Are You Proud of Your 2010?

As a recruiting professional, I get a little tired of reading the same article at the end each year. You know:

“Think back. Did you hit your targets? Did you work as hard as you could? Did you get all your paperwork done? Did you get a gold star from the person one rung up the greasy corporate ladder from you? Can you work harder next year?”

All reasonable questions – IF you went into this business in order to make a stack of money. Of course, it’s good practice for the January performance assessment season, but seriously, only useful if you are totally focused on your career as a means to an end.

Now, I’m not a ‘leftie’ or ‘anti-money’ – I just don’t find it inspiring; so I can’t be bothered comparing my performance to the “ideal” performance to make maximum dollars. It also makes the assumption that only hard work leads to success, when there’s a lot more to succeeding than just the hours put in. (I dare you to tell your boss that)

I like to think that we’re all in this industry to help people.

Is that simplistic? Maybe, but along those lines, these are the questions I ask myself each Christmas, in no particular order:

Question One: Whose life have I improved by placing them in an excellent job?

It doesn’t have to be some executive you plucked from one company and placed somewhere where they have a better paying and more fulfilling job. It can be the family breadwinner who needed “any” job and you found them “any” job. It can be the person who studied for a career change and was having trouble getting taken seriously for entry level/ graduate jobs.

Question Two: Which client now has a better functioning business or business unit?

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Don’t forget, the client pays the bills! And often, they’re substantial. Just replacing like with like is not good enough. Every time you make a placement, whether it be a new position, back-filling a promotion, or replacing after a resignation, the aim is for the client to be vastly better off. And it shouldn’t matter whether it’s a client for which you take five jobs per day, or a small organisation that has one recruitment need every three years.

Question Three: Am I comfortable with what I’ve done this year?

There are so many blurry edges in recruitment. Have you always put the best candidate forward, or have you done a friend a favour and bumped them up the list? Have you helped a government client work around some pesky regulations, and if so, was it ethical or dodgy? Did you bill a client properly, or add some ‘extras’ or offer a discount you shouldn’t have.

If you can answer yourself positively in all three cases, then 2010 was a great year, and next year is something to look forward to.

If you can’t, then it’s not a bad blueprint for change in 2011.

Robert Godden is CEO of boutique recruitment agency in Australia, but he is basically a sourcer at heart. He enjoys finding people for sparkling new roles that are just being invented in cutting edge industries. When he's not sharing his opinions on recruiting and how we might all do that better, he's obsessed with tea and has a tiny internet TV show about people in social media.