If I could have a dollar for every time I get some sort of backhanded comment about my choice of profession, I could retire very happily. Truth is, recruitment is an industry so often maligned, it reaches well into discrimination territory and frankly, I am sick of it.
True, the industry has it’s problems – and I have made it quite clear what those problems are, and what can be done to fix them, but there comes a time when you have to push back and say ‘Yes, I chose this profession, suck it up, and don’t be so goddamned pedantic about it’.
As soon as someone who is not a recruiter sees that you are one, all images are conjured up of money-hungry corporate vandals who have nary a business-acumen bone in their body, there to either greedily solicit a role or sucker you into taking one. Frustratingly, when recruiters try to explain their role in the business world, it is often put down and derided…but yet, recruitment is exactly the same as any other industry, just held aloft in a different, more critical light.
Recruitment is a bugger of an industry: fighting low margins, high expectations, difficult KPIs (for some!) and difficult customers of all ilks makes it an industry that should be dead and buried, yet for the dedication of some really clever, highly savvy and ultimately caring people who become recruiters for the most noble of reasons. However, when faced with a greater business community that treats them like second-(business)class people, it is hard to keep and inspire them.
The truth is, the recruitment industry is a highly-discriminated one. As indicated by a previous post that looked at why universities charge recruiters to advertise on their job boards (whilst not charging businesses of larger size in both workforce and financials), to a simple guffaw at the mention of you being one, it is an industry that has to contend with the simple fact it is what it is.
A good example happened recently, I was aiming to join a group on Linked In, which would allow me to learn more about an industry that I was entering into. I dutifully sent off a request to join, only to get refused. Why? Because I was ‘one of those recruiters’. Simple. Nothing more. Had I been a convicted thief or corporate vandal, I would’ve been welcomed in…but no, as a recruiter, I am barred. This has happened multiple times, and it has got to a stage where it completely (and rightly) cheeses me off. Sure, I may want to contact some members of the group if a role becomes available, but done with sincerity and care, it will not impact anyone else within the group. So who cares? Have they become too precious not to want to subject members of our group to a recruiter? Are we the devil incarnate? Besides the fact that said members may be actually interested in hearing about roles on the go, is there something so hideously vile about having a recruiter on your list of members? Harden up, princesses. Far be it for me as a recruiter to want to research or understand aspects about the group and the industry it relates to…yet if I were to speak to a candidate and be found wanting on my industry knowledge, I would be rightly criticised. Juxtaposition, anyone?
Let’s look at it: Recruitment is a job, just like any others. We need to make money for our businesses (or for ourselves like some solo operators out there!). Our job is to help people find their next role and for businesses to find their next top employee. We facilitate that. We are not thieving from your business, we are not charging exorbitant fees. We are offering a service that would be difficult to replicate internally without the proper tools and plan. It is something that will be missed if it is gone, and yet we cop the same bulldust day in-day out simply because we have the hide to work in a role such as this.
By all means complain about what we do. We see it all the time from candidates and businesses who go to social media and other places to lament about something that happened. It’s the same with any other industry – you get bad service, you make a noise about it. Yet with recruitment, that noise seems to resonate loudly with a broad cross-section of the business community, resulting in a massive tar-filled brush being applied to the industry as a whole. This diminishes the positive work done by the majority of recruiters who are genuine and dedicated to making a difference. It is a very unwise person that rubbishes a whole industry based on the impact of a small minority. However, it is that which happens consistently – and when I get people deliberately barring me (and others) from doing something to improve my lot and my approach to my work, without reason and without need, it demonstrates clearly that I work in an industry that is highly discriminated against.
Is that fair? No.