I “came out” as a Recruiter at the Cannes Lions Festival, 2013. I was new to this line of work and brimming with the enthusiasm you can only feel when you have finally found your calling. Little did I know the wrath I about to incur as a result …
It wasn’t until someone deemed me a “skin-peddler” and a “vampire,” that I realized that my enthusiasm wasn’t shared by the general public. But why, I asked myself? I would be helping people find jobs and support their families, what was so bad about that?
Four years later, I get it. The industry has a reputation that has left a terrible taste in both employers’ and employees’ mouths. Without fail, most conversations in which I engage with a potential candidate generally start off with the token “I have to be honest, I have never had a good experience with recruiters.” When I ask why, responses range from “lack of follow-up,” “too aggressive,” and my favorite, “they only care about money.” This disdain is also apparent in new business pitches, which are often met with an acerbic tone. In fact, a friend of mine invited me to a tech summit to help introduce me to some potential clients, and an associate of his actually said in front of me, “Dude, you can’t be that guy that brings a recruiter to the party.”
Having been on the client side for four years, I can’t say my experience with recruiters has been any better. In the age of disruption, where digital transformation, innovation, and personalization are king, why has the one sector that is seemingly so important to the future of industry seemingly failed to disrupt when it so desperately needs to? Why has recruitment been left behind?
The majority of recruitment firms still operate off of an analog (database) model vs a living, breathing ecosystem of talent that evolves with the needs of their clients. Like any individual with the entrepreneurial bug, I saw a huge opportunity here. So much so, that I decided to start my own agency. I knew I was going to have to work twice as hard to reverse the stigma associated with my newfound trade. Luckily, I am no stranger to reinvention—I decided that I needed to devote myself to changing this perception. I refused to spend my life as a social liability!
With every revolution, however, you need strength in numbers—I knew I could not do it on my own. I set out to partner with like-minded recruiters, who shared the same approach and frustrations … a staffing “Avengers” of sorts. After all, it takes talent to know talent. Not only is this model proven to be quite lucrative, its very existence contradicts any preconceived notions that we are only in it for the money, since this is all about sharing commission, contacts, and, by default, a solidarity that doubles as a support system to all involved.
I later realized, this solution is inherent to the literal meaning of the word ENTREPRENEUR, which in English translates to “among/between takers” … a gentle reminder that being one does not mean you have to go at it alone.