Fellow agency recruiters, I think most of you will stand by me when I say that 2020 is definitely not going to feature on the highlight reel of our careers. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it’s a tough gig (and crowd) out there. This is a market that we’ve never experienced (and hopefully will never again), and it’s easy to find yourself a tad overwhelmed and confused at times, even if you’re the most seasoned of recruiters. You find yourself asking, what does this mean for our industry? What does this mean for us next week, next month, next year?! But as Sprint Guru, Naomi Marshall, always tells me, the best recruiters are resilient, and now is the time when our resilience steps up a gear and we, quite simply, get on with it. Week by week. Business as usual.
Currently, I am six weeks into working from home and the bright lights of SprintHQ seem like a distant memory. I miss Naomi running around the office with more buzz than a double espresso, I miss meeting candidates and clients face to face, I miss the adrenalin when I nail a brief and place a kickass candidate.
But life goes on. We adapt, we pivot (I hate this word but it’s accurate!) and we utilise the resources we have. The most important resource to any recruiter is the phone. This is how we do our best work – building relationships, giving advice and influencing.
This brings me to another facet of our role – seeking and sourcing opportunities, i.e. cold calling. *eeekkkk* It’s like jumping into a cold bath, it’s always a bit uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, the faster you become acclimatised. Not all calls are completely stone cold, but regardless, in an industry built on connections these calls are essential as they lay the foundations for potential partnerships. This aspect of recruitment can be daunting, and I have met very few who say that cold calling comes to them as naturally as breathing. However, we find ourselves in a situation where time is on our side and we should be ramping up our candidate care to the next level, checking in on all our existing clients and starting to forge new relationships for when the corona circus exits stage left.
Flipping this on its head, if there is anyone on the other side of the table reading this (looking at you Mr/Mrs Client, internal recruiters, business owners and hiring managers). We get it, you are dealing with a million things – facing cuts, income reductions, rapid business changes, you name it, we know everyone is being put through their paces. We completely appreciate that our call may be the last priority on your to-do list, but we are calling you from one human being to another.
It’s not a sales call, I repeat, not a sales call! Do you copy? We know purse strings are tight and recruitment budgets are a huge luxury in this climate.
So, I’m inviting you to think of this as dating, recruitment is matchmaking after all! We’re not asking you to marry us on the first date, we’re simply asking you for an opportunity to say hello – like a blind date! You never know, you might actually like us… and couldn’t we all do with a bit interaction with someone other than our partner/housemates or the dog?! However, believe it or not, sometimes we are faced with rudeness (shock horror!!) and we hang up the call feeling like a flat pancake. It’s completely ok to say no, or I really don’t have time right now to speak to you, but just be a nice person. It is really not that hard. Just think, once this corona chapter comes to an end and business starts to pick back up, you will have a pocket of contacts to call on – you may need help with hiring, or assistance finding your next fabulous position. Swings and roundabouts my friends.
So, to wrap things up, the next time your phone rings, whether it be a friend, a family member, a colleague or a recruiter(!) pick it up and remember we are all human beings trying to get by in this very rocky time. Thankfully we are not alone; we’ve all been put onto the same boat – I’m envisioning a giant Noah’s ark, but with wifi and plenty of snacks. We will weather this storm together and by staying connected it will make our voyage a little smoother.