Talent Acquisition

All Recruiters Are Control Freaks!


(NB. And more importantly, should we be?)

As you read that, are you thinking “I resemble that remark!”, or are you sat there, shaking your head in dismay? I can honestly put my hand up and say that in all aspects of my life, I am a total control freak: for my birthday, I book my own “surprise” meal, so I know I will like where it is and I email suggestions of presents to my husband so I know that what he buys is what I would want! (Please don’t hate me, he doesn’t!)

And it is the same in business.

However, anyone in recruitment (regardless of sector or discipline) will know that when you are dealing with other human beings, there is only so much control you can exert over them. So I ask the question: Should recruitment consultants hand over the control to the candidate and client once the initial interview has taken place?

I have always believed and operated a very tight ship when it comes to managing the process, particularly since I have been in Rec2Rec (10 years now – surely I deserve a medal or the very least a gold clock?!) as when you are representing the very people who KNOW what you need to do to make the process work, you have to anticipate even more what could happen.

The psychological process of recruitment fascinates me and actually when you are dealing with recruiters every day, I find it astonishing how subjective they can sometimes be when facing the recruitment process themselves despite doing that job daily themselves. I love my role of being the supportive guide as well as hopefully getting them the ideal role too.

A large proportion of recruiters WANT and NEED me to be a control freak for all the obvious reasons: they are time-poor so need me facilitate and expedite the process on their behalf, clients also. They need my discreet approach and benefit from my knowledge of their sector in order to benchmark their choices.

However, I had an enlightened moment very recently when recruiting a very senior director into a boutique business, as during the interview process, they STARTED SPEAKING DIRECTLY. This was totally with my blessing. In fact, when it came to offer negotiation, the client asked if they could offer the candidate directly. I said “yes”.

Now, how many of you have just said “no way, that could have spiralled out of your control” or words to that effect? However, because I had managed the expectations of both parties beforehand, I knew the offer would be acceptable and that the candidate was going to be happy with the package being presented to them (by the way, said candidate DID accept and so we are all very happy bunnies now!).

I am a huge advocate of people speaking directly. I believe it builds a relationship between potential employer and employee and I always say to my clients and candidates that my role is to facilitate, provide support and constructive feedback to both parties. My role is not to hinder the process and I am not saying that recruiters cause their own downfall but we have to TRUST adults to be able to manage their OWN careers too.

I am not contradicting the enormous benefits of using a specialist recruiter – far from it. What I am trying to say is that a good recruiter has to be intuitive enough to know WHEN to let the parties involved in the process speak directly and to learn to TRUST that their control in the early stages and DURING feedback is enough……let’s face it, we aren’t physically sat there in the interview anyway, so in my opinion it’s only an extension of that, isn’t it?

What do you think? Have you allowed your candidates and clients to speak directly at offer stage too or are you a control freak extraordinaire? Do you think I am barmy or naive to advocate this, or does this show that I am transparent and confident enough in my own process to know that when the time is right, these conversations can only work in everyone’s favour?

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.