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Monday, 16 April 2018

Recruitment is like putting an over tired toddler to sleep…

I’ve been in recruitment for nearly six years and the closest thing that I can compare it to is putting an over tired toddler to sleep. We put our hearts and souls into it and because you work with people in both cases, the emotions you feel are very real. For those of you with kids, you’ll know what I’m talking about. For those without kids, I’ll try and paint a picture of things to come. I’m a father of two very busy boys. My eldest is four years old and the new little guy turned one in February this year.  


Like working on a brand new exciting role, you almost look forward to putting your busy little guy down for a nap, especially after having a really busy and stressful day. You look forward to that window of hope and know that soon, there will be a reward for all your hard work. You start sourcing and go through multiple CV’s and find suitable candidates. Because of the skills shortage you have to entice a happily employed and well-remunerated candidate to throw their hat in the ring, much like explaining to a child that a nap would be the best for all parties involved. Change is inevitable and a new job, much like a nap for a child is something that might not sound like the best idea, but change is good and you might not be happy now, but you will be soon.


You’ve got your shortlist ready, you’re confident that these candidates meet the criteria that your client requested. You are now making your way to the bedroom, you can see the bed, it’s right there. You just have a few more things to do before you can get across the finish line. Out of the blue, the brief changes. Your client is now looking for a different skill set with industry specific knowledge. Your toddler walks past an open door and spots his favourite toy outside and just like that, they are gone. The process has taken a massive hit and you’ll have to start over.


The search continues and you shortlist for a second time. You are now just outside your child’s bedroom. Please say yes…..please go in, you can do it. Interviews booked, he’s in bed, now we are getting somewhere. The interviews happen but there’s something missing, your child doesn’t want to go in and instead wants to go to the bathroom for the third time. You are now forced to pick him up, sing a beautiful lullaby and hope he’ll accept. The search for perfection is one that very rarely is rewarded; you have to invest your time to train people so that they can perform to the best of their ability. It’s very rare that you find a 100% perfect match. We also know the chances of our children going to sleep on the first go is slim, but still we try.


Your toddler accepts that he will be in your arms until he falls asleep. The candidate gets that second interview and you feel that all the negotiations will be well worth it soon. Your toddler finally closes their eyes, your candidate smashes it out of the park and the client wants to move to offer. So much joy and happiness fills your entire body, get out the champagne. You lean forward to put your beautiful little one down. As his head touches the soft pillow, BANG…..COUNTER OFFER!! He opens his eyes, adrenalin shoots through his little body and all that happiness that filled you a short while ago turns to frustration and you almost feel defeated, but we’ve come this far, there’s no stopping me now.


Negotiations continue and your baby boy is back in your arms. The excitement is coming back as the contract has gone out, just sign it….just close your eyes, you’re so close. That e-mail pops up in the bottom right of your corner with the subject line “signed docs”. You put your bundle of joy down, but this time he doesn’t move, his eyes stay closed and you can put the blanket over him. You send the signed documents, ensure your paperwork is in order and mark it as placed. You tip toe out of the room careful not to step on one of the squeaky toys and slowly close the door behind you. EUREKA!!


Like putting your child to bed, recruitment can sometimes be frustrating. Neither is easy and hardly ever does it go to plan, but you love it. You want more and the rewards at the end of the day are hard to explain to someone that hasn’t worked in recruitment or doesn’t have kids. Rest assured, the work doesn’t stop there. Very soon that entire process will start again and you’ll experience all those emotions all over again.


Written by Heinrich Kalmeier, Numero Senior Consultant – Supply Chain and Procurement

Recruitment is like putting an over tired toddler to sleep…

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