Recruitment - An industry of bad eggs or just a tarnished perception

Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2017 by Venn GroupNo comments

Recruitment is an industry that seems to lay under a dark cloud, when I was an in house recruiter people seemed invested in finding out more about what I do. For the last 3 years I have been working in Recruitment consultancy and somehow I get judged without the explanation. LinkedIn, social media and blogging have provided a platform for an expression of opinions, thoughts and also rants. As we are all aware people love a dig at the sales guys, and I am sure some of us deserve it.

But is it fair to boycott an industry based on one bad experience?

Looking at buying behaviours is probably the way to get to the bottom of the issue, let’s be topical and use political canvassing as an example. On the run up to the elections, most Saturdays, normally before 10am, I will have representatives of political parties knocking on my door campaigning. Some Saturdays I give them the time of day, other Saturday’s I see them outside and ignore them. Other Saturdays I will speak with them, they will say something that irritates me or perhaps be a bit too cheerful for an 08:30am weekend wakeup call, and I will be short and close the door on them.

Why do I behave that way?

Well on the days when I give them time is generally when it is of interest to me. It may be just after the manifestos have come out for the party that I was thinking of voting for, so I’m keen to gain more information. In essence I do it when I perceive there to be a benefit for me, or they quickly provide me with a potential. Transposing this over to recruitment- I call people on a regular basis, when I have a topic of interest (believe it or not, not just recruitment, at the moment I have a keen interest in the differences between Visual Analytics products in healthcare) I find I can have a constructive conversation that benefits both parties and ergo we both have a good conversation.

On the days I ignore the canvassers, it is usually because I have better things to do, I am too stressed, or potentially had a late night, so politics isn’t the flavour of the day. In itself it isn’t rude; equally it doesn’t stop them knocking on my door again. This isn’t a bad experience, purely a neutral response. Switching back to recruitment this is the same as someone seeing an unknown number or my office number calling and deciding to ignore the call.

The Saturdays I speak with them and they irritate me, or are calling at what I deem to be unsociable hours and I am rude or cut the conversation short, this is due to perception of the call. This is me making the judgement that the call is an invasion of my privacy or inappropriate. The content of their conversation is no different than the other days, we have got off on the wrong foot and now both sides have had a bad experience. Changing to recruitment, this is when I call you in between meetings or just as you are about to leave or on a day where your deputy has just had a bad appraisal and it is a bad day, so sometimes you hang up on me, sometimes you swear, sometimes you threaten to blacklist me. My intentions were never to have a negative impact but it has and I can’t pre-empt that or change it.

When I do have a bad experience with the political canvassers, I wouldn’t tar every other political canvasser with the same brush. Yes, I may speak out to a couple of friends but I wouldn’t lose respect for those individuals or that industry because there will always be the occasional bad egg. Transposing this over to recruitment, everyone has a bad day, we are human, we make mistakes and yes, you may have dealt with some cowboys. Please keep in mind that we are not all replicas of each other, no two companies are the same. We are in an era of fake news and overexpression, please don’t boycott or judge an industry based on hearsay or a bad experience. If there are frequent occurrences of a behaviour you don’t like, communicate, let us know, let us grow and adapt.

Zoe Cunnington, Venn Group

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