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A ‘Fist Full of Dollars’? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly side of recruitment

I’ve met many experienced and potential recruitment consultants.

They range from battle-hardened veterans who have been in one too many shootouts, to those who want to be the new sheriff in town: full of boundless energy and wide eyed anticipation as to the fortune they can earn in recruitment.
I always paint a realistic picture of what the role entails: the challenges, the emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows, the sales side if it’s a 360 desk etc... Contingency recruitment is very much like the Wild West – the survival of the fittest!
Whilst aimlessly channel searching I came across the classic Spaghetti Western ‘A Fist Full of Dollars’, which made me suddenly think of the parallels between that name, and the reality of a role in recruitment. What can people really expect from a career in contingency recruitment?
The Bad & The Ugly

  • It’s a sales job. It’s not the job centre or careers service. You have to be prepared and able to sell.
  • It’s a no business. Contingency recruitment is 90+% a ‘no’ business. Be prepared and get used to the rejection.
  • Candidates & clients lie to you. Not just little white lies. Full on blatant, ‘black is white when it is clearly black’ type lies.  
  • In the world of contingency recruitment some people will treat you like dirt. Recruiters are often viewed in the same vein as Estate Agents - they presume we are being paid to simply be the middle man and do not see the value in our service. Our job is to demonstrate that the service we offer does provide value for money, accepting that some people will appreciate that more than others.
  • The competition is fierce and they can play dirty, which affects the reputation of the industry as a whole. They send candidates without talking to them. They try and talk candidates out of your role despite the fact that they are recruiting for the same position. Clients can be just as bad. Some clients have be known to flag candidates you’ve sent them to other agencies with whom they have a better relationship (good relationships are critical). This really happens.
  • It’s dog eat dog out there. You need to understand the rules and play the game. This doesn’t mean compromising your ethics or the company code of conduct.  It just means that you have to understand and appreciate what you are up against and accept that bad things happen!

The Good

  • You can become a real expert in your field. Someone who clients and candidates seek out for advice. A real trusted advisor and Career Ally for people! You can provide insight, advice and commentary to provide a service that goes beyond the typical recruitment model.
  • Good career opportunities – there are great career opportunities to be had in the recruitment agency world, from billing roles to management / directorship positions.  Alternatively the skills you learn can easily be transferred into internal recruitment, HR, Account Management or wider sales. It really does open up doors for you.
  • You’ll learn a lot about business and develop a strong commercial awareness because of the clients and candidates you will be exposed to. You’ll also learn a lot about yourself – you’ll learn what you’re good at, what you’re bad at, while developing greater resilience.
  • You get to play with social media – one which certain generations tend to embrace more than others! You’ll certainly become more up-to-date with technologies and trends around social media.
  • Money – You CAN make lots of money in recruitment. However, you get out what you put in. Those first 12 months can be tough but if you put in the hard yards early on, you will reap the rewards.

Recruitment is potentially a great career but it’s competitive! You have to be extremely resilient, tenacious and hardworking, and most importantly, you have to stay positive in spite of the wave after wave of rejection that comes with being in the contingency space. Have you got what it takes? 

Morgan McKinley is a global recruitment specialist. If you are interested in a career within recruitment then please do get in touch. We are passionate about what we do and are a great place to work!

  • Nov 26, 2015
  • Careers , Culture
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