I’ll admit it. I’m in need of the Christmas break. Typically, give me a few hours’ sleep, a sneaky pint at lunchtime, and I pride myself on staying pretty fresh. This year, more than others it would seem, has taken its toll. Maybe I’m just getting old. Or maybe the constant hokey cokey of lockdown has depleted my energy reserves. I don’t believe either is true however. I believe my wheels are currently falling off purely because I’ve been really really busy this year. And that’s not just recruiter talk, where all questions about our activities or general status are answered with the ubiquitous “Busy. Real busy“. This year, for all its twists and turns, has created an environment where any half decent recruiter should have made themselves exceptionally busy. And I might actually be half decent. Only half though.
Thankfully, it’s nothing that a good couple of days off the tools won’t fix. Over the years I’ve learnt that to survive in recruitment you’ve got to be like Kenny Rogers’ Gambler. Yes, you need the tenacity to see it through, but “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away. And know when to run”. Bearing this in mind, here’s a few warning signs that it’s time to call it a day, a job, or a career.
If, after a long lockdown, you are not in some part looking forward to seeing your colleagues and boss
We don’t need to be besties. We don’t even need to socialise together. But if you didn’t in some way look forward to seeing ol’ knobhead on the A&F Contracting desk, then you may just be in the wrong firm. Recruitment still has some miles left in the tank for you, but life is too short to work with people who you don’t like. Here at Rice, we see many people who think they don’t like recruitment, when in reality, they just hate their boss.
If you no longer get a kick from that end of quarter, immediate start, placement.
Recruitment, in many ways, is like a drug. Not much matches the high of that first placement, and you can be working to diminishing returns from that point on. However, after 15 years in the game, that last minute deal still gives me a semi. If placements now do nothing but numb the pain, you’ve got a few options. Either you move into a non-billing manager role, which is as rare as rockinghorse shit here in Aotearoa, you take a break, and like a couple giving it “one last try” see if you can rekindle the spark, or you bow out of the industry before it kicks you out. If you are not getting that buzz any more, then you will soon find your billings reducing. It’s just how it goes.
If your calls are all going wrong
Recruitment is a confidence game, and like a lot of games, you can’t force it. Some days, it’s just not happening. In this situation, many young recruiters, encouraged by their bosses, hit the phones even harder. This is a mistake. As crap calls are worse than no calls, if you’re not running hot, you need to get yourself in a different headspace. Go the gym. Go to the pub. Go home. Do anything except repeating the same errors and expecting a change of fortune. If your boss doesn’t get this, then come and chat to us.
If you’re working too late
Contrary to popular opinion, I’m not against working evenings. An email sent at 8pm when you have a spare 15 minutes often relieves a heap of stress and hassle from the next day. And I think we all now know that if someone emails you at a weird time, they don’t expect a reply at a weird time. Calls are a different matter. If it’s a candidate or client who you’re currently working with, then anything after 5.30pm should be initiated with a text. This is New Zealand not London. If you’re currently working with a client or candidate, then maybe 6pm is alright, but at least acknowledge that you’re calling “out of hours” in you intro.
If you’re not billing any money
Recruitment is not for everyone. And if you gave it a go, listened to the training, made the calls, but are still struggling, then maybe it’s not for you. There is no shame in this. Many people you know were secretly Recruiters for 3 months. The reason they struggled to find success is probably the reason they went on to be successful in another career. If it’s not for you, please don’t take 5 years to realise it. You won’t be happy, your boss won’t be happy, and your colleagues won’t be happy that such a nice person is struggling so much.
If you’re writing a recruitment blog to an audience of 3 men and a dog on Christmas Eve
Although in my defence, it does kill some time until the pub opens at 12. Swing by for a pint if you’re about.