Tell us about your journey as a recruiter
I fell into recruitment, like so many others I know. At 22 when someone offers you a decent salary and a Golf GTi, you are probably naive enough to say “sure – sounds great”. I was that 22 year old. Fortunately for me, I discovered I was quite good at recruitment and so I stayed and I enjoyed what I did. The excitement came primarily from meeting new clients and understanding their businesses; how things were made; how profit was turned; how we as consumers were targeted etc. Secondly I got paid to have endless coffees with interesting people (marketers) doing interesting things that I would get to hear about before they hit the public domain.
30 years later, 8000+ interviews; and approaching 1000 placements, I still get that buzz. I still get a thrill when I connect a great candidate with a great opportunity…and as the months and years roll on (all too quickly these days) I love seeing them grow and flourish. I am fascinated by marketing and avidly devour opinion pieces, editorial, interviews and reviews. I go to conferences and attend webinars. I can’t do a lot of what my candidates do…but I do understand it and I know good from bad and more importantly great from good.
What changes do you see happening in the recruitment industry in the next 12 months?
Big question! Covid’s lasting legacy for recruitment is that flexible working will be the norm – if you don’t offer it you will need to have a compelling reason as to why. I think work life balance has stepped up the ladder a little higher during the pandemic as people have re-evaluated what is important to them. Will any of this change recruitment processes per se – not significantly in my opinion. The changing mindset of the individual will force a reshaping of employer propositions and offers but fundamentally recruitment will still be an essential business service. Good people will always be in high demand and recruiters who have strong relationships with and networks of top tier talent will always have a part to play in attracting these people into new opportunities.
I do think technology will play an increasingly influential role on the recruitment industry. Mass recruitment through agencies is on its way out. I believe “middle men” will only survive by either supplying fast turnaround temporary/interim/contract solutions or access to highly desirable, highly skilled or highly scarce talent. The rest, in a great many cases, will be able to be fulfilled through in house resources utilising advanced technologies.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to employers?
Be brave: recruit primarily on attitude and cultural fit rather than the safety net of academic qualifications and functional experience. Sure, some level of these is necessary but a minor shortfall can always be catered for with training/coaching – which will never be the case with attitude and cultural fit.
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