Leave people who work in recruitment alone
We don’t bite
I was at a rave, standing in the smoking area with a group of eight. We were chatting and they asked what I do for a living. People groaned, gave me dirty looks and a couple even walked off. I work in finance recruitment for a corporate firm, and it’s not easy. Think of it like a sales job. Except you have a product who wants you to sell them. Then the product sometimes says they’ve had a counter-offer, doesn’t want to be sold and has found a buyer on their own – cutting you out of the deal. People call you up and tell you don’t like the atmosphere and they can’t stand it for another day. Then the company offers them an extra £2,000 a year and suddenly the atmosphere is fine.
We’re not soulless, even after cold call after cold call and consistently moving targets. One of the biggest misconceptions is that we take a cut. The recruitment company actually charges a fee. Then the consultant or recruiter can take a percentage of this. Basically the candidate is king, and we can’t ever forget that. Recruitment becomes your life. I even dream about it from time to time. Nothing too weird, just getting people. Once I dreamed about driving round and actually driving all my clients to work in the morning.
We’re not a drain on people who have just managed to get employed, sometimes we can actually help. A woman owned her own pub for 10 years, was forced to sell up because she was struggling and had to find another job. It turned out she’d done own accounts the whole time – which is basically finance experience. I was able to find her work with good pay and perks. We have the power to move teachers from rough inner-city schools where they’re undervalued into better environments.
Being motivated by money is completely true. It’s something they specifically look for when you’re applying to be a headhunter. We want people from sports teams who are team players and big on hitting goals. The stereotype is pushy, sales-like and impossibly outgoing. Behind the scenes, most of us are decent people who care about their career just as much as you. Everyone does their job because they want to get paid, and a lot of recruiters get teased just for being honest. Most people seem to think recruitment is all men in suits with too much American Crew in their quiff. It’s not. A lot of the time the girls in the office do better.
Drugs during the day can be common, mainly in some of the more cut-throat boutique companies. There’s less job security, less regulation and more coke. Taking MD in the office and flying around while chatting shit about candidates happens in some firms I know, but it by no means represents the entire industry. The work hard play hard thing is real but we’re professionals too.
As told to Jack Cummings by Matthew, a corporate finance recruiter.