Recruitment advice for my younger self…

advice1‘Run for the f&*king hills!!! I mean it… step the hell away from this godforsaken career choice you stupid… stupid boy! Don’t fall into it… Don’t give it a try… Don’t believe it when you meet that education recruitment consultant who tells you that you would make a better recruiter than teacher… not to mention the nudge nudge wink wink money to be made… Just turn around… and leave!’

C’mon… as if I mean that. I love recruitment. It has been part of my life for more than 20 years. Why would anyone choose to stay in the same industry if they didn’t love it… right?… right?


Seriously though recruitment is the most exciting, frustrating, befuddling, rewarding and… ummm… ummm… fulfilling career path. I love it… I really do.

But. I would be lying if I said I have done everything right. I would be fibbing if I said I could not have been a helluva lot better if I’d had some real… sage advice from the outset… and I’d be a fool if I thought I knew everything there is to know about recruitment now… or ever.

advice2But… what I know now is… well… a lot… so Craig Watson (circa 1996) here’s some advice for you…

  1. Understand that your desk is a business – If you don’t get this basic premise about recruitment… you will never succeed. To put it even more simply you need to be billing at least 3 x your base salary package otherwise you are a failing recruiter.
  2. You have 2 sets of clients – That’s right 2 sets of clients. Too many recruiters place all their energy… all their effort… and all their niceness into their relationships with clients. Your candidates are just as (sometimes) more important… and they are your clients too.
  3. Ask questions – The simple biggest mistake recruiters make is not to ask enough questions… to both candidates and clients… at every stage of the process. Don’t be afraid of the answer. It took me many… many years to learn that I would prefer to know a placement is not going to happen as early as possible, rather than be afraid and not ask questions. Time in our profession is too valuable a commodity.
  4. Embrace the roller coaster – If you haven’t got the guts to go on the scary rides at the theme park then recruitment is not for you. There will be more highs and lows in your recruitment day than in a midgets (is that the politically correct term?) versus giants lacrosse match. It is all about embracing these extremes… if you can’t… look for another career.
  5. advice3Be Nice – No-one likes an arsehole. No-one likes a cheating lying, manipulative cockroach. If that’s what you are… there is no place for you in our industry. Sometimes… well… most times recruitment gets a bad wrap. Sure there are some real lowlifes calling themselves recruiters… but on the whole the vast majority care about doing the right So be nice… be professional… be respectful. Don’t perpetuate the myth… champion the reality.

When I was young I didn’t have the capacity to remember masses of information. Those of us who have been around recruitment for awhile would know there are probably 133 other pieces of additional advice to give… but 20 (something) year old Craig just wouldn’t be able to retain it all. So for now… I’ll stop at 5…

But that doesn’t mean you have to… I’d love to hear the recruitment advice you would give your younger self… it may even help those in our industry just starting out… go on… pay it forward!

Craig Watson


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