Thursday, 16 June 2011

Recruiter Briefing Hell

After a few days in France it is always a relief to revert to good old British hand-shaking rather than the endless stream of kissing.  However, my joy at this was short-lived as I knew I had been roped in to attend my least favourite thing in the entire world: a recruiter briefing.  Trust me, these events make major root canal work look appealing...

I usually avoid these things like the plague.  It starts at reception when you notice the other recruiters all milling around with bundles of files (why: what is in the files?), Ipads and laptops. We are then herded like sheep into a room to be briefed on the organisation and their recruitment needs.  Straight away this makes you feel very special as you are one of thirty or so all working on the same roles.  I mean, which Clients do you think recruiters will really spend the most time with – those who make an effort to see them on a one to one basis or those where you are one of many?

At this stage I give myself a little pep talk about how I must try to concentrate.  Then  it starts with a surprisingly brief HR summary before the introduction of one of the Hiring Managers.

After about three minutes I am reminded of the Oscar Wilde quote, ‘I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a word I am saying.’   After a while the will to live has left me and I drift off into an almost hypnotic state punctuated with nodding randomly as the stream of clichés drift over me.  Maybe I should have stabbed myself with a pen to gain his attention?   Rather than taking notes it seems I had sketched voodoo dolls and a noose...

Finally, just as I am taking the laces out of my shoes and looking for beams the monologue was over and questions were invited. 

At this stage I do wake up as it is the best part of the proceedings!  So many recruiters love to talk and ask irrelevant questions – maybe they have a list of stupid questions in their files?  You know that course you attended that had run over and when the instructor asked for questions you all kept quiet as you just wanted to leave - but one person didn’t get it and kept raising inane points?  Well, a recruiter briefing is like this but much, much worse.

At first the Hiring Manager and HR happily answer all questions but after twenty minutes or so even they are looking bored by the tedium and pure irrelevance of the questions.  They exchange bemused glances on more than one occasion.  I actually cringe for one recruiter who asks eight questions very loudly and appears to laugh at the end of each sentence for no apparent reason.  Finally, after an hour of questions we are invited to drink warm white wine and sample a few dodgy sandwiches as we ‘network informally’ with other members of the Team.  The recruiters surge forward to ingratiate themselves and ask more questions.
I slink out of the side door in search of real people living on the same planet as me.....

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