Recruiters…time for a reality check?

ImageI have one golden rule as a recruiter. Candidates know themselves better than I know them. On that basis I firmly believe that everyone is responsible for his or her own career choices and who they decide to work for. I avoid phrases like ‘the best company in the market’, because how can any company be ‘the best’? It’s all down to individual preferences, and what suits Arthur might not suit Martha.

However, there are some broad guidelines that I encourage my candidates to consider in an employer:

Do they embrace social media…and I don’t mean do they use LinkedIn and have a Twitter account. Do they have a real strategy around social media? Is it at the heart of the business? Are you encouraged to play around with the many tools available? Does your business have a blog?

Work / life balance…it is a term thrown around like confetti at a 80s wedding but how genuine is it? Call it whatever you want, but for me it is more than having an early Friday finish and being given your birthday off. It is about a mindset and whether the fact that your have a life outside of work is recognised. Do eyes roll when you need a few hours off to attend your child’s school play, or are you made to feel like a slacker if you like to leave on time?

Specialisation…. there is a difference between calling yourself a specialist and actually being a specialist. Some talk about it and others live and breathe it. In my opinion it is not simply enough to say ‘we specialise in accounting recruitment’ and then have nothing sitting behind that statement. What is your business doing about being a specialist? Are they investing the time, money and effort required, or just saying it?

Leadership…this is hard to define because good leadership can take many forms (and again what suits one person doesn’t necessarily suit another in terms of a manager’s leadership style). But if you look at your manager and are thinking “What they hell do you do?”…”Would we really be worse off without you?”…or …”How the heck did you get that job?”…. then there is your answer.

Training…is your personal development being given proper attention, and more than a token annual review that gets forgotten as soon as you have sat back at your desk?  Does your business give you opportunities to become better at your job…and when you ask for training in a certain area are you taken seriously?

Service over sales…are you still working in an overly KPI, sales driven, chuck enough mud at the wall, Arthur Daley style agency with little regard for quality? Not what is pitched to the outside world on the company website, but the day-to-day reality.

Each to their own and far be it from anyone to tell you what is best for you…but it might be a good idea to take a step back and look at the company you are working for with these things in mind. Equally so if you are running a recruitment business. If at least four out of these six boxes are not being ticked, and really they should all be being ticked, then it might be time for a bit of a reality check.  As much as anything, with the way recruitment is heading, if these things are missing the business might not even be around this time next year. We are already seeing evidence of that.

I won’t be as self-serving to say give me a call, although please feel free…. just some food for thought.

Luke Collard


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