Unfortunately, every week can’t be a juicy exposé. Thankfully there aren’t that many charlatans in the industry. There was a temptation to go all Boston Globe and take aim at the recruitment practices of the Catholic church but best left for another day. Plus, there’s not a lot of juicy news out there either. There is of course the low-hanging fruit of ‘recruiters need to be more consultative, less transactional’ I’ll leave that to the double-spacing mafia on LinkedIn. Unlike those that are quick to tell others how to recruit or build a recruitment brand, I actually run a desk. Having to run a desk in these post-Covid times comes with the usual obstacles. The inevitable and unchangeable challenge I and my fellow recruiters have to face in NZ; lack of candidates. When you’re a team of 5 million, you don’t have a lot of squad depth.

A lot of my week is spent on LinkedIn introducing the concept of rec to rec to a candidate pool that is either familiar, indifferent, or intrigued by it. Something I get that I can’t imagine happens an awful lot on other desks; people picking up and moving industries. No one is from a long line of recruiters. No one’s stoically following a lineage started by great-great-great-grandfather, Billy Elliot would be less impactful – “No Da, I don’t want to recruit! I wanna dance!” We all fall into this industry like how you fall in love or fall ill. As Jamie Carragher eloquently put it; “no one grows up wanting to be Gary Neville” in regards to his position at RB the same is true for our positions in this industry. However, a lot of us have found just how good this career path can be, regardless of how serendipitous our origin.

To my point, you don’t often see an architect, engineer or lawyer suddenly decide to change industry but the revolving doors of recruitment continuously spin. Which is fine, some people aren’t cut out for it and they need the experience to come to that conclusion. What irks me though, is when someone leaves the industry, having spent the entirety of their recruitment career at one agency. People who think they need to get out of recruitment when the reality is, they need a more supportive environment, flexibility, and recognition in the form of salary and kudos. It’s throwing the baby out with the entire bathroom. It’s breaking up with your high school sweetheart then taking a vow of celibacy. The truth is you don’t know any different. What I do here at Rice and what I did in my previous role at a global agency is essentially the same thing however, how I go about it? Worlds apart.

Don’t even get me started on “my next role is going to be internal or HR” I can’t really be mad because I once held this skewed view on my career path. I thought I’ll start out in an agency and then move to a cushy role recruiting for just one company on a couple of the same roles. It’s a little more grown-up but do you know what else is grown-up? Bills, prostate exams, crows’ feet! It’s a position coveted in agency world without any real knowledge of what goes into it. Essentially, the only part of that role that’s exciting, is what you do in this job all the time. Sure, agency is a little like school; when you’re in it you’re stressed, anxious, a little awkward, and doing your best to keep up with the latest trends. But I know plenty an internal recruiter that looks back at their days in agency with the same fondness people do when regaling others of their school days.

I shudder to think of the talent that this industry loses due to a higher base salary, a nicer title to tell your mum, and a misguided view on the evolution of a recruiter. The facts are you earn more in agency recruitment, other jobs are just as stressful and a culture that pushes you while supporting you should not be underestimated. I’m not saying that you can’t stick with what you know. Marge married Homer and they went for 31 seasons, was Marge happy? Probably not. In the immortal words of Mr. Smokey Robinson in his 1960 hit, Shop Around

Before you take a girl and say I do, now
Make sure she’s in love with-a you now
My mama told me, you better shop around
Ooh yeah, a-try to get yourself a bargain son
Don’t be sold on the very first one

 Like when ‘baby’ is replaced by ‘our saviour’ to change a rock song to Christian rock song, replace girl with recruitment job 😊

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