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The last few years have not presented ideal conditions to learn the craft of recruitment. The post-Covid bounce, coupled with the dearth of candidates has skewed the nature of what recruitment really is. If you have started your career during this period, and forgetting the past 12 months, you could be forgiven for thinking that the core challenge of the modern recruiter is in sourcing candidates. You could also be forgiven in thinking that this is enough. If you have the candidates, you have the clients. For a period of time this was true, and it will be true again. However, for the most part, as the kick-in-the-nuts that was 2023 demonstrated, Recruitment requires much more than sourcing. And speaking with three separate Recruitment GMs this week, it’s become clear that in order for both new and old recruiters alike to prosper, the consensus is we need to “get back to basics”. What are the basics? Here’s my ten commandments of recruitment:

  1. Recruitment is a sales job: This does not mean we don’t help people. We help more people than most professions. However, we help by selling our (hopefully) excellent services to clients, selling appropriate roles to excellent candidates, and selling excellent candidates to appropriate roles. If you do not want to sell, then do not be a recruitment consultant.
  2. The phone should be used above all else: You there! Yes you drafting that email. Stop. Pick up the phone and call the person. If you can’t get hold of them, send them an email. Do this every time. Although contrary to the modern phenomenon of being a total f*cking p*ssy when it comes to phone calls, if you make phone calls instead of sending emails, you will make more money and less enemies. This is a certainty.
  3. Candidates are not king. Candidates are the product, however, they are not like other products which are sold. They have to choose to work with you and let you sell them. Recruitment is strange in that we spend as much time nurturing the product as fellating the client. It’s like a garden centre. All the love goes into watering the plants, but the plants don’t pay us anything. However, we must love the plants, nurture the plants, make the plants look their very best to achieve maximum value. Sometimes however, we must add true value by telling the plant that their market value isn’t has high as they believe. Good recruiters need to add expertise to a recruitment process that candidates respectfully don’t possess. Which brings me to my next point…
  4. Clients are not king. Clients pay us the money, but that doesn’t mean they can treat us or our candidates like crap. And, very often, the client doesn’t actually know what they’re talking about. Like that garden centre, we must know more than both the customer and the plant, and add value by sharing our expertise. Good recruiters tell their clients when they’re not paying enough, they tell their clients that what they want doesn’t exist, and they tell their client that they are being a knob-head. All without upsetting anyone. No one is “King” in the world of recruitment. Except Kings Plant Barn of course.
  5. Meetings need to happen often: Actual meetings, where your flesh touches another person’s flesh. Not a Teams meeting. You need to be meeting candidates and clients like this. However, just meeting them to tick a box isn’t enough…
  6. Meeting must have goals and these goals must be achieved: Achieving something from a meeting is incredibly easy, and yet some recruiters don’t seem to focus on achieving anything. Here’s a few goals that you might want to achieve. 1) You pick up a job brief. 2) You get yourself anotherĀ  candidate. 3) You get a referral – either a candidate or client 4) You get relevant market intelligence that you can commoditise in your next conversation. 5) Someone likes you a bit more than they did previously. All of these things are worth more than the eight bucks you spend on coffee.
  7. Activity must be logged: If not, all this good stuff didn’t happen, and your new non-recruitment GM will sh*t the bed as he or she has based a board report on these numbers. It’s also useful for when you get fired.
  8. The gym and pub are to be earnt: Do not go to the gym for one and a half hours at lunch if you’re not in the top half of billers in your firm. Just don’t. No one cares about your “self-care” until you start caring about your performance.
  9. Activity is king: The highest performing recruiters do the most activity, even if it doesn’t look like it. Successful senior recruiters make it look easy, but don’t underestimate the number of calls, meetings, emails, and texts that they’re nailing on the daily.
  10. …but activity isn’t enough: Lots and lots of quality activity is what it takes. I can’t help you with that bit though.

Anyway, enough from me. Please feel free to add your own or delete as appropriate.