we don’t see ourselves as Professional Services Consultants, then why should
I finished my tertiary study as an Economics Graduate with many
options for a career, yet can’t imagine any other role could have given me the
sense of purpose and satisfaction that my 20-year career as a recruiter and
industry leader has given me.
As a professional recruitment consultant, I use my IQ, EQ, deep
questioning and listening skills and develop a sound knowledge of my sector.
I must understand the perspectives, and work in the best interests,
of both my clients and candidates.
My interpersonal, negotiation and influencing skills are utilised
through all parts of the job.
I must apply my analytical skills to address
problems and partner with my clients to find an effective solution.
I must use my knowledge of the market and the needs and drivers of
the talent within it to truly consult.
I need to offer different solutions, have a Plan B (and C and beyond)
and recognise that no two people or companies are the same.
This is a tough gig requiring insight, creativity and originality to
consistently deliver results.
As a recruiter, I do not ‘sell’ a tangible product.
I work with people, on both sides of the process; the client and the
Human beings are far more complex than any product. Unlike widgets,
candidates don’t stay on the shelf whilst I negotiate a deal for them; I can’t
audit a set of numbers, rely on physics, contract law, design principles of any
other empirical facts.
I can’t manufacture another candidate to be just like the last
candidate I ‘supplied’ to my client and we certainly can’t re-engineer a person
(nor should we want to), if they don’t quite ‘fit’.
High performing people are still the critical determinant of
workplace success. I clearly remember the words from a speaker at a conference
I attended about 15 years ago; ‘By 2020, Executive Search and Selection will be
ranked as one of the Top 20 jobs.’ Why? Because to secure high performing
talent is the mission of every high performing organisation.
What we do may not be ‘rocket-science’, but sometimes it seems like
it’s more difficult than getting a person to the moon.
To build and maintain a career in this industry, I’ve had to have a
genuine interest in the long-term success of the people I am working with; my
colleagues, my clients and my candidates.
The best recruiters make it look
easy. Underneath it there is a huge amount of skill and effort and when
the deadlines roll in it can become stressful very quickly.
As our understanding of human psychology, workplace culture and
performance have evolved, so have the challenges and skills of a recruiter
As a naïve graduate I couldn’t possibly know how my career would turn
I’m grateful that it’s turned out the way it has, even in the face of
what the COVID-19 shock has delivered to recruitment, and the workforce, in
I don’t know what’s ahead in the next few months, or years, but I am
confident that everything I have learned from my career as a recruiter has
given me the best possible chance to thrive and to help my colleagues, clients
and candidates thrive as well.
Bring it on.