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The Mental Impact of Recruitment

By October 27, 2016No Comments

There’s a common refrain in recruitment used to describe the rollercoaster ride of emotions it can subject its practitioners to, “Champagne and Razorblades…”

This phrase is most frequently rolled out at the checkpoints in a recruiter’s working week, at the pinnacle when a senior candidate accepts an offer and a big deal is landed, and then with the (more frequently occurring) nadir, when a client changes their mind just at offer stage and makes an internal appointment instead. The perfect scenario to illustrate the ludicrous logic behind contingent recruitment, yet still something we continually subject ourselves to – for those elusive champagne moments.

This phrase is usually stated with a skip in the step or a knowing roll of the eyes, depending on the situation.  But for many in recruitment this phrase is actually more meaningful than many realise.

I’m not sure whether recruitment is an industry that attracts slightly unhinged people; or whether it is in fact the running of a recruitment desk that makes people lose a firm grip on their marbles, but it’s fair to say we are an industry with more than our fair share of crazy characters.

Image result for you dont have to be crazy to work here

I hear stories all the time about the “mental” behaviour of particular recruiters: From urban legends like the IT recruiter at my first company who responded to being told he couldn’t sit down until making a certain number of calls by making sales calls standing on his head, to just last week when a client told me about the “absolute nutter” who they had to let go – great on the phones with clients but just weirded them out with her intensity when meeting in person.

The decision that recruitment industry leaders have to make is whether to shrug this off with a laugh, as behaviour just typifying the crazy nature of our industry, or taking it a little more seriously.

Last week I was at a breakfast seminar held to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation in Mental Health Awareness Week.  Our own Sean Walters was one of the speakers (he opted to talk about HR & Recruitment rater than mental health in the workplace – I reckon he could probably add authoritative commentary on both to be honest). What stood out was a particularly useful handout about mental wellbeing and 5 tips to help in the workplace:

  1. Connect – Talk & Listen, be there, feel connected
  2. Give – your time, your words, your presence
  3. Take Notice – remember the simple things that give you joy
  4. Keep Learning – embrace new experiences, see opportunities, surprise yourself
  5. Be Active – do what you can, enjoy what you do, move your mood

MHF tips

I love the recruitment industry and especially love the characters that populate it. Over recent years industry leaders have placed an increased focus on physical wellbeing like company gym passes, work sports teams, sponsored runs, free fruit etc. I think that just as much should be done for the mental wellbeing of your recruiters too, though.

You don’t want the razorblades element to become more than a comment made in jest.

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.