Over the years I have had some interesting reactions when answering the age-old question: “So what do you do?”
They range from “…oh… okay…” to “is that just a stop gap then?” To on occasion down right disappointment from close family members… There is rarely a positive reaction and at best a false interest.
In-fact in my younger days I found myself needing to justify why I was in recruitment at all and feeling a little embarrassed when telling others what I do.
Recruitment as an industry has long fallen into a stereotype similar to that of an Estate Agent or Car Salesman – who I have a shared healthy respect and affinity with on this topic.
Is this justified? Do I deserve this? Well I do understand that there is no smoke without fire…like all aspects of life it is easy to make judgements based on sweeping statements and opinions which are based on people’s real experiences or in some cases bad experiences.
Most people I speak to have had poor experiences if they have had to deal with recruiters at one point or another and they tend to be the things that stick! Plus – bad news tends to travel fast and of course we all like to tell our pals and that can spread.
I really should know better but I am guilty as well. I was first to have a moan to pals when looking to move house and one particular estate agency became the brunt of my frustrations regarding a delayed chain that effected our sale and prospective purchase. They were an easy target – whether rightly or wrongly. I then had a bad taste in my mouth with them specifically – for a while at least. It is just such an important thing when your family home is at stake! It is hard not to blame someone even without full justification.
In recruitment it is similar – people place high importance on their respective careers and it matters if recruiters mess this up and we are easy targets in that chain of communication within the recruitment process. Whether, in fact, it is actually the recruitment consultant that is the sole and main reason for a bad experience – I don’t know – perhaps, sometimes…yes…or no…or…a bit.
Are things starting to change – I hope so. Society is becoming more transparent and we are all more accountable because of this – I think this is helping recruitment. Regulations such as GDPR coming into effect and also recognition of member organisations such as the REC are all helping to improve service levels and perceptions. Also training and qualifications and careers paths in recruitment are improving.
I hear much more about recruitment as a chosen career path to take and I like this. I fell into recruitment as I am sure many recruiters have. We are now though 20 years down the line, and we (Churchill Howard) as a recruitment business are seeing more quality people make a conscious decision to pursue recruitment passionately as a career. Which can only change the way they respond to, “so what do you do?”
These days I’m less ashamed of telling people what I do and sometimes bore people about the way we go about it. I even take a weird enjoyment out of trying to understand and influence those that dismiss it or immediately reinforce the old stereotype – what a great guest I sound like at a dinner party!
To conclude – we ended up using the same estate agent in the end – after finding out that it was the potential buyers financial misgivings that had spiraled quickly and uncontrollably away from them which is why our original sale fell through. I am happy to say we have now moved and accepted an increased offer for our house and the estate agent delivered a great service for us – so I am glad we went back to them and I would use them again and happily recommend them to others.
Perhaps I should make this the topic of conversation over a beer with a pal next time…but let’s face it sometimes it is much more enjoyable to just have a good old moan – just make sure you have your facts straight!
Author: David Garner (Director – Churchill Howard)