Are You Proud of Your 2010?

Jan 6, 2011

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?

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.

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