5 Recruitment Career Killers…

I meet with a number of Recruitment Consultants every week who are looking to move on from their current position, or step up to their next opportunity… I probably speak with a further 10, or more on the phone….
And, to be perfectly honest I’m lucky if I meet with one a week who I consider a good, old fashioned ‘A’ Candidate
It’s not to say that these candidates are not fantastic on paper… On paper most of these candidates look great…. On paper most of these candidates would walk into roles with the best agencies…. On paper most of these candidates lead me to squeal with delight (not like a little girl, but squeal with delight and dignity), and jump straight on the phone…
But, as you all know – what often looks good on paper has the tendency to bite you on the bum and inject you with a reality hit.

Unfortunately, it seems some Consultants (and I do stress some), believe their own hype to the point of hilarity. If they were a lollipop I’m sure they would enjoy giving themselves a jolly good licking… The difference between expectation and reality in the market sometimes really is quite amazing.

You would expect that most Recruitment Consultants have a good understanding of what is required to be successful and what the market is looking for – you really would expect that…wouldn’t you?
Regrettably this doesn’t seem to be the case…

So what I have outlined below – in no particular order, and for those who live in a make believe land of Fairy Floss, Oompa Loompa’s and Talking (HR PufnStuf kinda) Trees – are 5 very basic Recruitment Career Killers.

1. ‘I don’t want to do any sales’ Excuse me?…. Did I hear you correctly? Don’t want to do Sales??? This is becoming a more and more common demand when speaking with prospective candidates. The truth is Recruitment is a sales based industry. If you don’t like it I suggest you find a role outside of the industry. Sure, there are candidate only roles, but the ceiling for career advancement is very low. And yes, there are the occasional Account Management roles, but these are very rare and believe me – you will still have to sell to hiring managers and organically grow the Account.

2. ‘I’d like an Internal or In-house role’ Picture me burying my face in my hands and letting out a deep and guttural wail… I have nothing at all against internal roles, but Recruitment Consultants should be aware of these facts.
a. If you wish to make the migration to an internal environment, do it when the world economy is more stable. During times of economic uncertainty Corporates tend to downsize their internal recruitment function and outsource to agencies – so instead of this being a burgeoning market, in the current economic state of play it is shrinking…
b. A desire to move to an internal/in-house environment is often perceived by the market as a gesture of a ‘burnt out’ Consultant.
c. Internal Recruitment is not that easy! You are measured on placement success, time to placement and you can not hide from your clients – ever!
d. If you migrate to Internal/In-house and then look to return to agency recruitment at a later date, you will probably find that the agency world is not all that welcoming. A stint in-house does not necessarily look good on your cv.

3. Short stints at many Agencies. Oh sure, there are always reasons for your short tenure – made redundant during GFC, management issues, the role wasn’t what was presented to me during interview, I moved for family reasons, blah, blah, blah…. And sure, our industry is notorious for turnover – I’ve often said that 1 year in recruitment roughly equates to the same as dogs’ years. So 2 years with the same employer is about 14 years of loyal service in most other industries…. Unfortunately, clients don’t see it the same way and may forgive 1, possibly even 2 strikes – but 3?

4. ‘I will need to use a colleague as a referee.’ This one is probably more relevant to Consultants who have been in the industry for a number of years. It both surprises and dismays me as to how often I come up against this one. From a client’s perspective there is really no excuse for not being able to come up with 2 credible referees – and by that I mean managers you reported directly to, or clients you had a commercial relationship with.

5. ‘I’m on $65,000 now, so I’ll want $80,000 to move.’ Wow! You want a $15k increase in salary to move roles…. Let me ask you a question… Why do you deserve a 20% increase in your base salary, and are you really aware of what the market is paying? The simple facts are that yes, there was a time pre- mid 2008 when a substantial increase in base salaries to move roles within recruitment was par for the course. Agencies learnt a lot from the GFC and one of the most valuable lessons was that base salaries were over-inflated. Consultants should be looking at their ability to earn and OTE, rather than base salary alone.

Recruitment is a very strange profession – no-one goes to school with the intention of being a recruiter when they grow up… And we really are setting the rules as we go along. But to be honest it’s really not that difficult… Think about what you expect from your candidates – the transparency, honesty, realistic expectations, and understanding of their market. Then, if you engage a rec-to-rec to help you secure your next opportunity, offer them the same courtesy…


