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I never wanted to work in Rec to Rec. In fact, of all the desks in recruitment, 12 years ago it would have been bottom of my list. It would have been so far down in fact, that I would have told you that I would have been a real estate agent before working in rec to rec. I would have been an immigration advisor. I would have sold photocopiers. I would have dug holes in the road. I would have been a car salesman. Actually, I’d already done that, but f*ck it – I’d go back to it. My disdain for this thing called “rec to rec” was not without evidence. In my seventeen years in recruitment, I have engaged with Rec to Recs four times as a candidate. I’ve been on the receiving end of their floats many more times than that, but that’s another blog all together. Out of those four experiences, two have been in London, and two in Aotearoa. Out of those four experiences, three have been utterly abysmal. I either didn’t meet the Recruiter, or met in the lobby of a building the cheapskate recruiter had no business using. The operating model of these three clowns was surprisingly similar. All three talked at me for the best part of an hour. They asked few questions, and instead spent most of this time covering me off on every client they had ever worked with, and no doubt a good few they hadn’t. On each occasion I left the meeting slightly bewildered. I knew no more about the market than before, I didn’t feel that they knew me at all, but did know my CV was about to be spread about town like a crack addicted hooker. Thankfully, the fourth experience led me to where I am today.

Jon Rice has always had a very different view on what Rec to Rec is. Jon got in to Rec to Rec as he saw it as the ultimate challenge: providing recruitment services to people who knew all the tricks. Adding value to people who think they can find their own recruitment jobs thankyouverymuch. I put this astonishing level of naivety  down to the fact that Jon has never recruitment in the mecca of Rec to Rec; Old London Town. Misplaced naivety or not, it did mean that Rice Consulting was set up, and operated in a very different way than the rec to recs I’d previously experienced. Jon didn’t realise that he was meant to sit at home in his underpants flicking CVs out to people who had never heard of him. To cut a long story short, I, like the Gillette guy who liked the razor so much he bought the company, ended up doing something I thought I’d never do; co-owning a rec to rec company.

Why am I taking this stroll down memory lane you may ask? Well as many of you know already, and as featured in last week’s Whiteboard, Scott Burnett who has faithfully and diligently carried the Rice Agency Rec to Rec torch for the past 6 years has moved on to do his own thing. As pained as I am to see a friend leave the business, six years is a long time. And I know from personal experience that if you have an itch to do your own thing, then you’ve got to go and scratch it. In fact, I encourage anyone to deal with any itch. Most things are treatable with a course of antibiotics. This has meant that for the last week, I’ve been thrust into a surprisingly busy agency rec to rec desk. Not only am I working on a number of cool vacancies, but I’m busy arranging catch ups with all of you agency lot to discuss hiring plans for next year. If I haven’t contacted you yet, don’t worry – you’re on the list, but feel free to drop me a note if you’re feeling particularly proactive. 2023 is going to see Rice Consulting on steroids. Mark my words.

What these recent changes have made me realise, is just how wrong about rec to rec I was. Previously, I probably shared the same view that most UK agencies have of rec to rec consultants. Rec to recs were bottom feeders. Then I came on board at Rice and realised that it was challenging, interesting, infuriating, fun, engaging, tiresome, and worthwhile in equal measure. And now that I am on the tools full time, I’ve never been more in love with this industry, and here’s why:

If I were an IT recruiter, I’d have a passing knowledge of the technologies I recruit within. I could talk credibly about it to clients and hiring managers, but I probably couldn’t write a line of code. If I was an Accounting & Finance Recruiter, I could laugh at the ridiculousness of recruitment with my colleagues, but not my clients and candidates. For them, I keep the facade that recruitment is all very professional and that we are absolutely not by any means winging it. No sir. If I was a business support Recruiter, I’d be recruiting high volumes with candidates who often see me as A. Another Recruiter who happens to have a temp contract starting tomorrow. And if I was a Search Consultant, I couldn’t write blogs calling out all the knobheads I encounter each week. As an Agency Rec to Rec Recruiter at Rice, I have none of these shackles or considerations. We sit dead centre of both our client and candidate base. The lines between client, candidate, friend, and competitor are wonderfully blurred. We can sit with clients and candidates and absolutely, 100%, unequivocally know what they do to earn a crust. Because we do the same thing. We can laugh openly about how f*cked up recruitment can be. We can work small volumes with high touch. And we can write absolutely what we want in a blog. I absolutely adore it.

Anyway, that’s about it from me today, as we’re all unashamedly a bit dusty following the Rice PowWow last night. However, I should add that although I’m loving running a desk, I have a few other responsibilities and..well..I’m getting pretty old. So we are on the lookout for someone to take the baton. We’re in no rush, but if you’re looking for  something that is unlike any recruitment job you’ve ever done, with almost limitless possibilities, then you know what to do.