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“How to Recruit” in 10 simple phrases

By October 28, 2021No Comments

I’ve had a bit of a wobble this week. Don’t worry. It’s not so bad that you have to offer me a virtual hug, coffee, or catch-up via my Facebook profile so that the world can see how “kind” you are. And although I live under a self-imposed Level 4 (as should you probably if you’re an Aucklander), it’s not from being trapped between these four walls. I have a dog, a wife, and shit-loads of wine – and between the three of them, they are catering to my basic needs. There are two things that have got to me, one of which this blog is really about. The other topic I’ll cover briefly, and then we can move on. Firstly, the non-recruitment topic: People talking nonsense on LinkedIn and Social Media about Covid and the Covid response. I’m fine with Lockdown. I’m actually fine with not seeing people, especially certain people. It’s people talking about Covid which is worse than Covid itself for me. Not that you asked, but to sum up my thoughts on the matter, in no particular order; Get vaccinated. The healthcare system has even less capacity than you probably think but won’t be turning away the un-vaxxed, no matter what you want. Money spent on vaccines and cajoling people to get them is money well spent, and much better than more ICU beds. Vaccines and case numbers should decide freedoms, not calendars. No one wants to stay locked down or keep us locked down. We’re not in North Korea, or Nazi Germany, and this is not the Holocaust. Going bust is better than death. Right, thanks for indulging me, we can move on now.

The second thing that has effected by usually zen-like countenance is the sound of my own voice. Actually, not so much the sound, more so the things I say to clients and candidates. Having recruited for almost all of my working life, and hitting my 40th birthday on Monday, there isn’t much that surprises me in the world of recruitment anymore. Now that’s not to say I’m the best recruiter out there, but perhaps I’m more like a session musician who has plied their trade for 20 years. I’m not pulling off face-melting Eddie Van Halen solos, but happily strumming away with a level of experience and knowledge. However, like this session musician, perhaps I’m slightly bored of using the same blues licks playbook. Y’see, I’ve realised that I have about 200 soundbites which I can call on in any given recruitment scenario. A pentatonic scale of questions and responses which sound good but are essentially me cruising on autopilot. Without the distraction of everyday life, I have become acutely aware of my own cliches.

Instead of dwelling on this negative, I thought I’d share a few of my favourites. Perhaps there’s someone new to the industry who might not have heard them:

“Tell me something”: In my experience, there are two types of people. Those who like to be asked, and those who like to be told. If you want info from someone who likes to be told (like where else someone is interviewing, how much money they’re being paid, or if they’re cheating on their wife), start a sentence with “Tell me something”. For maximum effect, say it quickly, so it comes out like “tellmesummik”

“What would the offer have to look like”: Get an offer from a client. Call candidate and tell them you just missed a call from the client, but you’re pretty certain they are going to offer. Use this sentence. If the number is the same or lower than the offer, hang up. Have a beer. Call candidate back and make a readily accepted offer. Lovely.

“Great question. And you should ask them that”: Use often in interview prep whenever you don’t know anything about the actual job.

“Genuinely my favourite client, and here’s why”: Just make sure you have a believable “why”. Or hang up and text “srry fone died”.

“You’ve obviously done this before”: Say this to clients with as much sincerity as you can muster when they suggest that we follow the most basic and rudimentary recruitment process.

We keep missing each other. It’s my fault, I’ve been on the phone all morning”: This is how to fall on your sword when a client goes quiet regarding feedback. One of the most used sentences in recruitment. You take the blame so your client looks good.

“I’ll tell you what I can do….”: Emphasis to be placed on the “can”. Say this when you’re giving away something you’d give away anyway. “I can’t do 10%, but what I can do is 15. Now you need to remember that I typically operate at 18%.”

“Honestly, in this market I can’t. And it wouldn’t be fair on my other clients”: This often follows the point above when a client sticks to their guns. When all else fails, play the fairness card.

“Apply to the ad and someone will be in touch”: When someone really doesn’t come across great on the phone.

“Such is life”: When you introduce the perfect candidate to a client, and when the client already knows the candidate but didn’t think to approach them directly, meaning it’s a tap-in fee, all that’s left to say is “such is life”.

That’s all from me folks. I feel much better for getting that off my chest. Feel free to add your own annoying cliches below.