Talent Acquisition

Is ‘Nice Agency Recruiter’ an Oxymoron?

I start with the premise that to be successful in recruitment, or in fact any career, you can be nice and there is really no need to be nasty. I would go as so far to say I think that nicer recruiters are actually way more successful, and more importantly, have greater longevity in their market than those who play dirty.

Is this notion rather naive on my part? Perhaps some whimsical utopian-style ideal that I can spread love and joy throughout the recruitment world by being nice? *happily skips around the office*

Nasty or nice?

Does being ‘nice’ in my job mean I am pushover? I don’t think so. I am not a walkover nor am I nasty, but I am firm in how I operate. Nice recruiters are open, honest and transparent. They have the right intentions of all parties at the forefront of their minds.

Now conversely, we have to ask ourselves what constitutes a ‘nasty’ and ‘not-so-nice’ recruiter. What would make someone transcend into the sphere of ‘bad recruiter’? Those who never update or feedback to candidates (what would appear to be the norm based on a lot of social media moaning) might fit this category. Only being driven by the cash, with the only motivation being the commission cheque, not servicing the client and candidate properly, is another sure-fire way to find yourself with the ‘bad recruiter’ label.

Some recruiters are incapable of working as part of a team with a collegiate approach, never sharing information. On the other hand, I do believe many are the opposite of this, thinking about others altruistically and being proud advocates for leveraging one anothers’ skills and relationships for mutual gain.

A matter of opinion

Should you run a business promoting the notion that you are a “nice” recruiter?

I asked for the opinions of two fellow recruitment business owners whom I have known respectively for 13 years and 1 year. I consider these guys the ‘good’ kinds.

Mark Noakes, owner of Integritas Resourcing says:

“To be honest, I don’t think it is about being ‘nice’, and more about being genuine / yourself. In my opinion, a good recruiter has the trust of their candidates and clients, developed over time. This isn’t about being nice, it is about be honest, genuine and knowledgeable. Our clients and candidates are partners, no matter how junior/senior they are. I have relationships over 12 years old, they are not down to simply being nice; clients and candidate see through all that. I would rather lose a fee because it wasn’t right for both parties and retain my relationships than ‘steal’ a quick fee and never work with them again.”

Julie Edmondson, owner of Perfect Fit People says:

“Recruiters constantly get bad press and to be fair, there is  a sizeable majority who can wear the ‘rip off’ badge with pride.  But what gives a recruiter longevity are their ethics, their values and their ability to nurture long term relationships.  Every recruiter is only as good as their last placement, but those who build strong relationships, are accountable and consistently deliver, no matter what the conditions are the ones who grow a successful business.”

In summary

So what we can summarise is that it is not just me who thinks being nice is much too simple a notion, and really, being ‘nice’ is great… but it goes deeper than that into your core integrity. I see that there are all sorts of recruiters (as there are humans) and that it takes all kinds of people to make a business successful.

Interestingly, I have often smirked that maybe people find me like marmite. I make this jibe in relation to the fact I am very honest and candid: some people like their egos stroked, and let’s just say I don’t do that. To a small few, I am brutally honest.

I want to leave you with this idea; if we all just take time to empathise with the people we represent, stand in their shoes for a day and think about how we would wish to be treated if we were in their position, perhaps we would be kinder, nicer and more understanding than we would have been yesterday.

By Lysha Holmes

Lysha Holmes is founding director of Qui Recruitment established in 2005 to completely challenge the traditionally poorly perceived service offered by other Rec 2 Rec providers. Lysha as Qui Recruitment is dedicated to representing the best talent to the best suited roles, focussing on placing recruiters of all levels in a candidate led service across the NW.