This week sees me escaping lockdown to sunny Whangarei. Making the most of my freedoms, I was enjoying lunch on Wednesday and happened to be sat next to what can only be described as an ageing hippy. As is the norm for hippies, he was a very friendly chap, and no sooner had I sat down than he engaged me in conversation. As is also the norm with hippies, my new lunch buddy was something of a conspiracy theorist, which of course led to a conversation about Covid-19. I say “conversation”, but like a recruiter pitching a role, the soliloquy was very much delivered by my new mate Cheech. To summarise his “well researched facts” he believes that; Covid is a hoax. No one has died. Doctors are paid bonuses to write “Covid” on death certificates. Bill Gates is behind the vaccine. Bill Gates is a eugenicist. So was his Dad(!).  Someone else is behind Bill Gates. The vaccine is messing with our DNA. Another virus will be released to kill most of us. Jacinda Ardern is a socialist, therefore a communist, therefore a globalist, therefore a puppet of Bill Gates….

As a marginally educated human, with a wife who’s a Doctor, and knowing people in the UK who have both been sick and died of Covid, I kinda zoned out after that. I am not, it would seem, the conspiracy theorists I once thought. However, there is one theory I do have that may put me in league with a smelly Northland hippy. And as much as my blogs shy away from controversy, here it is:

The New Zealand government reports the numbers of cases and deaths accurately and faithfully. They also however manipulate the timings that new cases our announced in order to suit a broader agenda. This control is not nefarious or malicious in its intent, but it is not strictly truthful.

Now before you say that Northland’s finest Afghan Kush has finally addled my brain, just hear me out on this. I base my thinking on nearly 15 years of manipulating situations for the greater good. It’s what recruiters do. First though, some context.

In theory, recruitment is the simplest of tasks. To the casual observer, people are looking for jobs, and businesses are looking for people. Yet somehow, some shiny-suited failed car salesman with too much hair gel, wedges himself in between these two factions in order to clip the ticket on something that would have happened naturally. To the not-so-casual-observer, let’s say, the friend of a flatmate of a recruiter, recruitment becomes slightly more complex, and has slightly more value to both businesses and job seekers alike. Yes, businesses need people, but what they actually need is specific people. These specific people aren’t typically in abundance. They are also happy in their job and well rewarded. And perhaps businesses don’t always need people, yet the number of recruitment agencies only ever grows. Maybe the job of a recruiter is actually pretty fucking difficult. An actual Recruiter knows how complex the role is, and how difficult it is to actually be any good at it. Client expectations, candidate expectations, slow markets, border closures, stupid decisions, lies from competitors, sickness, death, prejudice, nepotism, failed drug tests, and indecision are all things we deal with on a daily basis.

One of the challenges all recruiters face, yet rarely discussed is that of timing. Not just the effect of timing, but moreso the recruiter’s skill in their ability to manipulate time. In an ideal world, a candidate receives two or three great job offers simultaneously from clients that we have represented them too, on the day that their current boss wakes up in a terrible mood. Good but not as great, our candidate receives a good offer from our client, whilst an offer from another company who we don’t work with is still pending. Worse again, another business offers our candidate whilst our client is still dragging their heels. These are just three scenarios where timing is everything. On the day to day level, like Dr Who, recruiters manipulate both time and the perception of time. If a candidate doesn’t call us back yet our client wants them to be motivated, we say “yes, he called me straight after the interview but I was in a meeting. My fault. I’ll call him back now”. Good recruiters do this for both parties. A series of white lies to stretch or compress time. All focused on achieving the perfect symmetry of everyone arriving at the table together. Our job is to align two moving targets, whilst making it look like it was just “meant to be”. If you’re reading this with surprise, then you’re either not a recruiter, or not a decent one. And yes, technically, we are not being truthful. But, we are facilitating a great candidate, securing a great role, with a business that is hugely grateful to have them. It is a victimless crime that I commit daily.

So back to my theory. Most of us Kiwis are a subservient bunch. We do what we’re told, and because of this, we’ve tackled a pandemic like few others. However, there are always those rebels on the periphery. Those like ol’ mate Cheech who learnt about RNA vaccines via Facebook. These people won’t stay home for 7 days just because Cindy said. Especially if there are zero cases. So if I were in charge, some tests would be performed super-quick, some would take their time. Perhaps a nice trickle of cases so that we don’t panic, but we don’t throw illegal raves either. Not too many, not too few, and nicely distributed. Perhaps one this afternoon for example? And, if that’s something I would do, I’m not really in a position to criticise.

What do you reckon? Bonkers or not?

^SW

On the subject of timing, after too long being too socially distanced, the (in)famous Rice PowWow is back! We’ll have Hays veteran and rabid recruitment raconteur Jason Walker with a punchy 15 minutes on 3 Candidate Attraction Strategies, a quick update from the legends and event sponsors at TradeMe Jobs, plus the usual boozing and bullshit that makes the PowWow the PowWow. Tickets disappeared inside of 2 hours, but a little birdy told me you might be able to attend via the wait list. Hit up the person you like most at Rice and we’ll see what we can do.

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