a major part of its charm…
And, if you want an uneventful, predictable… dare I say it… boring career… go work in a library… or… maybe… as an Accountant.