A New Year reflection

OK so this is a bit different to previous blogs I’ve written but it’s January and I’m feeling cathartic. Maybe it’s also because I’ve finally reached the required level of grey hairs to be considered a veteran of the recruitment industry or maybe I just think we should all stop to consider how others feel once in a while.

I don’t mind admitting that I’ve worked within talent acquisition for over 20 years now and that my outlook on my profession these days is very different to what it was when it all began. It’s fair to say that I’ve never really been comfortable with most of the world’s perception of the agency recruiter I once was – money driven, arrogant, shallow etc. There will be those that don’t like to hear that but I’m willing to bet that most people have their preferred recruiters they trust and everyone else falls in their eyes into that perception bracket.

In my mid-20’s to me and most of my colleagues, a candidate was a fee more than they were a person. Most of the work we carried out was retained and we’d contact the same old candidates for any new roles, knowing that they were never going to secure the position but also knowing that they’d make our preferred candidate look better in the eyes of the interviewer. This in turn making the clients decision easier and we’d make our money.

We very rarely considered the feelings of those candidates who were left with the same rejection feedback every time. What did we care? We’d made our fee and hit our target and we’d already moved onto the following month.

But what about those candidates that were left at the start line? How did they feel? Did we ever consider the time they had taken to prepare, the hours spent researching the company, their nerves on the lead up to the interview, the fact that they bought a new outfit to impress. What did we do to help them? Nothing if I’m honest. It’s not that I personally didn’t care, I did and I hated having to give bad news to anyone – most recruiters do – but it didn’t stop me calling them next time for the next shortlist and justifying it by telling myself “I might be wrong about them”.

There’s a lot of really great work being put into the issues of mental health these days, way more than there was back then and this is starting to transcend into the recruitment industry. It’s fantastic to see that people are starting to consider others more – dare I say ahead of profit and progression.

I operate very, very differently these days. For me a little empathy and dare I say kindness goes a long way. I do my best to cut out the bullshit, to be as honest as I can be and measure my success less on the money I make and more on the impact I have on people’s lives.

I’m way off perfect and I’m sure I have contacts on LinkedIn who will vouch for that. I just think we should all strive to think about how we can impact others with our words and actions, whether it makes us money or not.

These are my personal views but I know they will reflect our culture at Blue Zebra. Yes we are a commercial organisation and we will strive to grow the profits of all of our clients – but not at any cost.

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