When I left the UK and entered the Sydney recruitment market Hays, my new employer, were kind enough to put me up in their Mosman company apartment for the first couple of weeks. My most enduring memory from that time, apart from the gorgeous sunrises reflecting on the CBD’s glass towers and struggling to warm the place up without any central heating (hey, it was July), was catching the ferry to work. Let me tell you, after six years of nose to tail traffic on the M25, crawling through the fume clogged Rotherhithe Tunnel and forgetting to pay congestion charges, it was more than a breath of fresh air. It was an exhilarating release of mental, meditative, becalming joy to be able to commute to work in such a way.
So, with the new ferry service opening up between Hobsonville/Beach Haven and the CBD in Auckland this week, I find myself back in the same state of mind. It’s been 7 years of increasingly painful, time-consuming and stress-inducing commutes, originally from Grey Lynn (admittedly this was a breeze on the number 24), then Birkenhead where the bridge needed to be tackled, then Glenfield where the gridlocked motorway and the bridge needed to be tackled, and finally from Greenhithe which is lovely but just generally miles away.
But for me there is one distinct difference with this ferry journey to the one in Sydney. I was a rookie recruiter just starting to ply my trade back then, still learning that recruiting takes more than sitting at a desk from 8am – 6pm (no no no 9-5, this was Hays remember). But now, 8 years on, I can’t seem to help myself in approaching strangers on the ferry and engaging them in conversation. Networking, I suppose you could call it. Others might call it stalking or bothering innocent passengers. But so far they all seem very open to a chat, so I’ll stick to calling it networking.
Naturally the conversation always tends to filter down to the good old “what do you do” question. I’m always proud to say I’m in recruitment, even though many people these days seem to say it almost apologetically, in an awkward, wincing, don’t-shoot-the-messenger kind of way. And I’m proud to say the news wasn’t greeted with universal derision.
It’s amazing how recruitment features in some way in the lives of every single person you encounter and talk to.
The first 3 ferry trips elicited 3 business cards. One IT Business Development Manager is friends with the owner of a well-known IT recruitment firm. The other an Engineer currently dealing with two recruitment agencies in seeking a new role (one doing a great job, the other being a bit slow on the uptake). The third working for a transport company and assessing different recruitment companies to use to recruit a role.
What I’ve realised is that, these days, it is impossible to be a successful recruiter unless you really love what you do. Unless you have enough genuine belief and passion in what you do in order to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep coming back with a positive frame of mind day after day. Sure, it is possible to seek that elusive “work-life-balance” these days thanks to the wonders of technology. But switching off from recruitment the moment you leave your desk? No chance.
I have recently encountered two other recruiters who would know exactly what I mean. One had a particularly hard-to-find senior retail role, eventually finding the perfect candidate at a parents’ coffee group meeting. It’s family time, it’s outside work hours, it’s not a formal or professional setting, but if you’re a dedicated recruiter you strike while the iron’s hot, right? The other, an IT recruitment resourcer, found that salsa lessons were apparently a hot bed of male IT talent. So salsa sourcing became the new way to get hold of business cards from hard-to-find IT talent.
I know, I know. I’m a recruitment bore, a recruitment tragic, I see a T-shirt with “A & F” written on it and I think “Accounting & Finance” rather than “Abercrombie & Fitch” but hey, I just love it. You made me this way. Any recruiter not willing to think outside the box, to keep constant vigilance for leads, to be merrily networking and proud about recruiting, just won’t cut it in these tough times.
Anyway, that’s all for this week. No ferry today as I’m taking the family up north for a spot of camping. My phone is on though, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need me… Always recruiting.