The 7 Deadly Sins of Recruiters

February 03 1 Comment Category: Opinion

OpinionEveryone knows the seven deadly sins. Here is my take on how they manifest themselves in the recruitment world. For further reading get a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Sloth – The death of many a recruiter, old hands and those new to the job. It doesn’t take long for the demon that is procrastination to get to work with some of us. With best intentions, I’ll write that target list of clients to call in the morning when I get in. I’ll do some business development after I have tidied my desk or researched that new Twitter app on the internet. To avoid procrastination make a conscious decision to prioritise activities that actually make you money rather than those you just enjoy.

Envy – More common than you realise I think. There are those who will shoot down a colleague behind their back rather than celebrate their success with them. Ever been to a company award ceremony and heard people justifying why someone won a trip to Thailand because they had an easier market or they had a lucky business win. There is no solace in coming second and it hurts and that is when envy can creep in. Be strong and look at what they did that you can model and find a way to be better than them!

Greed – Wow! There may be some who read this who are recruiters who see greed as being an asset to   seek in potential employees at interview! Let me qualify this one a bit further. Being over fixated on the fee and not enough focus on the needs of the candidate and/or the client can create a situation where the deal is lost. It is clear in this case that the desired trait for some has become their own worst enemy. If you are a manager who employs greedy consultants, channel it for them. Show them the merit of long term relationships over short term gain and we can move from sin to virtue.

Lust – Easy with this one, there may be junior consultants reading this. I am not referring to some of the “new starter coveting” that can go on in some offices. It’s 11 months till the Christmas party so park those ideas… However, coveting and wanting competitors’ clients without planning how to win them; Salivating over the prospect of winning that big bit of business without taking any steps to proactively plan how you will do it over the next 12 months – Lust has clouded your judgement I fear.

Pride – As a trainer I see this now and then. Consultants and recruiters who focus on how good they are that they fail to recognise their weaknesses. This can prevent them from either seeking out new learning opportunities or even embedding those that they have been given. The experienced consultant, who says “I know all of this” during training sessions and makes no notes. They are the one who performs the worst in role plays as they do not practice what they know. They then have the temerity to say “I would do it differently in a real situation”. Pure BS as any other trainer will confirm.

Wrath What do you expect here?? I have seen many a consultant who has had a candidate not turn up for an interview or turn down a job and in a fit of rage they slam the phone down on them. You may have even seen others do it too. I would have to question what could be lost at that moment alongside the recruiters temper. The recruiter’s reputation? I can still see in my mind’s eye one guy I worked with doing this so often his nickname was “The Pressure Cooker”. Perhaps getting closer to the candidate to find out why? On occasion it could be the fault of the recruiter not knowing their candidate and their situation well enough that has led to this.

Gluttony – Now to gluttony. Gluttony is just gluttony, even in recruitment. Desk based job, Krispy Kreme donuts, fizzy drinks and then drinking on a school night too often before a big weekend of rich food and more alcohol (I realise there are some who do not fit this mould in recruitment but you have to give me some artistic licence!). Perfect time of year to get on the scales and check how you are getting on with those new years resolutions. Wait! Don’t tell me…Sloth rears it’s head in another act of procrastination??


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  1. Very well said Julia and I think that taking “Pride” into consideration we would all be lying if we didn’t find ourselves procrastinating rather than doing what we know we need to do!!!I have taken to numbering everything on my to do list using Stephen Coveys 7 habits of effective people matrix.. although I just list them and then number them 1,2 etc. and then do them in that order. Of course those typical recruitment time management issues arise when something urgent happens, well thats where fractions come in!! 1.5,2.5 etc. Its messy but it works…

    Tony Hookings 17 July 2013 at 10:12 am Permalink

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