The Hat Collection of a Recruiter

by Steve Lee

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A recent conversation resulted in a top to bottom explanation of how we recruiters pull together talent and opportunity to form perfect harmony (or at least we try). 

The conversation started with an incoming call on a crazy-busy afternoon, it was an agency owner looking for very a specialist skill set which combined technical, language, soft skills, and as always, serious motivation! The briefing on requirements was over in less than five minutes, in certain circumstances, such a limited briefing would almost certainly result in a fail but we had delivered for the client successfully not so long ago, so being short on time this was taken as sufficient to start mapping out a search. 

And then came the closing line from the client "you've got my email just chuck over whatever you have lying around". The music stopped and a showdown was imminent (or at least it felt that way). 

A recruiter will always have a base of candidates, some are immediately available, some are available in 3 or 6 months time, and some..... are looking for that next move in a years' time when they relocate to the other side of the country. 

The Specialist 

Attracting, managing and retaining talent has so many processes and stages and whilst there are certain rules of thumb, no two people are the same and therefore it's crucial we treat each case individually and this applies to both candidate and client. 

Every decent recruiter will be known as A Specialist in their field, knowing their marketplace, market info, trends, new releases, team environments and structures and always know what everyone is up to in their marketplace. 

The Negotiator

There is no denying that the modern workplace is fast and furious and a lot of the time, pretty bloody stressful. More often than not when a hiring managing wants to grow their team they have to get sign off from finance and they need to put a strong case together which can result in a list of requirements/skills which are unrealistic, I'm sure you've heard of the unicorn hire? 

It's no secret that recruiters are trained in negotiation techniques, as The Negotiator this isn't all about rates or fees it goes much deeper and often the main negotiations that take place are around the requirements of the role, ensuring that all parties involved are playing fair and expectations are managed. Expecting one person to do multiple roles rarely works out well. 

The Salesperson

The best opportunities and employers will all come with a level of competition, even when it comes to getting a foot in the door for a first stage interview. With many big blue chips opting for large supplier lists to get the right level of talent, a recruiter can be up against a number of other headhunters looking to get their candidates ahead of the game. Here comes The Salesperson. 

Sales is not always about a monetary transaction, a candidate from an unknown business with little notable success on their CV might not stand out on paper but could be the next big thing due to their knowledge, drive, attitude or even their contacts.

The Mentor

I'm going to be shameless and bring on the cheese with the onion analogy, sometimes a candidate relationship can be such an unraveling process, the person that joins your client seems a world away from the person you met in your office three months ago. 

There are candidates you will register fresh out of uni and you take on the role of The Mentor helping them through probation, promotion and watch them grow and work their way up with your client. 

A career change is a big step in anyone's life, no recruiter is a 9 to 5'er, there's always a situation where a late night call about an interview or sudden change of circumstance where you have to have to be a good will this new boss/office relocation/unrealistic deadline or crappy office vibe affect this person's career plans? 

Sometimes it isn't even work related, one of my favourite candidates to date relocated to London from way up north and having booked 5 interviews I received a call the night before they were due to come to London and Facebook had revealed the promiscuities of my candidates partner leaving them heartbroken and unsure if they would be able to deliver, leaving me no other option that to quickly adopt the role of Agony Aunt. By no means am I claiming to be a love doctor, if anything the complete opposite but it's our job to listen to the case of events and then try to find and present back a solution. The solution was simple, the candidate had already been very successful and was in high demand in London. They came, they nailed all 5 interviews and was offered each role they interviewed for! 

The Event Organiser

Ultimately our job is people, our clients, our candidates, our colleagues, influencers, mentors, coaches, trainers, I could go on and on. A recruiter's main objective is to constantly evolve our network of people and make the right introductions, so you'll regularly find us carrying out the role of Event Organiser, getting people together in an environment where they can talk freely, or acting Travel Agent making sure that meeting happens, or even finding a decent restaurant last minute with a quiet corner so that crucial final meet can happen for your client and candidate. 

Long story short, as a recruiter we are required to wear multiple hats in order to stay on top of our work and ensure that our candidates and clients are happy. From the specialist and salesperson to the mentor and travel agent, switching between our different hats each day keeps us on our toes and ensures that we are more adaptable and versatile than ever before. 



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