Why recruitment doesn’t deserve its reputation

Business woman, recruitment agency
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As the managing director and co-founder of a recruitment business it pains me to see the industry I’ve worked in for over a decade now be on the receiving end of so much criticism.

After all, how often do you read anything positive about the hiring industry? From our perspective, all of this criticism – not directed at us it must be said – simply isn’t founded in any truth and it’s only a tiny percentage of the profession that drags the rest of it down. But why does the recruitment industry have such a terrible reputation and what is it actually like in reality?

First of all, recruiters are like snowflakes, no two are the same. This point should be remembered when you consider the experience you’ve most likely had with recruiters in the past. You know the ones. They’re the firms that bombard you with irrelevant information about jobs you don’t want, you’re not suited for, and that you certainly haven’t applied for. These tend to be the experiences that people remember about the industry and it’s those stereotypes that can drag the rest of it down. Too many people consider recruiters as wheeler dealers, flashy youngsters with no qualifications and a shiny suit and that, for the majority of us, isn’t true. There are firms that do things properly and support, train and ultimately trust their staff.

Recruitment is, rather obviously, about putting people in jobs and it can be an incredibly satisfying task. It would be remiss not to say that you can make a considerable amount of money if you’re good at what you do and while there are those successful individuals who take short cuts and do things the wrong way, they inevitably get caught out in the long run. Yes, it is a sales job, but you have to remember that recruiters aren’t just made up of salespeople, they also include back office and support teams as well as finance, marketing and administrative departments. That means that – if you have a good employer – and it turns out you’re not suited to sales, for example, then they could find something you are good at.

It’s not an easy job and the images you probably see on LinkedIn of the jet-setting, sports car driving, money raking recruiter aren’t necessarily true outside of the top performers in the market. You’ll have good days and bad days, like any job, and like any sales job you’ll need to be confident, resilient and comfortable interacting with people. That said, only the most negligent of employers would sit you next to a phone and expect you to go and make millions without being fully prepared. Any firm worth its salt will offer robust training and development schemes and will recognise that sending anyone out into the market who hasn’t been properly coached, is only going to reflect badly on the organisation as whole.

Ultimately, your experience of working in recruitment comes down to the organisation you pick and, without blowing our own trumpet, we think we’re a good one. We’ve been recognised by our team members and industry trade bodies as a supportive and good employer and that’s why the idea that recruiters will simply toss anyone who can’t make them money immediately out on their ear is so wrong in our eyes. Our offices and support teams are comprised of people who’ve been with us for a number of years and who, in many cases, started off in a different function before moving across to find something they’re better suited to. We benefit from the skills of team members who feel confident and supported by their employer and if more recruiters adopted this approach, it’s highly likely that the industry wouldn’t face the image problems it currently does.

Paul Payne, MD & Founder, One WayAbout the author

Paul Payne is Managing Director and Co-Founder of One Way the specialist construction and rail recruitment firm. With over 15 years’ experience in the construction recruitment arena, Paul is highly passionate about growing the organisation and finding recruitment solutions for both clients and candidates across One Way’s specialist fields.

Paul is also an advocate of improving the external image of the construction industry and increasing interest in potential careers in the sector, particularly for women. It’s for this reason that Paul and One Way recently launched the #GirlsAllowed campaign which aims to bolster the number of female professionals operating in the industry.”

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