Challenging the Recruitment Stigma

by Laura Mitchell

“Recruiters are: scum, useless, evil, a waste of time”. It was advised to me shortly after embarking on my recruitment career that I refrain from Googling ‘Recruiters are’, as you can see the results are rather disheartening.

Despite my initial apprehension about joining such a stigmatised industry, working for Network HR over the past 3 months has been a fulfilling, rewarding experience. It would be insincere to state that I skip into the office on a Monday morning, brimming with excitement for the long day ahead. Recruitment is a tough job; we are more accustomed to hearing the word ‘No’ than a misbehaving toddler & are turned down more than the beds at Holiday Inn. However, we will continue to challenge the negative misconceptions about the recruitment industry, & here are 3 reasons why…

1. Integrity is Integral

In contrast to popular belief, we would gain very little; if anything at all, from forgoing our integrity to make a ‘quick buck’. By forming honest partnerships with our clients we can develop a true understanding of the businesses we are recruiting for, & provide candidates that we consider a perfect fit. A successful placement results in a respectable reputation. A respectable reputation leads to repeated business. Repeated business strengthens our relationships with our clients (I’m sure you’ve grasped where this cyclical process is going). We pride ourselves on our consultative approach in tailoring our service to best suit the needs of our clients.

2. ‘Inch wide, mile deep’

It is not a coincidence that I specialise in recruiting HR professionals for the charity sector. The Director of Network HR strategically placed me on this desk due to my previous experience working within the Third Sector. The same can be said for my colleagues; we have all been tasked with becoming experts in industries that we are passionate about. By adopting an ‘inch wide, mile deep’ approach, we can share market knowledge with our clients & candidates about both the HR industry & the sector in which we specialise. We can benefit our clients by informing them of changes that are to occur in the market before they’ve happened; in short, we are always one step ahead.

3. A person, not a number

For arguments sake, let’s just say recruiters spend 8 hours a day talking. When we are not engrossed in conversation on the telephone, we are leaving voicemails. When we are not leaving voicemails, we are sending emails. Not sending emails? We are connecting with people on Linkedin. That totals 40 hours a week, times 52 weeks, minus Christmas & holidays equals…well, I was never good at maths, but you understand my point. To introverts, I am sure this prospect is horrifying. However, for us loud-mouthed, extravert recruiters, talking to people is a perk of the job. We genuinely care about our clients & candidates; their aspirations, business growth plans, previous challenges & career highlights. It is a rewarding to find a candidate their perfect job, & to provide a valued employee for a client. It is an enjoyable experience building rapport with people, not a random number on a database.

It would be myopic to assume that all recruiters are merely misunderstood, & operate in accordance to the aforementioned values. I am certain that a number of recruitment agencies still adopt a transactional, dishonest approach to filling vacancies. However, it is equally as short-sighted to presume that “Recruiters are [insert offensive term]”, for we are not all cut from the same cloth. So heed these words when you next receive a phone call from a recruiter, hear us out before hanging up. We are not all [insert offensive term], I promise.

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