About Craig Watson rec-to-rec

My 15 years experience in the commercial recruitment industry has allowed me to form deep and successful networks. Until now the Rec2Rec industry has failed to deliver adequately to its clients. The simple solution is that I will respond to your specific business requirements by understanding them. My philosophy is less Rec2Rec and more Rec4Rec. In my Training and HR business I hve worked with some of the largest organisations in Asia Pacific - providing HR strategic consulting aligning people and culture needs with commercial requirements. I have a proven background in Rec2Rec, HR Strategic Management, Career Training and Recruitment, Senior Management (National Level) with extensive People Management and Training/Mentoring experience. Over a career spanning 15 Years I have gained my experience at HMS (UK), Adecco, Hallis, Drake, Accel and most recently my own venture - HeadStart. I am at cutting edge of Rec2Rec, Training, HR and Recruitment best practice - with additional experience in Organisational Development, Retention, Reward and Recognition Initiatives. In the current recruitment industry landscape of various cultures, expectations and job descriptions, allow me to help you in navigating your next career move. I have consulted to leading organisations as to HR solutions strategy across a breadth of industries - aligning expectation with reality.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to 5 Recruitment Career Killers…

  1. Wise words indeed Craig….

  2. Doug K says:

    Hah, Craig it’s a good article. I wouldn’t have the patience to work rec2rec I think. I imagine recruiters would actually make the most demanding candidates. In addition, surely a good recruiter should always be good on paper and in person? They spend significant amounts of time each week highlighting to people tips on cv writing and interview prep! Also, and slightly off topic, why would a great recruiter need a rec2rec? It’s like a mechanic taking his car to another garage to fix it! If they can’t even find themselves a good job (i.e. strong motivation) then how on earth will they find a candidate a role. Perhaps that could be point 6…

    • Hi Doug,
      I agree with the first part of your post. Rec Cons, can sometimes be a very challenging group as candidates – they have strong opinions and believe they implicitly know their industry – but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it.
      In terms of your second point there are a thousand reasons why recruiters use the services of reputable rec-to-recs – just as an Accountant with a fantastic network and great personal brand may engage a recruiter to represent them to market. Put simply it is our business to understand and really ‘know’ the market. who are the best companies, where a particular skill set will work best, and career progression opportunities. Even the best recruiters do not have access to that information….

  3. Doug K says:

    In certain circumstances it will benefit the recruiter, I completely agree. I am not anti rec2rec, far from it. I would say that if a recruiter is completely changing industry/sector or relocating then absolutely as they will not know ‘that’ market. If they are moving within their discipline/area of expertise and locally it’s probably laziness or even worse they are just rubbish. I’m sure they over use the cliche ‘I’m too busy to search’. By your own admission above, many of the people you meet don’t blow you away, only one in ten so perhaps my perspective is valid. The one out of ten that is good, which category do they fall in, relocators or local? A recruiter should know their markets well, who’s hiring, firing, has a good or bad reputation and have an extensive peer network. A great, not good, recruiter knows their clients, candidates & competitors! They should also have the skill to find themselves their dream job armed with the above. Surely they, irrespective of how closely they work with a rec2rec professional, will always have a 1st hand and more indepth knowledge of the jobseeker (i.e. them) if they represent themselves…

    • Hi Doug,
      In my humble opinion you are over-simplyfying to the extreme. You say recruiters ‘should know their markets well, who’s hiring, firing, has a good or bad reputation and have an extensive peer network. A great, not good, recruiter knows their clients, candidates & competitors! They should also have the skill to find themselves their dream job armed with the above…’ How do these recruiters know commission structures, career succession, KPI’s. billing expectation, internal culture etc.?
      The only way they have access to most of this information is via a connected and respected agent (rec-to-rec). As mentioned in my previous post, by your logic a suitably intelligent and networked Accountant, who knows ‘who’s hiring, firing, has a good or bad reputation’ would be able to represent themselves to the market… We probably need to agree to disagree on the value of a good and reputable rec-to-rec to a recruitment consultant.

  4. Doug K says:

    As you say, ‘we may have to agree to disagree’. Your point “…How do these recruiters know commission structures, career succession, KPI’s. billing expectation, internal culture etc.?
    The only way they have access to most of this information is via a connected and respected agent (rec-to-rec)…” seems a little bias. I presume you do not work in or have not worked in all of your client’s businesses? Therefore, how do you know? Surely the same way a good recruiter will, ask the right questions during the process. I do value rec2rec’s and they clearly have a part to play in the sourcing strategies of recruitment businesses. I personally used a rec2rec when relocating to Australia and had a very professional experience and a good outcome. Personally though, if I were looking to move on locally I would do this directly…

    • Doug,
      We seem to be talking in circles…..I also presume that you ‘do not work in or have not worked in all of your client’s businesses?’ Yet you represent your candidates to them on the knowledge you have garnered in relation to commission structures, career succession, KPI’s. billing expectation, internal culture etc.? (Obviously, as well as the technical skills and competencies around the role) What you’re saying really doesn’t make sense to me as what I do for my candidates, is exactly what you do for yours….

  5. Michelle says:

    Fantastic post Craig! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. As a former Recruiter and with friends still in the industry, the points you raised made me laugh because this is EXACTLY what many of them want/say! I wish they could all read this post before starting their job search.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s