Enjoying Recruitment for what it is
How many recruiters say that they love their job? If social media is anything to go by it appears almost every recruiter loves their job. But how many people actually do? In the words of Ann Robinson on the Weakest Link (Forgive my lack of imagination), “who’s telling fibs and who’s lying to themselves”? Let me explain.
Being a Recruiter
I enjoy my job. I’ll put it out there. And that’s not perks or being the boss or high earnings and benefits that do that. I like being a recruiter. I enjoy it for what it is. Whether it be the sales thrill of the chase to get a new client on. Or the having a good catchup chat with a client. Speaking to a great candidate. Finding that rare gem applicant. I don’t know how to pinpoint it if I am honest, but I just enjoy the buzz of the job. Yes, I still get that buzz.
Minority or Majority
I don’t feel that my opinion of the job fits with the majority of the people who do it though. For me, companies in our industry are obsessed with perks. It’s more of how can we offer better perks than here’s a group of people that enjoy doing the job itself. Don’t get me wrong, perks are great. Who doesn’t want incentive holiday breaks, free top restaurant lunches and duvet days? They’re terrific. But if I am honest what I’d really enjoy is being amongst a group of people that I work with who love doing what they do more so than the perks. And this is where I feel there is difference between people who love their jobs because of the perks and those who love there jobs for the work itself.
Let me clarify
Do you remember playing a sport or game at school that you enjoyed and wanted to win at, but there were that one or two people in the team with you that winning didn’t matter to? Sure, they gave it a go, but it was half arsed at best. They were there and they played their part. Some would argue that this is fair enough. But at that moment you really wanted to win, and it annoyed you that they weren’t giving it everything.
And this sums up my point. People do things for three reasons. They have to, they need to or because they want to. When I am in a team of people, I want the people around me to be trying to succeed not because they have to or they need to, but because they want to just as much as I do.
Management and Leadership
The simple difference between Management and Leadership is that a manager gets the best out of people who have to or need to be there, but the leader gets the best out of the people who want to be there. Most work environments, and not just recruitment, are more about managers finding ways to motivate their teams. That’s management, not leadership. It’s trying to get people to want to win, rather than showing them how to win. The approach is based on what problem you are trying to solve. If you have people that are there because they have to or need to, you’ll need to incentivise them. But if you’ve got people who want to win, they’ll want to win regardless.
Winning Vs Perks
The best recruiters I have ever known didn’t really give a damn about a duvet day or a late start. They wouldn’t necessarily turn them down if offered, but all they really cared about was winning. Those are the one’s who win number 1 spot for top biller or sweep the trophy’s at an award ceremony. These people are driven to succeed.
Yet, every recruitment advert goes on about perks. It’s more about attracting people by telling them all about the cherries on the cake rather than the substance inside. They bang on about how great their culture is and their wellness breaks and their charity work. They are all great things, but where are the meat and the bones?
Work is bad, perks are good
For me, too much emphasis is put on that work is bad and perks are good. Perks are good. Who doesn’t love good perks? But why is it that work is seen as such a bad thing. Think about it.
Duvet Days – Away from the office
Ping Pong – Away from the desk
Lunch Out – Away from the office
Flexi-Time – More away from the office
Remote Working – Don’t come to the office
They’re great, but I actually enjoy coming in to the office. I like seeing people. Interaction is good. Conversation is good. Banter is good. It’s the spread of ideas, the flow and the socialisation that’s fun. But with the way recruitment adverts and company’s employee marketing campaigns are communicated, it’s as if people would prefer to be anywhere but sat at their desk in the office. These must be naff places to work!
Enjoying the job for the work itself
My ideal work environment is where I am sat exclusively with people who want to win for a common cause. For your team or your company to be number one. To be the best. And to achieve something that you’ll be genuinely proud of and will look back on with fondness for years to come. An environment where everyone is there because they want to be. Among people who wouldn’t want to let the person on the left or right of them down, because they know those people wouldn’t want to let them down either. A place where your ideas and imagination are important. Where your contribution is making a difference. Where you can enjoy what you do with other people who also enjoy their job just as much as you do. That’s a real a purposeful environment. This is the environment that we are trying to build.
For me, I find that the UK recruitment industry tends to typically fall into two types of culture. Beat them with a stick or be a nice friendly pro-positivity environment. Both despise, ridicule or criticise the opposite ideology in their own way.
I’ve experienced both cultures. I was raised in an old school hard knocks beat you with a stick type of environment where performance pressure was where your job is on the line if you fail at anything. And I’ve experienced a nice, no pressure, ping pong tables and bean bags environment. Yet, I didn’t like either.
I am the type of person who wants to be there. You could shout and scream or compliment and comfort me. It doesn’t really make a huge difference to my input. I’ll give my all because I want to win. But I’ve got past that winning for me part. You know the “I’m great” bit. I feel slightly uncomfortable banging on about my successes. It doesn’t sit well with me like it used to.
For me, being part of something bigger than what I can do individually is better. Our industry seems to talk about team work, but promote individuality. But I’d now like to collaborate with people who want to be more about we’re great and what can be achieved if we work together on something. Making something brilliant. Changing the way things are done. For that to work you need people who want to be there for the work itself and not just because of your incentives package. Sure, incentives are great, but it feels like they should be an added bonus rather than a goal. I remember being a consultant and working with people who didn’t really give a damn. They’d do average and get a pat on the back. How sad is that?
Maybe, I’m alone in my thinking, but I’d love to think that others would love that same opportunity. To go somewhere with the specific purpose of working collaboratively to build something everyone of us would be proud of and really make a difference. That’s the dream.
I’ll leave you with this. When you get old and look back on your career what would you say is your proudest achievement? I guess that it’s what matters to you that counts.
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