53 Discoveries From Life & 20 Years In Recruitment (Part 1)

by | Apr 25, 2024

Discoveries found

Getting older is fascinating.

I’ll be dancing around my kitchen feeling like a 30-something, and be shocked when I catch my reflection. ‘Who is that looking back at me?’ I wonder in disbelief.

But I love what comes with age and wouldn’t go back. Even if ageism is rife from generations who, if they’re lucky, will be my age faster than they know!

Getting older is a gift I’m grateful to have.

In the shadow of the pandemic, I quietly celebrated turning 50. In the midst of writing my memoir last year, I missed the 20th anniversary of starting in the recruitment profession. So, as my next birthday approaches, and after two unexpected deaths reaffirmed my appreciation of my precious life, I choose to (over)share some musings on life. Well, 53 of them.

In the next three newsletters, I will list things I have discovered about life and recruitment. They are vaguely grouped and in no particular order, but the most personal ones will be in the third nearest my birthday.

As ever, they aim to help and inspire you. 💛

Discoveries 1 – 17

1. Unlike any other profession, everyone thinks they can do recruitment. For two decades, I have heard this from people worldwide. It is amusing and a problem because it means TA is undervalued, and worryingly some HR tech vendors build products they think will fix hiring without having ever done the job. 🫣

2. Recruiters know that their ‘product’, a human being, has thoughts, feelings, and emotions, which is why not everyone can recruit. The ‘product’ does not need to engage, respond, turn up, perform, follow through, or say yes to your offer. Matching the ‘product’ to another human is challenging, too!

3. The internet irreversibly changed recruitment, and I am glad I was here to see it! The power shift as people came online and gained visibility of others, jobs and reviews, meant that smart companies began to care about employee and candidate experience in a way I didn’t experience in the nineties.

4. Thanks to the internet, it will never again be an employer’s market, even if they like to think it still is. Even now, even with layoffs, people have a choice, and they don’t have to choose you, your role or your company. There are lots of opportunities for people amongst those 5.35 billion internet users.

5. Not everyone joins LinkedIn to get a job! LinkedIn’s numbers grew substantially during the 2008 crash when people flocked there to network with their peers. LinkedIn saw an opportunity to sell member data and went about convincing recruiters that everyone is here for a job. They’re not; hence, engagement is low.

6. People are biased, so AI is biased. To support this, there is evidence surfacing from smarter people than me. Please don’t say you’re ethical if you are using AI to screen or rank applicants. Learn more about it and also read The Algorithm: How AI Can Hijack Your Career and Steal Your Future by Hilke Schellmann.

7. They are managers and leaders, not hiring managers. Though they may make the ultimate decision, recruiters are in charge of the hiring process, and managers and leaders are in charge of their day jobs. In this new AI era, it is critical to change this mindset, create solid partnerships and show your value.

I’ve been invited to talk about number 7 and more at this online event on May 2nd.

Decorative image only - discoveries

8. In the UK, 82% of managers lack any formal leadership training, let alone training in the fundamentals of hiring for their team. Therefore, nothing is as important as a thorough recruitment alignment meeting! No meeting = no working on the role for the sake of the employer brand, candidate experience, and sanity.

9. A proper intake is not brief, so call it a recruitment alignment meeting to set the right expectations. Show your value with smart questions that help the manager articulate who they need. Prove to them time at the start saves them time, money and hassle later! And pre-order copies of Reboot Hiring for all of your managers.

10. Not reducing the silly must-haves for a role leads to burnout or imposter syndrome while you waste time searching for unicorns. If you have a recruiter license, run a search with your hiring manager. Get behind the need for so many must-haves; understanding their thinking will help persuade them to be realistic.

11. If you know your stuff and understand your industry, have attempted to show your worth in meetings, and still your managers treat you like a service or are disrespectful of your, or worse, applicants’ time, call me for a workshop or mentoring, or consider finding a new company to hire for. Life is too short.

12. Untrained managers create traumatic or uncomfortable experiences for interviewees; they need to stop their behaviour before it ends up on the internet, hindering future hiring. Show them Reddit’s Recruiting Hell and review sites. And pre-order your managers my new book, Reboot Hiring (& gain freebies! 🤩).

13. The weakest link in any work is when you hand it over to the next person, like at pre- or onboarding. It takes partnership and trust to create an experience that everyone enjoys, is successful, and doesn’t leave your reputation in tatters. Don’t assume people will care about it as much as you do; communicate it.

14. Boundaries are everything. Experiencing narcissistic child abuse, I didn’t learn how to establish or use boundaries in childhood. When I finally did, everything became easier, personally & professionally. People respect boundaries; few really value people pleasers. Healthy boundaries are essential to your mental health, too.

15. Ironically, for people whose job is to ask questions, I have found there is a lack of curiosity in too many within the recruiting profession. I see way too much reliance on single sources of information and too little inquisitiveness to delve deeper, gain knowledge and challenge the status quo, for the greater good.

16. There is also too little compassion. There might be empathy, but the enormous amount of ghosting shows there is little compassion. No matter how often I say that 82% of applicants become down or depressed when ghosted, and even when job-hunting recruiters are ghosted, it continues due to feeble excuses.

17. Understanding AI matters, but an over-focus on automation will cost recruiters their jobs. Talent acquisition needs to prove its value to the business, so invest equally in developing creativity, adaptability, leadership skills, critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and so on.

So have one to seventeen provided some food for thought? 🧐


Image of the book Reboot Hiring with its bright yellow cover

Pre-order for your managers and leaders now to receive freebies!