An open letter to unfulfilled recruiters everywhere

By Huw Martin

I’ve been in recruitment for longer than I would like to admit, and as I sat over Christmas with a large glass of red wine quietly celebrating the success of Head Resourcing in 2013 I started to think.

As we look to continue to expand our team I contemplated the state of the recruitment industry and ultimately what makes us different from every other consultancy out there?

I am extremely proud of the results at Head but I am more proud of the fact that this has never been achieved by putting financial performance ahead of our people and values.

I have always believed deeply that if you treat people right, and do the right things by your clients and candidates that the money will come, but you shouldn’t hold financial performance above your values. This is an attitude and mind-set that I have worked hard to instil in everything that we do at Head Resourcing.

While there are a lot of amazing recruitment consultancies out there, this is not an attitude that you will find throughout the industry. We’re in an industry that unfortunately has a tarnished image fuelled by horror stories of consultants…

… phoning friends and family members to hit call stats,

… not being able to leave the building until they’ve achieved a certain number of calls (irrespective of the outcomes),

…and even antiquated stories of some poor souls, battered by the big KPI stick, having their chair taken away until they’ve achieved some arbitrary box-ticking!

It’s basically turning what were energetic and enthusiastic individuals into clones of what someone thinks a good recruiter should be and that makes me sad.

Of course, the hard sales-driven environment suits some people down to the earth and they thrive. I suppose it is not so much about one way of working being ‘right’ and one being ‘wrong’ – it’s about aligning your motivations and way of thinking with the culture and goals of the company you work for.

So what are the alternatives? Treat people with respect and create a good working environment built on trust; a way of working that encourages and rewards hard work, but not to the detriment of service to either candidates or clients.

It seems fairly straightforward, although the cultural shift can be a tricky nut for some to crack if they’re used to a competitive hard-sell environment.

At Head Resourcing we are building a very strong business with ethics, values and a real heart, and therefore finding people who want to work hard in a busy, professional team environment is critical to our growth. However, we will not jeopardise or deviate from our belief that to be a good business you need to look after your people, and not treat them like a commodity who must bill within a certain time or be sacked. That’s not how we work and never will. Application and attitude means far more than a shiny pinstriped suit!

A new beginning

It is not just candidates who re-assess their options in the New Year.

If you’re a recruiter who is feeling frustrated or unsatisfied, try to take a step back and look at whether your environment is a factor. Ultimately then you have to make a choice: do you try and change it, or let your environment change you?

Whatever 2014 holds for you remember that you always have the ability to take a stance and stand up for the people over the money, it just takes a choice.

The beauty is that an empathic approach to recruitment and financial success are not mutually exclusive.


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