“Recruiters Are The Bane of my Life”

Last week, I went to a meeting which had loads of people in it, from a variety of sectors. The meeting was a session designed to discuss, and pass on more information about, a cross-industry accreditation, designed to help staff improve and generally optimise the processes that are used within companies.

The accreditation, industries and names of the people involved are totally irrelevant, so don’t worry too much about them (I know you were).

At the start, we all had to introduce ourselves and our businesses, then nominate someone else to speak.  I mentioned that I was from an executive search business, and that we were there because we were interested in learning more about the accreditation. Easy. However, as I announced the exec search bit, I was met with a sigh from my left, and an actual eye roll from the person sat opposite me.

At the time, I assumed that they had both simultaneously and coincidentally remembered the same irritating incident, and carried on regardless. Later on though, when we were talking about setting goals and targets within our respective businesses, the sigh-er turned to me and said:

“I’m sorry, but you really are the bane of my life”

Which I (understandably) took exception to. Firstly, I think it was unnecessary to prefix the statement with an apology. Usually a sorry would soften the blow, see: “I’m sorry, your dog’s died” or “I’m sorry, you’re fired”, but when the next statement is calling someone the ‘bane’ of your life, then the blow remains unsoftened.

I should also mention that this comment was met with another eye roll from across the room, followed up with a “I know what you mean” This triple combination of comment, eye roll, comment was both ruthless and destructive. I was on the ropes.


A definition of bane, courtesy of Google. Luckily the person didn’t opt for one of the other options available, or was accusing me of ‘causing death’.
Who was the “you”?

In this instance, the “you” I am referring to is the subject of our previous person’s statement which, in this case, was anyone who works in recruitment. Anyone. Everyone who, in the UK alone, contributes to a £35 billion industry. From consultants that specialise in industrial temporary work, to headhunters who are hired to find the next CEO of Twitter. They’re all the bane/scourge/ruin/death/plague of this person’s life. All of them. 

It must have been anyone, because I was tarred with this brush, and we neither work in this person’s industry, nor at the level of roles that they would have hired for. This generalisation was later proved. I asked for an example of when a recruiter had exasperated them so much, and the example I was given was about a recruitment company specialising in accounting calling to see if they’d like to hire an accountant.

The cheek of it.

Apparently, this mystery recruiter’s attitude and pushy sales patter was the problem. After they were told no, an accountant isn’t needed, they proceeded to ask a variety of follow up questions. These included (among others): “when will you next be hiring”, “what will you do if your adverts don’t work next time” and “when can we speak in the future about roles. They didn’t know that they were beaten and, as my new friend(?) said to me, they found it easy to find accountants.

I agreed that this person had probably been too pushy on this occasion, but we still didn’t cover the point that it also wasn’t me that called. Even though I agreed that it sounded like a bad call, I was still being included in the same bracket which, in case you’ve forgotten, is as the bane of their life.

To me, this is representative of a massive misconception about the recruitment industry. Not just that everyone thinks recruiters are cowboys/girls, but also that they all do the exact same thing and presumably all learn the role in the same circle of hell.

There are a massive amount of good companies in recruitment, and the sooner that people start to differentiate between the good and the bad, instead of tarring everyone with the same brush, will represent the time that the general perception of the industry will improve.

Understanding that there is a massive variety to the recruitment sector in terms of level, sector and quality is paramount to stopping the recruiter-bashing we see everywhere. When you take pride in your work, and conduct it ethically and to a really high standard, its not cool to be treated like a lepyr.

Also, if you’re looking to hire, or find a new role in the Medical Device, Life Science or Energy sectors, please get in touch with one of our team today. We’re great at it – honest.

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