There has been a lot of talk lately about Recruiting; recruiting as a business, recruiters as professionals and what we do in general. There have been articles about candidates and clients both hating the Recruiters that they work with. There have been discussions on how to pick and choose a good Recruiter, what makes a bad one and why the business is the way it is. We ourselves have chimed in and knocked others in the business (not necessarily unjustified) but it’s given me pause. What’s wrong with what we do?
Here I am sitting at my laptop realizing that no one has a problem with Recruiters per se, not the clients, not the candidates and not us. Instead, it’s our place in the world that is so hated. At the end of the day, we as Recruiters spend all of our time getting people jobs, negotiating salaries and benefits and essentially fulfilling a real and true service to the public. We can be the crucial lifeline that someone needs to take care of their family…but do we still care? Is it us, or our careless manner that really turns those candidates, those people, those parents off? What has recruiting become? If you read the complaints, the criticisms and critiques it’s less and less about the business and more and more about Recruiters treating their candidates and clients alike like commodities rather than people. Has it really all become about the bottom line?
As a whole I believe Recruiters are actually very good people. It’s not necessarily an accident that people have found themselves in the profession. It takes dedication, drive, insight and a very sharp instinct for people. It’s tough to be that good with people if you don’t care about them in the first place. No, I would argue that almost all Recruiters are people focused. After all, they’re working in a profession whose entire focus, day in and day out is people. But as time has gone on, the economy has changed and businesses have grown. The industry itself has undergone a significant boom with the focus moving from small boutique firms to massive international corporations that ‘specialize’ in specific lines of business. Massive corporations encourage ‘resume slinging’ as part of their service agreements, essentially forcing recruitment companies to throw a specific number of resumes at any and all job orders within 24 hours, lest they be punished.
Recruiting, like so many professions, has become a big business. Margins needs to be maintained, profits padded and costs reduced. Many of us, certainly many more than people think, still strive to make a difference. But with a greater and greater focus being put upon percentages, margins and big corporations, the profession has changed drastically. So what can we do?
If you’re a Recruiter who still cares, you still have a choice in the matter. No matter where you are, you can strive to be the best possible. You can remember that each person you’re dealing with is a person, not just a candidate. But if you’re in a big shop, it’s going to run you down and burn you out fast. For many of us, as time goes on in this profession and we still want to make that difference and be a partner, both to our clients and our candidates, smaller recruiting shops have become a real answer. Smaller recruiting firms offer some of the best options for those of us who want to take the time to partner….fewer clients, less profit, but more compassion. If you think it’s worth the trade, you might just be a real professional.