Today’s blog is being delivered to you with sneaker-clad feet on desk, roll-up jeans crossed, ironic T-shirt displayed and topped off with trendy beanie hat supporting the weight of industrial size headphone cans.
Well not quite, but I’m not exactly in a suit, and this is Britomart, so you could almost believe me, right?
For a couple of years now I’ve been meaning to write a post about the growing trend of “Casual Fridays” pervasively insinuating it’s way into the previously austere and formal world of recruitment. But thinking about it now, it wouldn’t make much of a debate nowadays would it? If you’re working for a company that doesn’t allow at least “business casual” on Fridays then you’d be in the minority, certainly in New Zealand anyway. It was a little over two years ago that I wrote an obituary to the knotted tie in recruitment – and even that provoked a number of comments suggesting I was wrong… But hey, today is Friday, we’re working in recruitment, and how many of you are wearing a tie to work today…?
And then earlier on this week I learned that a large ICT recruiting specialist have introduced a “no suit required” policy into their New Zealand operation. Now that is taking things a significant step further. But it was pretty hard to argue with the logic. Most of their client and candidate base don’t wear suits anymore either. It could in many ways detract from the impact of your pitch or sale if you are regarded by the client as being overtly formal, particularly in the tech sector I would wager. But recruitment was reared up out of servicing the Chartered Accounting sector of the 1980’s and mirroring the sharp, dark suits of that big end of town made plenty of sense. Back then it did, anyway.
I get the sense that this loosening of formalities in recruitment is a movement still in its infancy though. No doubt many will be aghast at this firm’s sartorial flippancy when it comes to dealing with people’s careers and very livelihoods. But not me.
There is a groundswell of popular opinion that recruitment as a practice, as an art, is moving further and further away from the school-matronly confines of the wider HR function and is forging its’ own identity and independence in a blazing trail towards the marketing department. Running a recruitment process for jobs that are easy to fill and attract large volumes of applicants isn’t really recruitment anymore. It’s administration and any myopic old HR function can run it.
Contemporary recruitment is the art of attracting, engaging, persuading, coaxing, assessing, negotiating, on-boarding and retaining. Now that is where the future of recruitment is heading, and that is what advertising and marketing is all about. And we all know what those hipsters like to look like at work.
So it shouldn’t come as much surprise that along with shifts in recruitment thinking and reporting lines, our battle attire is shifting in the same direction. But be honest with yourself. Are you donning a suit every day out of some obscure nod towards “respecting” your candidate’s precarious employment position? Or is it more a suit of armour to hide the fact your level of industry expertise doesn’t justify the fee you’re charging?