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Why do we have a bad rep?

August 23, 2010

It always makes me happier when I am at networking group or out for the night if there is an estate agent present, (apologies to any estate agents reading) however their reputation is pretty much as bad as ours!  In saying that a dear friend of mine is an estate agent and when we first met he asked me if I had failed in a career as an estate agent and then turned to recruitment.   (I didn’t by the way, I used to work with autistic kids before I got this gig but that’s a whole different blog)

However following years of being a recruiter and after knowing a few estate agents I feel confident saying that both industries probably deserve their poor reputation but as always there are a significant amount of good recruiters and good estate agents.  Plus I have a confession to make.  I wasn’t always an ethical recruiter; I was once a really naive recruiter. 

When I graduated armed with my degree in American Literature I discovered that there are no jobs in American Literature so I turned to recruitment as being a rubbish cook meant I couldn’t pursue a career as a chef either. I am ashamed to say that I didn’t even know recruitment was in some parts a sales role and didn’t have a clue what OTE meant.  After a 2 day intensive training course I hit the phones and here I must apologize.

I am sorry numerous M.D’s and S.D’s of companies of all shapes and sizes for inundating you with cold calls, I sincerely apologize for presuming to know your business when quite frankly I didn’t have a clue.  I didn’t even have the internet so really didn’t have a clue what your company did.  My only redemption is my harsh induction into recruitment forced me to realize that there must be a better way to do my job and  that calling 80 companies a day wasn’t consulting it was harassment.

Our industry has evolved but still not to the level it needs to, we need to be regulated to have guidelines to prevent poorly educated recruiters falling onto the phones.  We need to focus on the consultant part of the recruiter rather than selling all the time.

For those of you reading grimacing thinking you may have been victim to one of my awful cold calls 10 years ago take comfort in the fact that I received this call this morning:

Me: ‘hello’

Headhunter (we have spoken before she calls me about every 2 months, I don’t think she remembers the calls): Morning Jane, I have a cracking opportunity to speak to you about, perfect for your background and a great company to for you’

(I am excited at this point – sounds good doesn’t it!)

 Headhunter: The role is for a recruitment consultant to run an engineering desk for a leading company in the city, its long hours but excellent OTE with good prospects for management in a couple of years and a really social company who work hard play hard (and then she actually said) sounds good doesn’t it!

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, I have a profile on LinkedIn, a twitter page, a blurb about me on my company homepage,  but to keep it brief I did engineering recruitment for 4 months in 1998, I work locally in Berkshire because I have 3 children and because of said 3 children my play hard days unfortunately seem to have fallen away a little.  Plus I have been managing for a good few years now!

So I think this recruiter exists to remind me of my days as a bad recruiter and she is my punishment!

And I think I have answered my own question as to why recruiters have a bad rep!

Yet with social media making such an impact will this force the industry to raise their game?  It only takes a tweet to comment on an agencies poor practice and it is recorded forever in our online history.  I am intrigued to watch this develop it can only lead to good things as the recruitment worlds is forced to raise their game.

Again if you have no interest in recruitment but keen to know how my cooking skills are developing take note of this tip.  When baking Yorkshire puddings use at least 3-4 eggs – makes those beauties rise like no ones business!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2010 6:11 pm

    Great post Jane – there is so much information we all willingly share online and certainly many do for professional and business purposes, so all it takes is for a recruiter to do their homework.

    Doesn’t take a minute to Google someone and see what info comes up, and if they are on LinkedIn even better. You can see current role, past roles, which companies they have worked at and for how long. Gives you a great headstart before making a cold call. Just calling in blindly or calling and saying “I am just up-dating the database, are you still looking for work, got a perfect role for you” when the last contact you had was 2 years ago really isn’t great is it and people are fed up with this approach.

    There are so many tools online now and if a recruiter is a savvy one then they will use them wisely without getting on people’s nerves.

    Estate agents, car sales and recruiters have all been tarnished with the same brush, which isn’t always fair on those who really are a breath of fresh air.

    Let’s hope you can help turn that reputation right around Jane : – )

  2. August 24, 2010 12:05 pm

    Nice post Jane, it almost makes me believe that the whole recruitment profession isn’t in league with the devil 😉

    Seriously though, having been unemployed for a while I have had many contacts with recruiters – good and bad. I have now cultivated relationships with a few, like yourself, who I can talk to and trust, and I have a long (and growing) blacklist of those who I have had poor experiences with. When I am employed, and acting as a hiring manager again, both these lists will be very much in evidence when I am drawing up the recruitment campaigns. Recruiters who either ignored me, were rude to me, or spammed me, will not be getting my business. The recruitment profession wil only get rid of its reputation when it improves its act – as you say, an enforceable code of conduct, with teeth, is perhaps the only way to go.

  3. August 31, 2010 12:10 pm

    Wonderfully presented. Let people be aware that recruitment is not just post man job. Some one need to practice and make it an hobby of talking to people. Headhunting is an art of talking and I am sure no one bangs the phone on your face.

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