“They sit behind a desk, scrolling the internet to find people jobs.”

That’s what I would’ve said my friends did when they became recruiters. Nothing sounded out of the ordinary. Millions of people all over the country work the 9-5 desk job, participating in the exhausting rat race that sees them sitting in traffic for hours on end, wearing headsets for 8 hours a day and making the person at the top ever richer. I imagined it to be quite monotonous. Then I was educated.

They did that, the stop-start journeys that gave them cramp in their left foot after hours of it hovering over the clutch. That’s the thing about recruiting, cities are the place to be, and with that comes the smart motorway roadworks that began in 100 BC. I’m not sure about the headsets, but I know they spent a considerable amount of their day on the phone. Damn straight, they made a couple of people a hell of a lot wealthier along the way. But there was much more to recruitment than I ever imagined: good, bad and ugly.

Rude Candidates – The Ugly

You updated your LinkedIn profile and it impressed someone enough to give you a call about a new role. You may or may not be interested, but a recruiter took time out of their day to find you and thought your qualifications and skills were of a certain standard. Is it necessary to respond with comments such as:

Now, this particular candidate had either been drinking heavily all morning, or had rushed the email. It was a blessing in disguise that he didn’t wish to go any further in the process to apply for this raole.

Nevertheless, the team persisted. Their quest to find the perfect candidate was not over. One delightful gentleman (for the purposes of this article, we’ll call him Matt, because that’s his real name) put the fear of God in to a new starter by threatening to report her to Ofcom. It was her second day. She was learning fast that in this industry, you need a thick skin and eyes that can roll on an almost continuous l

oop at times. Matt had been particularly offended by the following email:

I know what you’re thinking, how disgusting to receive that in your inbox. She might as well have emailed him a photocopy of her arse (something else I’ve heard goes on a lot in offices).

I couldn’t write this without mentioning Stuart, another charmer that struggled with his spelling. He didn’t want to know about anything that he hadn’t already done before, suggesting that he hadn’t heard of growth and expansion of skills. To me, an outsider in this world, I would think a simple ‘thanks but it’s not really for me’ would suffice as a reply, but some people really want to throw shade around like it’s going out of fashion. Luckily, Fresh Perspective are black belts in shade combat, so they usually handle it well.

Social Media – The Bad

Online is another place where recruiters must tread exceptionally carefully, or risk a backlash. Promoting your business on social media sounds great in theory, but the reality can be in stark contrast to how you imagined it to be. When I don’t like something on Facebook, I just scroll along, maybe utter a sarcastic comment about it, and that’s as far as it goes. However, there are a disturbing number of individuals out there who like to hide behind their keyboards and type comments that they wouldn’t dream of saying to someone face-to-face.

Any posts promoting gender equality usually go down like a lead balloon. There’s always a meninist waiting in the wings to swoop in and cut these posts down to size. I often wonder how many will remain in the same closed-minded position if they have daughters. Recruitment is undoubtedly a man’s world, and the presence of women seems to unnerve those who resist change. Before building their own business, my friends who worked in well-established recruitment companies told me of times where the office ‘banter’ towards females went too far. It seemed strange to me, to have worked in a school that anybody could get away with slapping someone clean on the arse when it wasn’t invited. I wouldn’t expect that off anyone, least of all my boss. She was a 50-something, married woman herself so it would’ve been quite out of character, to say the least. Even if she was a man, the line would not have been crossed, but recruitment is a world away from teaching.

Appearing in the press is something to be celebrated. Not according to one person who felt the need to point out that you can’t look good and promote positive body image. He clearly felt that only people who make no effort with their appearance could be allowed to have a say on the matter. A missed point if ever I saw it.

Appreciative Candidates and Employers -The Good

When I asked my friends what they enjoyed most about their job, it was building a rapport with candidates that won by a country mile. Any recruiter knows that the half an hour slot you’ve allocated someone will either fly by if you can chat to them easily, or drag for the eventual six minutes you have them on the line for. Some of the candidates are found to be unsuitable in the end, that’s the nature of the recruitment beast, but when they are appreciative and grateful for the opportunity, they make an impression. Are they likely to be contacted again for upcoming roles? Definitely. You’re more likely to get ahead in any game if you have supporters, and you won’t get any if you’re arrogant and have an inflated sense of your own self-importance.

So, my recruiter friends have a schedule jam packed with phone calls to perfect and the occasional imperfect candidates. They battle on social media, trying to do a little bit of good along with their brand promotion. Meeting with employers to discuss their requirements and the exciting new opportunities they can offer is par for the course. They no longer sit in rush hour, that’s the beauty of being your own boss. Day after day, they work together to grow a business that is changing the face of recruitment; no arse-slapping in the office, no placement fees for employers, and with the candidates best interests at heart. One thing I know now is that whilst recruitment may involve a lot of time online, there’s much more going on behind the scenes than I ever imagined. Jobs are found, the internet is trawled, but the human interactions in between are what makes this business unique.

Written by Rosie Christie

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