Recruitment is fishy business…

I don’t know if anyone has watched The Catch on TV recently but I have found it compelling viewing. For any of you that don’t know the program, it essentially follows hardy fishing crews out on their trawlers. A job not for the feint-hearted, and as my other half stated, “Where the real men are” (I tried to persuade her it was just as treacherous in Recruitment, just with less Atlantic Ocean and arguably more sharks).

One episode followed the fortunes of two Captains. One was jovial, chipper and clearly full of spirit. His crew were loyal and they caught fish and made money. Not always, but the captain was always sure they would, eventually. Whether I warmed to him or not was another thing. There was something distinctly ruthless about him.

The other Captain had the weight of the world on his shoulders and was days away from bankruptcy. Things were wrong with his boat and his crew were fed up with it. There was a lot of moaning. However, the captain was a very likeable guy. He had a good sense of humour and a dogged sense of determination to grind through whatever was thrown at him. I genuinely warmed to him. Eventually he won through despite setbacks.

It made me think about how I am perceived, from a candidate and a client perspective. It made me think about how I WANT to be perceived. I think it would be a bit of both Captains of those trawlers.

Remaining buoyant and positive is really important. It gives off a good message. Sometimes this is difficult. Especially if your candidate has turned down the role that was a ‘shoe-in’, a client has just informed you you’re no longer on their PSL and it’s not even 11am yet… on a Monday.

Recruitment can be a horrible job when it’s going wrong. I’ve been there. And setbacks and road blocks can be easily picked up by the next person you speak to. Be it your work colleague, client or candidate.

But perseverance is the key.

Catch up with someone or arrange a coffee, go through an old marketing list, call up someone you’ve placed. Things ALWAYS start to emerge again. I absolutely guarantee it.

My old boss always made me do marketing calls to the ‘scary’ clients just after I’d had an offer accepted. This was because I naturally sounded upbeat and chipper. And it would work. I was on top of the world and it came across.

And that’s the other side. When it’s going well, recruitment is a heady mix of (to quote the great Greg Savage) fun & money. Which is not what many industries can boast.

So The Catch, I thought, was a great metaphor for what we do. Not just in recruitment, but in any profession that requires a bit of guts.

(Including fish guts).

Alex Babic

Been recruiting for nearly 20 years covering international and domestic markets. Outside of work I enjoy (trying to) keep fit, cooking for the Family and taking our ebullient black Labrador for long walks. Also got a side interest in motorcycling.

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