Raymond George is turning six years old this month. We – Julie Robinson and Jenny Finch – started this company in 2016 in the UK with a team of two owners, two babies, and one dog. We launched our first website for less than 500 quid and made our first placement in Canada a short while later, our first US placement in 2020.
Today we offer our Rec2Rec services in three countries (UK, Canada, and USA) and have grown to be placing hundreds of people per year in amazing recruitment jobs with great companies, operating in the areas of technology, engineering, life sciences, accounting, finance, and more.
It’s been a wonderful and fascinating journey, and we’ve learned a lot in those six years. So, we decided to do one of those “what I have learned” posts to share some of the lessons we’ve learned about operating in the recruitment industry along the way with the hopes that you take something valuable away.
Here are six lessons we have learned about recruiting in six years at Raymond George:
- Leverage your skills and the skills of others around you.
When we started in this business, we both used to think we had to do everything ourselves. I’m glad we quickly learned that is a mistake. You don’t have to do everything yourself. We currently live in a world where people are often expected to be masters of everything; recruiters are expected to do their own sales and marketing, build websites, manage blogs and social media, and balance the books. But it doesn’t have to work that way, and trying to do everything will usually result in many things being done poorly. Focus on what you’re good at and collaborate with others and outsource the things you’re less good at.
If you’re an expert at sourcing and engaging candidates but less of one at business development, then focus on one and find someone to collaborate with on the other. Not everyone has to be a 360 recruiter. You can be a 180 or a 270 recruiter. You have options!
- Ask for help and be generous with helping others
There are a lot of people out there with different areas of expertise and lots of professional experience and life experience who are ready and willing to offer insights and support when you need it. People love to be asked for help and advice and they like you more when you ask for it, possibly because they think you’re smart for trusting their expertise. People may also be more likely to help you again after helping you once. This is called the Ben Franklin effect because, as Franklin noted in his autobiography, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”
Asking for advice makes you smarter and provides insight you wouldn’t otherwise have, and allowing others to help you lightens your load and can create better outcomes – because, as we noted above, you can’t do everything yourself and do it well.
Being generous with your own help will also endear you to others and help grow your network, and we all know how elemental a strong network is to recruiter success. Focus on what you can give rather than on what you can get, and you’ll find that you get more than you expect in ways you didn’t expect. Read some ideas of what you can do to help others in this industry here.
- Be organized
Life is much easier when you stay organized and know how to prioritize tasks — prioritize like a maniac! If you can’t do this, you have to learn, or we might even say this gig is not for you. Recruiters have a lot of tasks to juggle and if you don’t stay organized things will fall by the wayside – we’ve learned this the hard way. Prioritizing is key.
We can’t sing the praises of lists loudly enough. The list of tasks in your head will stress you out and keep you up at night. It will wake you at 3 am. Moving these tasks from nredinside your head and into a written list or a task-manager software will save you.
There is a lot of administration involved in our business and it needs to get done, but we have to be sure not to get buried in it. It’s important to prioritize what will make money today and keep your business going. Everything else comes after that. The ability to cut through the clutter and do the most important thing.
- Be flexible and ready to change without notice
The ability to adapt is key to survival in any industry and recruitment is no different. We’ve seen our sector change dramatically over the past couple of decades and there is always more change to come. The COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact on the world and on the way we work, all of which was both unexpected and irreversible. From remote work, employees setting their own hours, and the mass popularization of collaborative software to the Great Resignation and droves of people making career shifts away from service and hospitality, we’ve seen a lot of disruption. And one thing we should take away from this is the understanding that disruption can happen at any time and without warning. You never see it coming, and you can’t prepare for it. That’s what makes it disruptive.
Those who are always learning new skills and who are prepared to adapt will fare better than those who think they have nothing to learn and that things will always be the same.
Always be learning new skills – problem solving skills should be at the top of the list. The better prepared you are the better off you will be.
- Learn to trust your gut
If your gut is telling you something is off or is pushing you towards a decision, pay attention to that feeling.
Ralph S. Larsen, former chair and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, once told the Harvard Business Review that his experience has taught him to listen to his instincts. He said, “Ignoring them has led to some bad decisions.”
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take real-life information into account and make an assessment based on actual data, but you should absolutely listen to your gut. In our experience, it has been right more often than not.
Of course, your instincts can be wrong and that happens too. But sometimes you just have to make a decision. When you are caught in a spiral of not knowing what to do, don’t overthink decisions to the point of doing nothing. Do something. Make a decision and, if it turns out to be the wrong one, learn from the experience and avoid making the same mistake in future.
6. Never book a grocery delivery for when you’ll be on a long video call
This might be the most important lesson of all. Don’t do this, especially with frozen items. They won’t stay frozen for long.