Everybody and their auntie Mary is hiring recruiters – Part I

Everybody and their auntie Mary is hiring recruiters am I right, or am I right? You seriously can’t go anywhere on the internet without seeing graphs of the increase in demand for recruiters, how there are now more job ads for recruiters than for software developers on LinkedIn and of course the most generic job ads and Inmails you could possibly find.

I haven’t been approached so much since 2015 and that got me thinking about a few things – so many things in fact that I had to split this post so that it didn’t reach the length of War and Peace.

Without further ado, in this week’s episode…

What would make me consider a move?

Realistically, this is a purely theoretical question; I started my current job only 8 months ago, and I love my team so you would really need forceps to extract me from where I am, but we are hiring (big surprise) so I open the approaches I’m getting to gauge the competition. What’s the result so far? Big fat nothing.

And then I did the Brainfood survey about what recruiters really want, and I found that really interesting because Hung Lee actually put what is most of the time a very general concept into tangible and quantifiable questions.

I thought back: What did I want 9 months ago when I was accepting my current job?

Job security

Not so much as a permanent full-time role (even though, I wouldn’t dream of leaving a perm job for a fixed-term contract), but also an industry that is less likely to be affected by the lottery of the Universe (remember the 2008 Global Financial crisis, and the March 2020 let’s stop hiring and make all the recruiters redundant?).

The job itself

What does the job entail, really? Blahblahblah, hyper-growth, aggressive growth, what does that mean to me on a day-to-day basis? If you’re not labelled as a tech recruiter, the job usually sounds something like that: “You will be recruiting across Sales, Marketing, Finance & Operations.” Is that enticing for someone who’s gainfully employed? To me personally, nope. Not at all. I want to know what the job is going to be, so what teams I’ll be supporting, what will be expected of me in terms of targets (after all, you’re going to ask me how many people I’ve hired every month/quarter/year during the interview process), how the teams I’ll recruit for are growing and what is their impact on the company. You know, the basic purpose of the job, really. Job titles are nice, but they’re not what makes you get up in the morning to do your job.

Development opportunities

That’s obviously career progression, but not only. Will I get to use my skills, will I get to grow my skills. Will I have to beg for a day off to attend a free conference? Or is there a culture of learning in the company and in the team? I appreciate recruitment is often very focused on the immediate “how many phone screens/interview/hire”, but then how do you grow your recruiters? If you expect your recruiters to up-skill in their own time only, you might get lucky and have a couple of people who are passionate enough about recruitment to stay up to date, and learn new ways and techniques. More likely, you’ll have the vast majority of your team quite content to do things as they’ve always done it, and your hiring will suffer because your competitors will have invested in the training and development of their recruiting team.

The team

After having been a one-woman band for 5 years, there was no way, you could have enticed me away from my job without a good team to back up the job. Right now, as I’m writing these words, I’m on holidays, and for the 1st time in my career I know that my team is covering for me.
I remember having to tell one of my hiring managers years ago that no-one would be recruiting for their team while I was on holidays because we were all over capacity. That was not a fun conversation to have, believe me. Being called by work while on sick leave or on holidays, and having to explain to my parents that even though we were half-way through the meal, I had to find my computer to do something that absolutely could not wait. Fun times…

So how big is the team, how many roles is each person working on at any given time? How many hires are expected per person and per quarter? Will I work with a coordinator? Who drafts the contracts/offer letters? Is there any type of recruitment marketing done? God forbids, a recruiting operations team in my time zone?

The money

Although I don’t consider myself particularly materialistic or greedy, I know my worth and (as decent recruiter) I’m aware of market salaries. Why are we always trying to low-ball recruiters when it comes to money? I think the current demand for recruiters is finally nu-blinding a few leaders that recruiters come with skills and that not “everyone can recruit”.

The recruiting stack

What tools will you give me? I don’t think I’m going to make any enemies by saying that, but if you’re using Workday as an ATS, I’m out. It probably turned me off at the application process to be honest. Then comes LinkedIn. Ah LinkedIn. As much as I would love not to depend on LinkedIn so much, unless you’re a tech recruiter, you are pretty much held hostage by LinkedIn. Sure, you can turn your ATS inside out for candidates to reactivate. But what if you’re the 1st recruiter in your region? What if you’re hiring for a brand-new role in the company? Let me tell you the sourcing process is going to be long and arduous, so don’t expect a high hiring velocity. What else? Any email-finder? Any paid advertising budgets? Will I have to keep track of my activity manually and do my own reporting and ratios with an excel spreadsheet?

How valued is the recruiting team?

That one for me – at this point in my career – is probably the most decisive factor. As recruiters we are well aware that our daily activity doesn’t directly generate revenue for the company. We know. We’ve been told many times that we’re expensive, and our tools are expensive, and did you see that cost per hire??? I was even told point blank by sales people that they “paid my salary”. That tells you everything you need to know about how the recruiting team was considered by the company: as a cost-centre.

And that is probably what made me accept my current job. The recruiting team is valued by the senior leadership team and they understand how recruitment is needed to grow the business – not from a “bums on seats” perspective, but on the direct impact the role of a recruiter has when it comes to building new products, growing and maintaining them, and obviously generating revenue. During my interview, I was told about the January sales kick-off and how the C-level team had given recruiting a very public shout-out to the work of the recruiting team and how the team would be key to achieving the company’s goals for 2021. So sure, it’s a little bit of pressure for the recruiting team, but really how is it different from when a Sales Director drops by your desk to ask you where are the 3 German Sales Execs they need to hit their quota?

In the next episode, I'll wonder why we bend over backward to hire an engineer or a German sales exec, but not a recruiter.