“There’s your phone, there’s your desk. Off you go!”

That was pretty much how my induction went back in the day of the 90’s Recruiter.  In fact, I remember an old boss slamming her hand down on my desk about every 3 days, asking if I’d made a placement and paid for said desk yet.  And then there was this time when my chair was taken away from my desk and I wasn’t allowed to sit down until I got a job on.  It was literally like Wolf on Wall Street, minus Leonardo DiCaprio.

Some of you reading this will know all too well the pressure that was applied to perform, and QUICKLY.  Others reading this must be thinking ‘WTF, this has workplace harassment written all over it’.  Maybe a few of you will be thinking ‘shit, we still do that!’ Tsk, Tsk.

If I was a betting woman I would hazard a guess that your views on this will largely depend on what generation you belong to.  You see, to us ol’ Gen X’s and Baby Boomers this was completely normal.  We either succeeded or buckled under the pressure. The ones that succeeded love the grind, we had real GRIT and thrived amongst the madness.

Now let’s look at today’s recruitment landscape

The hierarchy could potentially be:

  • C-Suite: Baby Boomer
  • Senior Leadership Team: Generation X
  • Team Leaders: Older Millennials
  • Consultants: Younger Millennials that older Millennials don’t really identify with

And Gen Z’s – they’re almost here in all their glory.

No bloody wonder we just don’t get each other!!  This is evident when you see posts across social with the older recruitment generation being outraged when millennials want things like flexible working conditions, option to buy more holiday, mapped out career progression, support, education, education, education, (did I say education) and ping pong tables – always ping pong tables.  Some of Gen X guys didn’t even get a chair to sit down on sometimes, never mind an employee wellness program.

Cross generational challenges and lack of understanding of what they are, has a dramatic impact on recruitment businesses attraction and retention strategies.

Just because years ago we used to be able to cook up a successful recruiter with a few basic ingredients placed into a sales pressure cooker: like a phone, some clients, some candidates, a simple training program and a semi-effective sales tracking tool. Doesn’t mean it still works.

Millennials have changed the recipe like salt in caramel chocolate.

Millennials differ vastly from those in the generations before them and that’s especially true when it comes to some of the essential skills for recruiters such as sales. Millennial recruiters are confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change. They came of age immersed in technology and instant communication. Their expectations, for work and personal life, are sky-high.

It should come as no surprise then that this unique generation has tremendous potential for great results in recruitment – but millennials require a new style of management to foster that success. The old school pressure cooker just won’t cut it anymore.

As an industry we can stay stuck in a rut of turning over millennial after millennial and blaming them for being self-absorbed, entitled and lazy or you can adapt your business to thrive with the next generation of recruiter working FOR you in a way that’s native to them.

Seek to understand not alienate.

Ok, where’s my chair?