There are tens of thousands of recruitment consultants in the UK and the industry certainly cultures some interesting personalities. I bet you've all worked with a number of the people featured in this article. Tag your colleagues and ex colleagues who you think typify some of the characteristics below for a bit of fun.
1. The Wolf
This guy thinks he's Leonardo Di Caprio’s character Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street. By day he's eyeing up the hottest ladies on Linkedin, sharing the profiles with the office and using hardcore American-style sales techniques on his clients and candidates. By night you'll find him chemically enhancing his libido and chat up lines in a bar full of recruiters just like him. He probably gives himself finger pistols in the mirror every morning just after he's finished gelling his hair.
Hiring Verdict: Usually flatter to deceive and burn out.
2. Terrible Banter Recruiter
This guy/girl is about as comfortable on the phone as sandpaper bed sheets. On a Monday they'll be answering the question, how are you with "not bad for a Monday" and on a Friday they'll be telling everyone "it's nearly the weekend". They’re only really comfortable during a conversation if the topic is football or the weather. They like to "touch base" a lot too. Whatever that means….
Hiring Verdict: Not great at building relationships which will always hamper their billing potential.
3. Early Risers
These are the guys who need less sleep than Margaret Thatcher. On the rare occasion you decide to get into work super early, you still arrive to find them sat at their desk, mid conversation with a candidate or pulling all the best candidates off the job boards BEFORE YOU! They've probably already been to the gym too.
Hiring Verdict: Usually a big biller and an insomniac.
4. The Robot
This guy (or more often than not girl) is the most organised person you've ever met. They always seem to get more work done in a day than you do in a week. Everything is perfectly laid out in their personal organiser. They know exactly when every one of their target clients’ PSL is up for tender and probably have a list of birthdays for their best clients, their children and pets. The last time they didn't complete their ‘to do’ list was in 1998 when they spent a day in hospital having major heart surgery. No beat was detected.
Hiring Verdict: Very likely to be a big biller.
5. The Loner
This guy/girl doesn't care about anything other than themselves and their pay check. Office culture; who cares! Team building; Leave it out! Code the database correctly to help others; get bent! They have a short-term view on clients that lasts as long as it takes them to get the fee and their commission. They usually end up starting their own mildly successful (one man band) business at some point because no one wants to work with them.
Hiring Verdict: May perform in the short term, but never a good long-term hire.
6. The Phonophobic
This shrinking violet somehow found themselves in a job where they are required to talk to new people and try and persuade them to use them to recruit. One small problem, they won't admit it, but they're scared of speaking to people on the phone. An organised BD session fills them with dread and you can often find them hiding in the toilets or pretending to organise 5 urgent interviews when they should be calling up prospective clients. Their idea of good business development is usually an email starting with 'I hope you don't mind me contacting you like this...'
Hiring Verdict: They usually leave to do an account manager role or in-house position.
7. The Grinder
The Grinder keeps himself to himself. His charisma bypass means that sometimes you can go weeks without noticing him or hearing him do anything of note. Yet at the weekly sales meeting he reports steady KPIs and grinds out a few fees a month that leave him right in the middle of the billings standings. He probably celebrates with a can of Fosters at home on weekends whilst watching The Voice.
Hiring Verdict: Every office needs a few of these.
8. The Rookie
We've all made mistakes as a recruiter, so it's fun to watch the rookie fall into the same pitfalls. Watch them squirm as a job board candidate that they left a voicemail for calls back later that day to ask what they wanted! See the panic in their eyes whilst they desperately try and work out which job they were matching at the time, who they are speaking to try and find their CV. Was it Reed, Linkedin, Monster? The ultimate clanger is suggesting a candidate for a job at a company they already work for during a brainstorm and even worse sending their CV! But we've all been there and it's great to see the rookie learn from the odd entertaining mistake along the way.
Hiring Verdict: Train and develop them well and they could be the next big biller!
9. The interview pro
It's every recruiter’s job to be able to coach candidates how to interview so it’s hard sometimes when interviewing for a recruiter to tell if they can walk the walk or are just talking the talk. The interview pro can really talk the talk. They claim they were once top biller in a previous role. They sound really impressive and they have some really elaborate stories about their bad luck in their last five jobs and why things didn't quite work out for them. Somehow your boss bought all the BS and they end up sat next to you at work. They've got more excuses than a pregnant nun when it comes to their dire performance. And just like their last few jobs they don't last longer than 6 months as it slowly and painfully becomes clear for all to see that there are no knickers beneath that big fur coat.
Hiring Verdict: Destined never to stay in a job for longer than a year. A cash cow for Rec to Recs though!
10. The Charmer
Slicker than the Fonz and more one liners than Bob Monkhouse, this recruiter is the ultimate BD machine. Charismatic, a natural relationship builder, great with language and the written word, clients and candidates love them, as do their colleagues. They usually bill big as a result. Typified by slick suits and a perma tan, they walk across the city to client meetings with their standard edition leather recruitment consultant folder like a lion on its way to a kill.
Hiring Verdict: Train them well and manage them closely and there’s every chance they’ll be really successful.
11. The in-houser
You used to work with them before they turned to the dark side. Mostly they didn't make much money, or they decided that they wanted to get a bit more balance in life. But sometimes they were just too professional for the average recruitment office and wanted something more corporate. They used to be really nice to you when you were colleagues but now they have the ultimate POWER. And they have CHANGED. They're too busy to take your calls now and "email is the best form of contact". You feel used and dirty and vow never to be like them if you go client side.
Hiring Verdict: Don’t expect them to be around too long.
12. The Top Biller
Last but not least, because this recruiter never comes last; The Top Biller. This is the god of the office. Their billings are a mythical thing, spoken about in dark corners of the office or on work nights out. "I heard 10 years ago before the credit crunch they billed £1 million pounds in a year", "I heard they once bought a Ferrari with one pay check". The Top Biller probably started the rumours about their billings, because they're never shy to point out their financial achievements as a motivator for all juniors in the office. A combination of the robot and the charmer they strut around the office like a peacock purveying their pen. He or she can get away with anything. They laugh in the face of KPIs. They're not even asked to talk about their activity figures at sales meetings! They just call an outrageously high prediction and nail it month after month.
Hiring Verdict: Finding the next one of these is the Holy Grail for any recruitment manager.
I’ve worked in recruitment for over a decade now and during that time I’ve met most of these people either as colleagues or through friends and colleagues.
For the record, I will never ever be a natural 3 or 4 and for that I am a little bit envious, but I do hope one day to be a 10!
Stephen Thompson is Managing Director of Forward Role. He has an industry background in Marketing and now recruits across the Marketing and Digital sectors at an Executive Level. Forward Role is an award-winning Digital and Marketing agency based in Bolton & Manchester looking for new recruitment consultants to join them in 2015. Send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d be interested to hear about opportunities.