‘The key to this business is personal relationships.’ Suddenly, it was all pretty clear. The answer was fewer clients. Less money. More attention. Caring for them, caring for ourselves and the games, too.’ Jerry Maguire
Wow! Anyone who has watched this movie cannot help but understand the power or Jerry Maguire’s moment or realisation, his epiphany, the stark contrast between the way it actually is, and the way it should be.
So what has this got to do with recruitment? Okay, I know that many of you are fortunate enough to either be a conscientious and caring recruiter who really raises the bar, goes out of your way to deliver and exceed expectations, or be the client of such a recruiter. To quote Jerry Maguire again:
‘I am out here for you. You don’t know what it’s like to be ME out here for YOU. It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, ok?’
I’m sure that plenty of recruiters who read this will relate to it, you like me will be the people who work on Sunday’s to have those conversations with those highly desirable candidates that are so perfect for your client but for that very same reason don’t have an hour free during the working week to talk about other opportunities.
But the truth of the matter is that much of the industry isn’t like this. The sad realisation of this is that for many recruiters the difference between being exceptional and keeping your job presents something of a dichotomy, a conflict of interest even between how you want to work and how you have to work. Much of this is determined by the culture of your organisation that is KPI driven or possibly even the reality that the kind of business and client base that you have is focused on dumbing down the whole recruitment process. In many cases it isn’t your fault. You are driven to fill vacancies. The more vacancies you fill, the more revenue you earn the business. Your success in the organisation is not focused on delivering exceptional quality. It is focused on delivering volume.
Hands up, how many of us have worked alongside that ‘big biller’ who has never sold anything? Who knows a fellow recruiter who could not consult their own way out of a revolving door and has no idea how to tailor or bespoke a recruitment solution? They probably manage a handful of PSL accounts, have a conversion ratio of filling 3 out of 10 vacancies and rarely if ever truly speak to a hiring manager, get under the skin of the hiring organisation and faithfully and wholeheartedly represent the client and the candidate with everyone’s best intentions at heart? Hell, I know recruiters who bill a quarter of a million £ + year in year out and have never met a candidate face to face and only meet the hiring organisation when they do an annual review.
There are exceptions of course, lots of them. But the image of a sweat shop, boiler room type environment with ringing bells every time a candidate accepts an offer in some office block close to Canary Wharf is probably closer to the reality than the exception.
Interestingly I am willing to wager that more recruitment training meetings use excerpts from movies like Boiler Room and Wall St or video training sessions with the dinosaurs such as Steve Finkle than Jerry Maguire. What does that say about our industry? Is your recruiter more likely to have this embedded as their motivational corporate culture, essentially their primary focus being hitting monthly KPI’s for short term personal and corporate gain or delivering exquisite customer satisfaction?
Guess what though? The whole populous of the recruitment universe have actively engaged in creating this situation. When you demand less for less the result is a race to the bottom and generally sediment leaves a pretty sour taste in the mouth and can ruin even the most desirable wine.