Parasites, leeches and recruiters.


Read any random online article or simply type “recruiters are…” into the information gargantuan that is Google Search and it seems that recruiters aka headhunters aka talent acquisition specialists – excuse me? – are held in lower esteem than the lowest of Dalits.

No other industry except perhaps real estate (oft churned around in the same saliva ball in fact) brings up such vitriolic bile. Think questionable ethics, underhand practices, fast cars, shiny suits, booze, drugs and plenty of the big S. And that’s just the girls.

Aside from marriage and children, changing jobs and buying a house are two of the most intense emotional investments that anyone can make. At the best of times the process will continually tug away at your heart strings, every high a sip of Perrier Jouet Millesime (replace with your celebratory tipple of choice), every low another nick of the rusty blunt razor. Now consider you are merely a pawn on a chessboard, pushed around at will in some unpredictable, high-stakes, winner-takes-all game for the commercial gain of others.

A very dear friend has just spent the last six months searching for a new role, she’s been to hell and back and met enough modern-day incarnations of Lucifer to last a lifetime. She finally landed a dream role last week – you know who you are and by the way… congratulations! but it’s been an absolutely brutal slog. The really scary thing is that she is brilliant. A top-performer. An A-list candidate. A purple squirrel. It’s a scary prospect. What hope for us mere grey squirrels?

As a friend with some understanding of the recruitment process we were pleased to act as confidante, able to provide insight and context along the way. What does this mean? what does that mean? my recruiter didn’t return my call should I worry? (not necessarily although it’s still not right), my recruiter doesn’t know much about the hiring manager should I worry? (yes).  We also went the extra mile such as calling up the hotel to secure early access to the presentation suite so the candidate could prepare ahead of time and make last-minute technical checks… you know all the good stuff that her actual recruiter should have been doing… Joe Bloggs Associates our invoice is in the post.

So what’s wrong? it’s quite simple. There is a genuine lack of humanity, compassion, empathy and good ol’ basic understanding. Some might throw integrity and trust into that mix too. Candidate gets offer? kerching! ring that bell, blow that klaxon, write your big number on the top-biller-wins-all-expenses-paid-trip-to-Vegas board, book VIP table at your favourite club, tear it up, get smashed, get high, get laid. There is another way. How about taking it in your stride, congratulating candidate and client, feeling good about a job well done, toddling off home, having a nice cup of cocoa and being tucked up in bed by 10? OK so we probably wouldn’t do this either but you get my point.

Here at Mongoose Gray we don’t always get it right every time either. But we do try. We genuinely care. We endeavour to champion client and candidate interests ahead of commercial gain as hopefully anyone who has dealt with us will attest. We were clients once. We were candidates once. We can empathise. We’ve also worked in the very industry we now recruit for. Hopefully this means we’ve got at least half an idea of what we’re talking about.

Recruitment is actually a surprisingly inexact science. A lot of stars need to line up for that warm body to be sitting in that empty seat come Monday morning. And it only takes one of them to fall away for the whole deal to be off. Are you so fed up with recruiters that you’re considering doing the hiring yourself? Don’t. It’s painful. It’s time-consuming. Same goes for these new shiny all-singing all-dancing automated recruitment solutions which promise to deliver you the perfect candidate straight into your inbox. Just like that. Psst! they don’t work. As a one-off sure but it’s likely to be a fluke and not repeatable. Are you willing to play roulette with your critical hiring? Didn’t think so.

Ultimately it’s a people business and always will be. And people respond best to conversations. We have them all the time. Perhaps it’s time you had one too. Get in touch: +44 (0) 203 701 1217.

Recruitment. Consulting. Support. As IT should be.™

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