Recruitment… it’s all about the show!

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Two recruiters meet in a coffee shop (where else !)…

Recruiter 1”So, how is business?”

Recruiter 2”Amazing. We have just had our record month. ”

Recruiter 1”Us too… and next month is looking even better”

Recruiter 3 (sitting at the next table)…”Same here”

Recruiter 4 (sitting with Recruiter 3)… “And me”

Whole coffee shop in unison (because they are all recruiters) … “Me too”

 *****

I speak to a lot of recruiters in my line of work and sometimes it feels like everyone is having a record month… every month. It reminds me a bit of being back at school when everyone was apparently having sex (or at least doing some heavy petting). Even the geeks who would congregate around the stairwell playing dungeons and dragons… yep, they were also getting their fair share… apparently. I hear “record month” so often that I generally take it with a pinch of salt. It becomes difficult to believe anyone when a CEO tells you they have just had another ‘record month’… and then have the administrators at their door the next day.

I don’t know what it is about the recruitment industry that we seem pre-disposed to be always painting an ‘over the top’ picture of our success. Maybe it is because our industry has been built on a culture of sales, of being the best and always winning… and if you are not actually being successful, make sure you are making out that you are… It’s all about the show!

Over the last 18 months we have seen a series of spectacular collapses in the industry, most of which were proceeded by positive chat. Crappy figures, profit downgrades and diminishing revenues were spun out in press release as something more positive. Even at the edge of the cliff these companies were still talking a good game.

Obviously every business wants to market itself in the most positive light possible. Nothing wrong with that – I do it with my own business. But in the highly competitive world of recruitment, where the green eyed monster lives large, and everyone wants to be number one, it is sometimes difficult to know where the truth starts and the lies finish… like accepting a new job with all the promises in the world, and then finding your new employer has gone bust two weeks after starting. Surely more ‘fraud’ than ‘positive marketing’!

It’s tough out there in the modern recruitment world. Not everyone is doing well. And maybe those that aren’t would benefit from being a bit more honest about that. That would be a good first step on the road to recovery… rather than just trying to keep the show going.

 

Luke Collard

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