Recruiters – who the heck do you think you are ?

who-are-you-question-bd6a711It wasn’t that long ago that if you worked in recruitment there were essentially just a couple of types of jobs you could do. You were either a Temp Consultant or a Perm Consultant. Of course there were managers of some description, and in bigger companies you would find the odd internal trainer or quality manager and possibly a BDM or two. But in terms of recruiters, basically just temp or perm.

And apart from some subtle differences the job would not vary much from one business to the next.  You turned up to the office every day, ran a desk, developed new clients, interviewed candidates, filled jobs, attend client meetings, had targets and KPIs, etc.…

But if you got ten “Recruitment Consultants” in a room today and asked them to describe their jobs, you could be forgiven for thinking that they don’t do the same thing at all.

Some are focused purely on delivery and rarely speak to a client, let alone make a sales call. They may be employed just to manage a specific client and spend all day just interviewing, writing reports and doing admin. For others it is the opposite and the focus of their job is to develop new business. They may not even actually do any recruiting anymore and not interviewed a candidate for years. These days some may not even work in the agency office at all, but on site at the client’s workplace. And so on…

So it surprises me that recruiters are often still all chucked into the same pot. Sure there are a range of new job titles that have entered the market over the years. But I suspect more driven by a desire to just sound a bit different, make a role sound a bit more fancy, or in some cases to just avoid having the word ‘recruitment’ in the title (which I really don’t get).

The time has come to decide what type of recruiter you are:

Are you the gun sales person who could flog used cars to Arthur Daley but really cannot be bothered filing roles anymore?

Or does the thought of making another cold call fill you with dread, but ask you to interview ten people a day and you are happy?

Do you hate having a financial target over your head, or do you love the thrill of the chase, the competition and of course the commission that comes with it?

Only when you have defined what type of recruiter you are, can you properly manage your career. Too often I see recruiters who seem to have developed multiple recruitment personalities during their career. They have moved from a sales focused recruitment role, to a service role, then back to sales role, then moved sectors,  gone from volume recruitment to executive search, then have done a ‘stop-gap’ contract in an RPO, followed by an internal gig, and now are looking for “a recruitment job of some sort!!! Who the heck are you !!!!

Regardless of what some people will tell you, in my opinion, one type is not better than the other. There is a place for all types of recruiters (although in tough economic times, some will be more in favour than others).  Sales guns, service guns, talent hunters, corporate types, industrial types, high achievers driven by money, steady eddies driven by a steady income and work life balance. Whatever type of recruiter you are, be proud of it. But firstly recognise what you are.

Luke Collard


14 thoughts on “Recruiters – who the heck do you think you are ?

  1. cindyhfrench on Reply

    Luke I had no idea what kind of post you were going to write,but I just finished giving what for to a recruiter who is “talking and explaining the lies that recruiters tell you!” I”m sorry but I was taught to tell the truth and I have found that it is the best way in the long run in dealing with anybody.. I ve got lot’s fo reasons for feeling and responding as I do, but back in the day when it meant something to be a CPC or in my Company MRI it means something to be a CSAM –YOU TAKE THE SAME KIND OF TESTING-and I would bet that not one of my fellow CSAMS would agree with the 4 lies that recruiters l tell. I thought we had graduated to a first rate profession. What do you think?

    1. lukecollard on Reply

      Hi CIndy – thanks for taking the time to comment. Have to say that with respect, I am not really sure what you are talking about ???? Sorry – don’t mean to be rude. Can you put it differently and I can respond. Thanks Luke

  2. John on Reply

    Hi Luke – I also do not understand what Cindy is trying to say. I have never heard of “the 4 lies recruiters tell”. As a recruiter 20+ years I strongly object to that statement. Cindy perhaps has a problem understanding recruiters. She certainly has difficulty explaining herself in English. John

  3. Bruno Marinelli on Reply

    I think Cindy would score very well at scrabble! I run a medium sized recruitment business on the east coast of the States, and we are increasingly seeing this move to niche, more specialised services. I think it is a natural progression for the industry – it will help us provide a more valuable service to our clients, and importantly retain and attract talented staff. But we also need to ensure we dont let people run before they can walk. Typically we recurit young graudates who undergo an initial 2 year training contract across all disciplines, before they, or we, choose where to specialise, typically in the areas you mention Luke. Really like your blogs by the way Luke – any plans to come over stateside – be great if you could talk to some of us here about your experiences and idea.

  4. Jay on Reply

    Recruitment is a shambles at the moment, all recruiters (and I deal with many) are KPI measured and in this market with more candidates than vacancies and the reluctance of most companies to pay the silly fees once demanded by our industry the competition is fierce.

    For me there are only one types of consultants
    – one that is driven by self preservation – anything to get result often to the detriment of candidates!!!
    – the very rare recruiter that operates with integrity and the candidates interests at heart. These guys are a fast dying breed.

  5. Adam Blaney on Reply

    Hi Luke – Some really good points here. I think with any industry now you get this. People who sit on Twitter and Linkedin all day are now called Social Media Experts. I think because the recruitment industry has grown so much that it almost makes the people recruiting over value themselves and come up with these pretencious titles.

  6. katie sutcliffe on Reply

    Hi Luke – I agree and it’s the age old tradition of Hunter v’s Gatherer. Traditionally you are one or the other. The Hunter is the target driven, sales person and the Gatherer is the resourcer. I have found that for a business to work, you need a healthy mix of both.

  7. Ed Thorpe on Reply

    Recruiters are people too. You have good and bad recruiters. I’ve been recruiting over 20 years. As a recruitment manager I can tell you that if I find one of my recruiters being less than truthful with a potential employee, that would not go well for the recruiter. When I started recruiting I worked for a headhunting org. in Silicon Valley. It was a part of the business to lie, steel and do whatever it took to fill the req.. I lasted 1 year in that hell. I finally left because I couldn’t do it anymore. I knew I loved being a recruiter from the start, but I knew I wouldn’t be around for long if I l lied to my candidates. I beleive in being truthful from the start and it has always severed me well.

  8. Fish and Chips on Reply

    This post really hit a nail for me. I don’t know what kind of recruiter I am.

    “Are you the gun sales person who could flog used cars to Arthur Daley but really cannot be bothered filing roles anymore?” – No that doesn’t apply to me

    “Or does the thought of making another cold call fill you with dread, but ask you to interview ten people a day and you are happy?” – Yes sometimes I get nervous when coldcalling some folk but when I talk to lots of people I am really happy.

    “Do you hate having a financial target over your head, or do you love the thrill of the chase, the competition and of course the commission that comes with it?” – Money has never really motivated me (Am i weird?) but it’s more like the targets that I have to reach that really gets me worked up and then commission that comes with it feels like an extra bonus.

    Having said that I really don’t know what kind of recruiter I am

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