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The One Lesson Recruiters Can Learn from Trump

By November 10, 2016December 2nd, 2022One Comment

This isn’t a blog post about Donald Trump. The biggest political story in over a century has been commented on by people with far more insight and erudition than me, and I’m sure will be for weeks and months to come. Especially as we start to witness the unfolding horror story as Trump’s new administration brings to reality the fanciful and populist “policies” seemingly dreamed up on the spot by America’s new misogynistic, fear-mongering President-elect.

But therein lies the lesson from Trump. The one thing that the more educated and liberal-minded of us might be able to glean from his bellicose utterings. And the one thing that recruiters, in particular, can learn from his approach. The thing is with Trump is that what you see is what you get. He is authentic. Sure it may be the kind of authenticity that makes you question where the hell we are taking this planet of ours, but you get the very real sense that when he says he’s going to do something, it’s going to get done.

As scary as that thought might be, and it really is, the one trait I’ve learned to value most highly in recruiters is when I know they are for real, they are authentic, they do what they say they are going to do even if it is awkward, difficult or likely to upset someone.


The world is full of chancers, charlatans, liars and thieves. Last Sunday we had a visit from a shifty-looking guy with a backpack asking if we had any painting jobs. Something wasn’t quite right about him, even to the extent that our dog, more given to jumping up to give strangers a lick before rolling over for a tummy rub, was moved to offer a couple of growling barks at his presence. We live in the kind of place where the community Facebook page quickly lit up with comments from neighbours who had also received strange visits from this man, before someone revealed he was known as a burglar checking whether houses were vacant or not.

These kind of tactics are not required to run a successful recruitment desk, but it still seems that fact has eluded some in our industry. The ones that give us all a bad name.

I heard a story from a Construction Recruiter here in Auckland earlier this week.  He told me how he had a “candidate” call him last Friday saying he was a Project Manager from GJ Gardner looking for work and asking who he was working with. The recruiter asked him to send his CV over the weekend, took down his email, and waited.  No CV came through over the weekend so this recruiter simply called the mobile number that he’d called in on, only to reach an answerphone message:

“Hello you’ve reached Tarquin from Spencer Marks… please leave a message.”

Hopefully it’s clear that I’ve changed the names here and that, of course, this was actually an Auckland based recruiter from a competitor…but really man? I can’t understand any circumstances when this kind of underhand approach makes sense, but especially when we’re currently operating within the biggest construction boom Auckland has ever seen.

This guy could in all likelihood pick up the phone to five residential building companies and get five project manager vacancies on. In about 10 minutes. I’m still unsure whether this is corner-cutting, laziness, or just seeking to waste a competitor’s time. But seriously, we can be better than this in recruitment.

If I was this recruiter’s boss I’d let Trump himself have the last word:

Image result for trump you're fired


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.

One Comment

  • Johan Ferrari says:

    Another thing we can learn is that “big data” and all the surveys don’t mean a thing…..