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Love, Romance, And The Modern Recruiter

By October 1, 20152 Comments

I went to an event kindly hosted by Adcorp this week. Arriving slightly early following the promise of free beer on a hangover, I sat down next to the other two early attendees and introduced myself. Given the incestuous nature of the Auckland recruitment market, new introductions are increasingly rare. If Auckland is a village, as Jafas are keen to say, then us recruiters all sleep in the same hut. I got talking to my new found acquaintances, and in typical fashion, it turned out that we did know of each other, and predictably, had a few mutual friends. The room slowly filled up, and my own self-importance was thankfully sated as I recognised every other attendee and I could go back to being my brash, opinionated self. Phew.

Given that we’re all in this little recruitment clique, it’s perhaps unsurprising that some of us go on to have relationships (and I mean out of school relationships) with other recruiters. This reminded me of a recent Herald article sent to me. I say “Herald article” like you would say “Chinese Gucci”; it was stolen from a The Washington Post. The article highlighted the professions that are most likely to marry each other. Apparently, in the US at least, 25% of people in the farming, fishing and forestry industry marry within their sector. I can see the appeal to a woman of a burly lumberjack, all brawn and plaid shirt. A woman working in the fish canning industry less so.

The data didn’t go into sufficient detail, but I’d like to know the stats for our industry. In my experience, a disproportionate amount of recruiters partner with recruiters. Your usual blogger is one such example. I myself have been known to share a bottle of rosé and a beach stroll with a female recruiter, and I can name many others.  Is it the long hours, followed by drinks leading to that first pash? Is it the roguish yet alluring charm displayed by so many recruiters? Or it is simply comforting to have a partner who understands the pain of an accepted counter-offer? I think it’s a combination of the above, and I’d also argue that the skills necessary to be a good recruiter also make us fantastic at dating. Now, to be clear, I say fantastic at dating. Not marrying. Not committing. Not happy-ever-after. Many of us suck at that. But the courtship, the ensnarement, the chase, the sizzle. At this we are fantastic. Let me explain…

Most men, if we’re honest, are too scared to ask a woman out. We fear rejection. Instead we huddle in groups like a pubescent rugby team, sinking Steinlager Pure until alas, at 2am, the timing is right to make our move. By this time, if the object of our affection is still in the bar, she’s already paired up with the Brazilian DJ. Recruiters are different. We face rejection daily, for some, hourly. We wear our rejections like a badge of honour. We do a job where tenacity beats intelligence. The recruiter in the bar sidles up to a potential partner before he’s past the neck of the first Steiny. An opening line like a Hays BD call, and if it fails, he’s on to her mate. And repeat. It’s a numbers game, and he’ll be sure to make a “placement” that evening.

Similarly, we have a different understanding of the word “no”. The last woman I asked out for a drink said “no”. Surprising I know. Whereas non-recruiters go off to lick their wounds, I knew differently. It was the type of “no” my clients say when they advertise a role and I ask if I can help. It’s the type of “no” that as their inbox is filled with Malaysian upholsterers, slowly but surely turns into a “yes”. Similarly, my dating “no” turned into a “yes” as I explained the benefits and value of dating Sean Walters. True to form, I screwed up the relationship bit, but you get my point…

edit – Just so we’re clear; in other circumstances, “no” most definitely means “NO”, mmmkay guys?

For every happily married recruiting couple however, there are numerous examples of failed office romances. Two massive egos and a need to be the best clearly don’t always make good bedfellows. So whether you’re single, dating, or married, do you wish your partner knew how a free replacement will screw up next quarter? Or is that kind of chat best left in the office?

Have a good Friday everyone. I’m off to the pub with a bunch of recruiters. Other people just don’t get me.



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.


  • Great blog Sean, no doubt this rings true in most recruiter’s ears. The flooding back of random memories, tales of late night rendezvous and reminiscing of uncovering evidence of such shenanigans – the hand-print smears found on the boardroom table, the sheepish colleagues. Part and parcel of an group of extroverts put through the perils of daily battle in the trenches. Blog on Sean.

  • Nice work, Sean. My first wife was a (failed) recruiter – went credit, unfortunately. My second wife was also a recruiter (but very successful) and I am pleased to say we are is still going strong 10 years after Greg Savage first introduced us (whose first wife, and second/current wife were both recruiters). Two of the recruiters I dated before marriage #1 both finished up marrying other recruiters. It’s rife, I tell you.