Let me start off this blog by saying that when I started writing these a few months ago, I wasn’t sure how they would sound, and whether anyone would be interested in reading them. The one thing that people tell you when you start a blog is that you shouldn’t start one unless you mean to continue. I wasn’t sure whether I would have enough material, and whether I could formulate any proper articles in the space of a blog to really get anywhere in my thoughts. How wrong I was.
My postings being read, forwarded, shared, ‘liked’. The traffic to our company website has increased phenomenally, with an extra 4,000 visitors per month, mainly on the blog pages. My last posting was read more than 400 times in the first 24 hours. I nearly fell off my chair. Apparently I am a blogger.
Why is this happening?
I was speaking to a counterpart in the industry who mentioned that she’d just read my blog posting ‘The gift of good hiring’ December, and said it was right on – it is exactly the way people are feeling. She laughed because in one part I apologise for causing offence, but in the end, say what I want to say anyway, and it’s refreshing. (Anyone who knows me knows I struggle to say anything other than what I believe). But apparently it strikes a chord with the way many people are thinking, or feeling. Working with people across the industry every day in a human terms, solving people problems, makes you see things in a different light, you somehow get a lot of information together about what is going on. Although I don’t think it is just that.
Working with bigger numbers doesn’t always pay more
Yesterday I found myself speaking to a candidate for a job in our firm, I was trying to explain what working in my job was like. The person on the other end was a former hedge fund salesperson, and was telling me that they would probably rather working in a transaction environment where the numbers are bigger. Fair enough. You expect that from a hedge fund guy, I guess. Well the transaction environment may be bigger, but you are quite a lot further away from it, and there is a fair amount of politics in-between. That and if the fund doesn’t perform you are basically stuffed. Recruitment is a fantastic job because it is one of the few client-facing roles where you can have a direct impact on the quality of the delivery. It can be a very honest business if you want it to be. It should also be lucrative if you are any good, and I don’t think people last in it for any length of time if they are not any good, since it is tough.
Comparing apples and apples
I think it’s time to be honest about where recruiters are in the grand scheme of things, in comparison to other industries. Bearing in mind that good recruiters are as hard, if not harder, to find as good lawyers or consultants, it is no coincidence that we are pretty much on a par with most of these industries. In any decent service-level environment, people work to an acceptable level of billing targets. The level of which denotes your value to the firm, your seniority, and proximity to the client. When considering a decent level of any of the above industries, we are all basically comparable. The only thing with recruitment, is that you get a lot more faff at the bottom of the scale. But when you consider the scale which we work at, the top firms and global businesses we recruit for, the skills and finesse that is required, we are working at the same level, with the same earning potential. Many of the skills that are required to become a success as a top lawyer or tax advisor work across Recruitment, Consulting, or Trust as well. In a high-performance service environment, it is the ability to handle difficult situations, challenging clients, pressure, underperformance, and management issues, that makes the difference. Service industries basically work in the same way.
Doing the job you love, that loves you back.
The important thing is to get yourself into a job which plays to your best skills. People sometimes ask me how I ended up in recruitment, and the truth is that I was drawn to it, I think you have to be, otherwise you would probably say it is too difficult. For me, the difference between the other industries and mine hit home to me a little later. I was on the phone with a friend of mine who is also someone I am currently working with to find him a new job. Having had some good feedback from our client earlier in the day, I felt an immense rush of pride. Not in myself, but in him. Why? Because I have seen him grow in the last 5-6 years of his 10 year career to become increasingly accomplished in his sector, very accomplished in fact. On gut feel I encouraged someone to see him for a job that was out of his usual job scope, and he did not let me down. The client saw his value. I have opened a door to someone that simply would not have been open to them any other way. That is the type of satisfaction that money cannot buy, having the chance to change someone’s life, and knowing enough about the businesses you recruit for to go off-spec and produce even more incredible hires for the company, hires that will take them to new levels. I realise that this is why people work with me and my team.
People connection, personal inspiration
While I think I have to work harder to win people around – recruiters are somewhere on the scale with estate agents – I have in my work the opportunity to change people’s lives, every day, and that is an amazing, humbling, opportunity to me. Our job is fraught with pressure because once you know someone good is looking they almost never stay on the market for very long. The best job a recruiter can do is to be honest, and many do not manage that. At Funds Partnership we refuse to place people which we doubt will be a success, and this builds a huge amount of respect and trust with our clients.
The reason these blogs never end, is inspiration. The reason I sense how people are feeling is that I care. Recruitment isn’t always the most glamorous job but I am inspired by the job that I do, and the potential we have to connect people with paths that can change their lives for the better, introducing people who will get along like old friends, who would otherwise never meet. Good introductions make great businesses, teams, and products as they go. Good energy between individuals, that ‘click’ on good hiring, creates an atmosphere and a force that transcends the expected, moving companies through difficult times, and this is the main reason why some companies outperform others. It is the energy of committed individuals that completes work at top-spec and makes companies feel more like families, even big ones. That is pretty special.
I don’t sell a system, offer a product, or give tax advice, I find people, and try to match their dreams with companies who can provide them. Beat that for billable hours.