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Sharpen Your Sales Pitch by Explaining Recruitment to Your Parents

By January 20, 20112 Comments

Do you remember when you first tried explaining recruitment to your parents?  I can still picture that glazed look of befuddlement now.  I’d been with Hays in Australia for about 6 months when they came over to visit from the UK and see how their son was coping over here on the other side of the world.  They knew I had got a job in recruitment after I’d sent my CV around Sydney for Sales jobs and had ended up getting nothing but interest from recruiters to actually work for them (no surprise now that I know the magic Sydney formula of Sales Experience + Pommie = RECRUITER!)

My first taste of trying to explain recruitment was on my second client visit, where I was going solo, to a small client who rarely used recruitment companies (the first client visit was with a 7-year veteran and we went to AbiGroup, one of Australia’s largest construction companies, where I grinned and nodded a lot while she did all the talking).  That was tough enough, but not even in the same ballpark as trying to explain it to my parents.  To be fair to my Mum, she had read in the Sunday Times about some lady in Sydney called Julia Ross who had a house on Sydney harbour, so she thought it must be an ok job to be in.  I got the glazed response but nothing more taxing than a “That’s nice, dear”.

My Dad was a different story though.  Being much more business-minded he wanted to really understand how it all worked:

–          Me:        “You get a vacancy from a client and find candidates to fill it and arrange them interviews.  Then you negotiate the offer and acceptance and boom – job done.”

–          Dad:       “How much does it cost?”

–          Me:        “Well Perm placements usually cost a percentage of the first year’s salary, around 15%-20%”

–          Mum:    “Perm?”

–          Me:        “Not like the hair Mum…”

–          Dad:       “You meant Permanent?”

–          Me:        “Yeah…”

–          Dad:       “So why didn’t you say that then?”

–          Me:        “It’s just what they s…”

–          Dad:       “It’s like saying fridge instead of refrigerator”

–          Me:        – biting my tongue-

–          Dad:       “So how do you find candidates?”

–          Me:        “Usually search the database, post some online ads, maybe get some referrals…

I tail off at this point because the glazed expressions have returned with a vengeance and I can almost see my words sallying forth over the heads of my parents, who have started wondering when their son will make use of his Law degree and get himself a proper job…like in Law.

I do believe they have moved on a bit from this way of thinking, now I’m running my own recruitment business which supports my family and all, but there’s no better way of practicing your sales spiel to your clients than explaining what it is you do to your parents, I can assure you.

Now I must dash because said parents are actually arriving in Auckland today for tomorrow’s Christening of lil’ Bonnie Rice and I need to collect them from the airport.  The only problem is that now they are showing more interest in the business they have stumbled across The Whiteboard and have actually been reading back through my blog posts.  I mean, how on earth am I going to explain this to them?!


As a quick aside, it was gratifying to learn earlier this week that The Whiteboard came it at number 24 on the US website PhD in HR’s Top 50 Up-and-Coming HR Blogs.  Most of the blogs appear to be from the US and UK so it’s good to represent New Zealand amongst that lot – whoop whoop.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Sally Gould says:

    Whoop Whoop alright. Worthy praise, I say

  • Karen Gordon-Lewis says:

    Oh yes, I can relate to the glazed over parental eyes, they really are your toughest client! And congrats on the acknowledgement in the cyberworld.