Recruitment – It’s not what you think

It’s not often I attend social events – I’m no misanthrope but for me a good Friday night is a Friday night in. ON the rare occasion that I do venture out it’s only a matter of time before small talk turns to what people do for a living. It goes round the table, Nurse (can’t knock nurses), Teacher (the noble profession), Carpenter (interesting, skilled trade), Social Worker (helping others), Recruitment Consultant (Oh…) 
Generally I have to say that the admission that I am in recruitment isn’t always met with thronging enthusiasm. It’s hard to blame them. 
Before I joined PageGroup I was managing a successful SME business – nothing fancy but an enterprise I was very proud of. I used to get bombarded by recruiters’ calls and emails extolling the virtues of one unsuitable candidate after another. I couldn’t understand what they did, how they made their money or why anyone would want to do it. It was frustrating.
There’s definitely a perception that recruiters are millennial chancers spamming you with CV’s and charging exorbitant fees. That it’s all about slick talk, expensive suits and chasing commission. When you Google ‘recruiters are’ autocomplete suggests ‘idiots’, ‘annoying’ and ‘scum.’ A bit harsh if you ask me. 
It’s understandable that people can get very frustrated with recruiters – when you deal with them it is likely to be during a stressful time, particularly if you’ve missed out on a job you really wanted or are struggling to secure a top candidate. I understand that that frustration can often be directed at the person who delivers the bad news. 
Unfortunately there are some recruiters out there who are chasing commission and perhaps don’t have the best interests of their clients to heart. These ‘misconceptions’ and stereotypes are perpetuated by a small minority of firms and individuals that bring disrepute to our industry.
It may be a bit of a clumsy metaphor but we often liken what we do to an iceberg – our clients and candidates only really see the tip of it. There is a huge amount going on behind the scenes and we work extremely hard to achieve positive results for the people we work with.
It’s definitely a demanding job; my day typically starts around 8am and I usually finish around 6pm although it’s not uncommon to be answering calls and emails on evenings and weekends. Clients are generally only available during typical 9-5 work hours whereas it is difficult for candidates to take calls during these hours. I might be prepping a candidate for an upcoming interview when I get home or even on a weekend. Honestly it does not bother me, I enjoy this job a great deal and get so much out of it. Building relationships with candidates and clients is part of my day to day and give me a massive amount of satisfaction.
For me it is just as important to understand what a candidate aspires towards as what a client is looking for. I spend a lot of time getting to understand what motivates my clients and what is professionally important to them. Changing jobs is one of the most affecting things you can do in life and the journey form one job to another is a very personal experience. Partnering with candidates to help them with interview skills, discussing the pros and cons of various opportunities and helping them to make good career decisions is a truly rewarding endeavour. There is nothing better in this job that calling a candidate whom I have been working with to tell them they got the job of their dreams – I get to do that a lot and it never gets old.
Building relationships with clients is priceless. The truth is that nobody enjoys a recruitment process except for us. Generally if an employer is recruiting it means that they are short-handed or going through a period of operational change. That’s when having that relationship in place proves so valuable. Understanding what the personalities are like in team, what their priorities are and the makeup of the company ensures that you can give the level of service the client is paying for. You learn how best to fulfil their needs and what type of candidate is likely to flourish there. This way you can also get to know people but also the intricacies of their operation and the sector in which they work.
It is because of all this that I am a specialist in my market – since joining PageGroup I’ve interviewed well over a thousand candidates, ranging from purchase ledger clerks and entry level accounts juniors to part qualified management accountants. I’ve placed hundreds of clients from startup businesses to companies with a £3bn balance sheet. I know the difference between an IF and a nested IF. I’ve watched salaries fluctuate and the job market ebb and flow. 
Recruitment, like any industry, does have its bad eggs but in my experience it is largely made up of people like myself who enjoy the job, invest a lot of time and effort in their clients and candidates and have a genuine interest in helping.
I would suggest anybody looking to use an agency to either get a job or recruit a job do their research first - use a reputable firm and keep that search with as few recruiters as possible. Engage a recruiter that specialises in the role you’re looking for and tap into their knowledge and expertise. Treat them as a recruitment partner and you will have the best chance of getting the role or candidate that suits you best. 
If you are interested in learning more about a career in recruitment visit our careers site. For a discussion about job opportunities or recruitment options in the finance sector contact Simon Norfolk, Managing Consultant at Page Personnel Finance.
Simon Norfolk
T: +44 1622 604 533