Recruiters: The Sportscasters of Industry
Everyone has an opinion on Recruiting, all levels of a company, and pretty much anyone you meet just on the street. It’s always puzzled me yet somehow made sense. Something occurred to me. Recruiters are mostly trespassers.
We are interlopers, we hang out in communities we don’t really belong in don’t we? We exude expert knowledge in industries we haven’t actually worked in. We advise people on career choices in industries we watch yet in the majority of cases haven’t participated in. We are viewed suspiciously by all, as we fight for respect.
But here’s the thing, I figured it out. Inspired by a post from Paul Jacobs, who asked if Recruiters are like Real Estate Agents, I figured that Recruiters are like Sportscasters. Those professionals who comment and discuss sports. Not all of them have played at the top level themselves, and the don’t necessarily have to. Those that have, put in special comments and don’t have to wait as long to gain credibility, but in the end, they are still sports commentators.
People listen to them, and take what they say as gospel, without the hands on experience to back it up. What they have is vision, passion, experience, a holistic picture, a flexibility, a craving to be heard and make a good living out of it.
I’ll put it this way. They know their Market ie sports, football, basketball cricket; but they hone their craft to standout in their Industry, ie Broadcasting.
Recruiters are the same. We play the same balance between our Markets and Industry.
For example. Here’s me, I’ve been “in” the IT game for 12 or so years now. Can I cut code? Nope. Can I write technical documentation? Nope. Can I Regression test something? Nope. Yet, I am still a professional operating in the IT Industry (OK for me it is m Market). I was even lucky enough to be asked to present at an Australian Computer Society function the other day. (The irony was not lost on me. In my first ever Computer class (they were called that at the time), I managed to format my teachers favourite disk. It wasn’t intended, to this day I don’t know how I did it, however I got a crowd of people around me looking at the colourful circle I’d magically made. I wasn’t allowed back in the class for weeks.) Why? Because I watch my market, I engage with its participants, I know the score. I’m seen to be able to advise the viewers at home (read clients or candidates) as to the state of play, trends, tactics in their Industry (not mine).
But I hone my craft away from the Market or the game. I learn MY Industry, about Recruitment. I pick the brains of Industry veterans, I listen, I read, I try new things, I innovate. (Just like sporting journalists, would speak to their predecessors, watch tape, learn stats, speaking tones, elocution, etc) These tactics increase my Industry knowledge, but increase my value in my Market.
So when you feel that weight of people’s eyes on you, casting aspersions as to why you are attending their user group, their conference or sponsoring an industry breakfast. Hold your head high. You may be just working your Market inside their Industry, but think of what our sports would be without the Broadcasters, a bland, lifeless, un-informative, un-entertaining event. We compliment the Industry (event) and make it better for all involved. For all those Australians reading this, think Bruce McAvaney or Eddie Maguire they seem to have done pretty well for themselves. For anyone else… I’ve got nothing, find your own analogy. 🙂 You know what I mean….