Recruiters… The difference 2 conversations and a conference makes…

Here’s a thought… It’s simplistic, possibly thought provoking and definitely controversial.  It stems from 2 conversations I’ve had over the last week – one with a client, and one (would you believe) with a competitor.  It was galvanized by presenters at the R-Hub Conference I attended in Sydney last week… and then – after spending a couple of sleepless nights putting it all together – it hit me like a tonne (or ton – depending on whether you’re a metric or imperial disciple) of bricks…

I know I know I’ve built it up, and you’re probably thinking… ‘When are you going to bloody get to the point?’ or… ‘This better be bloody worth it…’ I think it is… then again I think The Spice Girls was the defining moment of 90’s pop culture… (Sorry, All Saints – you ran a close second…).

Usually, in my blog posts I tend to focus on the recruiter… Don’t wear a tie… Do know your market… Don’t be a Linked In whore… Do be a specialist… Don’t carry a compendium… blah, blah, blah

My change of direction – or epiphany if you like – (and let’s be very honest here, it will probably only last one blog post) was born out of a client meeting I attended last week… For the purposes of moving the narrative forward, I will cut out all the boring bits and focus on the important bit…

‘So, Mr. Client, how’s the market looking going into the next quarter?’ I ask.

‘Busy.’ Mr. Client replied. ‘There’s a definite positive shift in business confidence.  Our clients are telling us that there will be solid headcount growth up to the end of the financial year.  It’s all hands on deck!’

Ok, I said I was going to cut out the boring bits – I apologise…

‘I know what you mean,’ I replied. ‘Many of my clients are looking to grow as well. And to make it even more of a challenge my Senior Consultant is going home to the UK for 3 weeks in late June…’

‘What?’ Mr. Client questioned (rather ominously I hasten to add).

‘What what?’ I replied.  I know, I really have become a master wordsmith – haven’t I?

‘What do you mean you’re letting your consultant go on leave in June?  There’s no way in hell I would let any of my consultants take time off in June when I’m trying to close off the financial year – It’s just not on!”’

I could have explained to Mr. Client that my Consultant’s favourite band of all time was reuniting for a home town gig.  I could have questioned the repercussions of refusing earned leave based on business requirements.  I may even have reached out and knocked on Mr. Client’s chest to confirm my belief that there was in fact a hollow space where his heart should have been.  Instead I tucked the discussion away in my mind’s filing cabinet – under Culture…

Last week I caught up for a coffee with one of my competitors. We were discussing the market – always careful not to give away too much intelligence.  Picture two cagey tigers circling each other… no I jest… It was an amiable, but very fluffy – big picture – type discussion.  Again, I won’t bore you with the details, but somewhere in the discussion, my competitor – let’s call him… I don’t know… what about Mr. I’m not quite as good a Rec2Rec as Craig (Mr. INQAGAR2RAC)… only to protect his identity of course – came up with a thought that I thought was bloody brilliant!

‘Craig,’ Mr. INQAGAR2RAC said. ‘Let’s face it – the only real differentiator with our clients is Culture…

Wow! There you have it folks.  The holy grail – Culture! Hardly an earth shattering, history changing revelation, but it really resonated with me.

I, (as you) spend my working life matching candidates with roles within clients’ environments.  We look at skills matching, experience matching – but most of all we need to focus on culture matching.

Data presented at the R-Hub (future of recruitment in Australia) conference showed that the number one reason Recruiters (that’s you guys…), leave, or change roles is down to culture.  Not money, not training – but CULTURE.

So, I ask you – yes you – what is your work culture like?  Do you wake up every morning excited about going to work?  Does your employer really care about your well-being? Do you like your boss, and the people you work with?

If, the answer is no – pick up the phone and call me.  Yes, there are great work cultures within our industry.

And finally, to Recruitment owners out there, it is your responsibility to provide an engaging, supportive work culture. Your responsibility… Take a close look at your retention rate. Drill down further and take away redundancies and those who left due to poor performance. Ask yourself why you lost your other staff.  The answer will, almost undoubtedly lie somewhere in the fabric of your culture…

Craig Watson


2 thoughts on “Recruiters… The difference 2 conversations and a conference makes…

  1. Caroline Culshaw on Reply

    I’m in the technology industry based in San Diego and have been leading a mid-size organisation there for 10 years. So a very different sector to yours but what you say about the importance of culture to a business is crucial. I have been burnt by being impressed by a canddiate’s qualifications only to find they didn’t ‘fit-in’, and similarly taken a punt on an inexperienced candidate because they felt right… and they were. Any business leader worth their salt has culture very high up on their agenda, and it begins with YOU!
    Great read!

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