I have been thinking about writing this article for a long time as I believe there are lots of misconceptions and misunderstandings about the work that a recruiter does.
I would like to address this article in three parts, the first about my personal feelings, the second about the mistruths and misconceptions and the third is how clients/candidates can help recruiters to improve what they do.
Part 1 – My thoughts and feelings
To kick things off, my personal feelings and a few realities of the role. Fact, recruitment is hard! When I say hard, I mean in terms of the emotions it can garner. If you think of a typical sales role, you have a product and you sell it to the consumer, you then make the money and both parties part ways, but in recruitment often your product is your candidate. Candidates are people and people have emotions, dreams, aspirations, and doubt and Recruiters are not people traffickers we are people who provide advice, consultation, and recommendations. Clients can change their minds, management can make split decision changes, clients can be misaligned internally about what they want/need and if you are a passive recruiter and cannot influence your client it can make a job impossible to complete.
There is a ton of organisation that is needed from the recruiter and you need to ensure that you can systematically manage everything step by step, whilst ensuring you can work on multiple roles and complete your business development. You have to wear many hats and to be successful, you must wear them well. You cannot make assumptions and everything needs to be double-checked. Arrange a call between a candidate and a client, then make sure you are on standby to ensure that they are connected. Send a candidate to a remote location, make sure you have gone through Google Maps with them on how to get there on time. Candidates seem keen to change roles, ensure you have gone through the scenario of resignation in detail. Clients give you a flexible budget, ensure that your candidate fits into this, clarify expectations, make sure they are realistic; the list goes on and on.
Hiring decisions are not made by recruiters and we are the ultimate middlemen. In effect, recruiters can do everything right and still fail; this role is not for the faint-hearted. There are ways you can minimize this and at RLC we work with are clients closely to ensure that the contracts we sign are flexible to the client’s needs whilst ensuring the relationship is win-win. Nobody wants to work for free!
Disappointment is a key emotion that needs to be managed. To share one of my early experiences where I learnt a lot, I remember the time my client wanted me to hire a CEO and they gave me an open budget to get one passive candidate I had identified. My initial face to face meeting went extremely well and I was able to open the candidate to the role. The candidate was considering a new career move but he wasn’t going to move unless my client was willing to pay him 1 million Baht in monthly salary.
Great news, my client was willing to pay and I was excited. This candidate went through 2 rounds of interview and was enthusiastic, so he told me about joining the company. I made the number 1 mistake a recruiter can make; I counted the placement before it was made. My mind was racing and I thought about the fact that this placement would effectively complete 1/3 of my yearly financial target. To cut a long story short, this candidate was not placed and, in the end, I placed a candidate earning over half that salary. This taught me so much about recruitment but that burning disappointment never left me. Now when I work on a role I will not think about the success until my client has paid the invoice.
“You must celebrate the wins!”
When a deal has been completed and lots of hard work has gone into making it happen, no matter how big or small the win maybe it must be celebrated. One of my staff recently came to me disappointed because the role that she had placed was only just over 100,000 Baht. She felt as if she had failed and when I laughed and congratulated her, she was surprised. At the end of the month I took my 2 teams for dinner and drinks to celebrate the month that we had had and drown our sorrows for the roles that could have been. In recruitment you can chase the purple unicorn of the huge placements but ultimately just make a placement and the rest will sort itself out. Hit that gong! It is a great feeling when you can be successful.
My favorite part of recruitment is solving complex hiring challenges. Any experienced recruiter will tell you that often, the client’s expectations can be unrealistic. I enjoy working with these clients to discuss the market, learning about their organisation, their needs, the company culture, and realigning them on what is available in the market. The best part about all of this is when you can provide a candidate to a client who they would not necessarily expect to match but exceeds expectations.
A recent example of this is when I was asked to place a Sales Director role. I learned the client’s business very well and was able to identify someone from a completely different industry who had all the characteristics of the company with none of the experience. When the client met this candidate, the chemistry was immediate and I am happy to say this candidate is now pretty successful in their new role. To top this off the client was impressed with a second candidate from my shortlist and was able to offer that person another role in the organization. I was also able to work with the client on the payment of these invoices. As you can imagine the fees were quite high and for a company to take out this much would severely affect their cashflow. By working side by side, we were able to provide a solution that benefited both parties. None of this would have been possible if my client wasn’t open to my guidance and if I didn’t work for a company that puts candidates and clients at the forefront of our thoughts.
“This is a people business!”
If you don’t like talking to new people this is a job which will be very difficult for you. You must be brave and make the first move. If you are questioning why you are calling someone too much expect the same thoughts from the person on the other end of the phone. If you are confident that you can help to solve someone’s problems then have no fear. I am proud to be a recruiter and value my relationships with my clients and candidates the most. I will always call rejected candidates to tell them why it didn’t work out. I will question my client if I think that they are making a wrong decision and will go out of my way to meet people face to face to strengthen my relationships further.
Finally, this role is not a 9 to 5 job. If you want to be truly successful then forget about leaving the office at 5 pm every day. You must be able to deal with problems at 8 pm in the evening and interview candidates on a Saturday morning. You must be willing to go that extra mile to achieve your targets because if recruitment was easy then everyone would do it! Work hard, be diligent, be organized, and have fun doing it.
Please read Part 2 coming soon!