I Love Gatekeepers – (Receptionists)

GrabbingAttentionThe recruitment market must be getting busier, if the reaction of receptionists around the country, is anything to measure. I am a specialist headhunter within the housebuilding sector. Occasionally, I have cause to contact an office of a house-building group to reach a certain person. Although I like to think that I’m famous, it’s pretty evident that I’m not as well-known by reception staff. Much of my work is based upon referral and recommendation. I’ve been headhunting for nearly 15 years, following a decade at director level in housebuilding, the industry sector I serve. I’ve just made a call to a company that have recently employed my services, to speak with someone who is unknown to me. The gatekeeper (receptionist) quickly obtained my name and asked which company I was from. I explained that my company is called **face-fit**, a headhunting business. Suddenly her tone changed. The bright enthusiasm for answering the call turned into an offhand; “hold-on, I’ll try for you”. I waited about 10 seconds, to be told that the person I was trying to reach is unavailable. Would I like to leave a message? I declined the offer of a message and requested to speak to the managing director’s secretary. Her off-hand tone changed again? Shock this time, with a slightly less-frosty tone. I was put through to the managing director’s secretary, who of course knows me well. I explained that I was trying to reach an employee within their business for some information. She kindly put me through. The recipient answered straightaway remarkably. Call me cynical, but did the receptionist even try to put me through beforehand? Did they automatically reject my call because I was a recruiter/headhunter? Is this industry now seen as a sales industry? I have heard people say, “Oh it’s a sales call”. I can’t imagine what it must be like to receive countless calls per day from recruitment companies and sales callers, hoping to make contact with employees of the business. It must be very frustrating. I’m sure there is a parallel between this type of approach, calling businesses, as there is with things like PPI and “you qualify for a new boiler” in a domestic environment. Maybe times are changing. Maybe everyone is much happier pushing buttons creating text on pages. The idea of speaking frightens people. Maybe the recruitment industry is viewed with such disrespect, that the idea of speaking to a recruiting person, is an inconvenience. Is this because the majority of people in recruitment are idiots? Maybe. How do you differentiate between a good, confidential, sincere and professional recruiter, from an amateur CV trader? I can only speak from personal feedback. Look into their background and decide whether they are somebody whom you would trust with your career plan. What do they know about your industry? What do they know about your job role? How long have they been involved in recruiting in your sector? Are they instructed or hoping to throw mud at the wall including your CV and others? Do they operate on a retained and exclusive basis for all appointments/openings? Will they offer to meet you in person? Will they travel to your destination to meet you? Will they offer an out of hours service? The recruitment sector is full of people who have absolutely no idea of the industry they serve or the job roles within them. As a consequence, I shall be taking a leaf out of the gatekeepers book; If you’re not recommended, I’m not interested. Thank you.

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Simon Wilkins

Simon Wilkins

The Headhunter


07554 234 567