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10 New Year’s Resolutions for the Modern Recruiter

By January 13, 20115 Comments


Welcome back to a sparkling, shiny, brand new world of recruitment in 2011.  All across our region the fair knights and damsels of recruitment are once more donning armour of designer suits, wielding handshakes and smiles and brandishing the shields, otherwise known as black folders, that identify you as a recruiter wherever you may be.

For most of us 2010 was a gruelling, but ultimately much more rewarding year, as we rebounded from the recession of 2009.  So I hope you are all rested and refreshed and ready to enter the fray once more because this is going to be a fun, and busy, year for recruitment.

In order to make the most of what 2011 will have to offer, you are going to have to compete hard, and be at the top of your games.  To help you in your preparations I have compiled the ultimate list of New Year’s Resolutions for you modern recruiters:

1.  Despite being blinded by the glare off the shiny, polished surfaces of my desk and surprisingly easy access to the phone and keyboard, I will endeavour to keep it this way throughout 2011 and not let it quickly become a resting home for mountains of paper, post-it notes, newspaper ad cuttings and CV’s which will keep mysteriously disappearing amongst the heap.

2.  I will digest, become accustomed to, and finally make friends with that blank white box beaming out at me from my e-mail server.  This is my new inbox and it is always practically empty, so I will know that things have been dealt with and followed up upon.  I will action things swiftly and learn to use files to keep my messages organised, and the Delete button will become my new best buddy.

3.  I will talk and converse with my actual voice, rather than resort to e-mail, whenever humanly possible.  Every time I am about to compile an e-mail I will ask myself “could I be more effective and efficient by picking up the phone?” – Or indeed swivelling around on my chair and engaging with my colleagues in real time and in real life, rather than shooting out e-mails.

4.  I will make my marketing calls far more interesting and engaging for the clients on the other end of the phone, even the cold calls.  No more will I timidly rely on “How’s business…?” as my opening gambit but will instead prove my genuine interest and knowledge of their business by asking questions of relevance and pertinence.

5.  I will not drop my pants and reduce my fees just to undercut the competition.  We are approaching an extremely tight labour market and the top talent will be hard to find and I will actually believe in the value of my service.  If a fee reduction is persistently sought then I will make sure I negotiate a hefty compromise by ensuring retained services, exclusivity and/or volume of work.

6.  I will stop starting my ad writing with the words “My client…” because it is outmoded, lazy, boring and probably not even true.  And I will try really hard to limit my use of exclamation marks as a misguided attempt to make my ad stand out from the competition.  I will finally accept that consecutive exclamation marks !!!! are just plain ridiculous.

7.  I will provide some form of polite response to all candidate applications whether successful or not, even if it is merely an acknowledgement.  The exception to this Resolution is that it needn’t apply to those serial pest job applicants from overseas who have clearly spammed out their CV to every job posting across New Zealand and Australia.

8.  I will properly read a candidate’s CV before going into the interview and show them I have taken the time to do this by asking questions around their interests / background etc rather than launching straight into “So…tell me about yourself”.  I will also apply this to my client visits and call ahead to confirm the meeting, read up on the company I am visiting, and make sure I am there on time and ready to go.

9.  I will grab my metaphorical balls and give constructive, truthful feedback to my unsuccessful candidates, no matter how brutal that truth might be.  If they failed to get the job because their suit was crumpled, they were 5 minutes late, their answers were vague and irrelevant and they admitted to liking the music of Phil Collins then I will not say “sorry they have withdrawn the position” or “sorry but they appointed an internal candidate”.

10.  If I take the plunge and decide to give Social Media and Social Recruiting a real go then I will not mistake Linked In and Twitter for some kind of new Job Board.  I will mention the occasional role I am recruiting but will mostly use it to engage and interest my network by sharing useful links and information, and helping others within my network connect with each other.

If any of these are useful to you in recruitment then cut them out and stick them on your wall – feel free as they are Resolutions for all of us in recruitment – but make sure you don’t go and break the first Resolution right away.  And okay…some of them might apply to me too…but nobody’s perfect eh?

Come on then – let’s hear some more Resolutions for Recruiters in the Comments.

Jonathan Rice

Director of New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice & Co, co-founder of freelance recruiter platform JOYN, and people-centric technology firm superHUMAN Software. Recruitment innovator, agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Excellent stuff, as usual, Jonathan. If every recruiter acted on even half of those 10 pointsespecially focusing on points 5 and 8, our industry would be a shining beacon of service delivery, profit, and satisfied clients and candidates. All the best for 2001.

  • Matt Devitt says:

    Too right Jon and I for one had to laugh embarrassed about your point 6 while acknowledging that point 7 is relevant also. All points were well made and should help us all improve our industries reputation, which is as we know, is not always well regarded. Thank you for posting.

  • Melmak says:

    Valid resolutions and I am sure we can all implement a few of those in 2011. I have to say though re point 6 I am very concerned if it is ‘probably not even true’. Also, do the words ‘my client’ not suggest a relationship between the advertiser and their client? Just a thought – but I will try to not be so lazy when writing my ads this afternoon 🙂