Skip to main content

The Joy Of Herding Cats

By September 7, 2017No Comments

Last week was full on with fully half of our whole Auckland office on annual leave at the same time. The task of babysitting all three desks consecutively fell to me given my remaining teammates were a colleague in only his second month and another in accounts.

A fellow recruitment Director kindly pointed out to me that it was my own fault for initiating our “silly unlimited annual leave policy” back in February.

Perhaps so, although I have no regrets about doing that, and will be doing a review of how that has all played out later in the year.

Back to the here and now though and, whilst it was refreshing to be “back in the saddle” and riding a recruitment desk again (or more accurately desperately clinging to the reins of three wild horses as they career off in different directions) there was one consistent, pervasive and overriding feature of my activity last week.

I must have spent nearly half of my week dealing with postponing and rearranging interviews, or chasing up complete no shows.


Hardly the most productive use of time. Have we in the recruitment and HR industries become so detached from order, so removed from daily planning, so untethered from any kind of control of our days that we are now just paper doll recruiters happily blowing around in the winds of our client and candidate demands?

It wasn’t always due to unexpected meetings popping up or other meetings unexpectedly going over time either (although why a quick text couldn’t be fired off mid meeting rather than just not showing up is beyond me). It seemed to me last week that a recruiter engaging in an interview process with another prospective employer is suddenly and quite worryingly subjected to all kinds of illnesses and technological meltdowns.

This interviewing lark is clearly quite dangerous and should come with a health warning.

I wonder is it the same in other industries? Do those of you searching for Accountants, hunting for Software Developers, or looking to place Construction Managers encounter the same frustrating behaviours? Or is it just us in the business of people who are so unable to commit to a prearranged plan, so subjected to the vagaries of other people’s whims?

The other way of looking at it is of course that it is the very unpredictability of our days, the barely-contained chaos of our nine to five, that makes the job of a recruiter so exciting and interesting. Maddening, sure, but never a dull moment.

herding cats card

It just means the actual act of trying to organise and connect two moving targets who are both recruiters is a full-time job in itself. ┬áLike herding cats, I once heard someone say, and never a truer word was spoken. Wouldn’t have it any other way though!

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.