The Modern Hunter
It was not until LinkedIn China recently published an article called ‘Modern Recruiter; that triggered my brain about this conflicting job type in China.
As the picture itself says, modern recruiters are composed by two paradoxical parts: one side as an artist – creatively seeking the possibility of making two employment parties work out, promoting an interesting job role, or simply providing consultative insights into how to nurture a company’s talents; another side as a scientist – sitting in front of the computer all day to manipulate the database to fine-tune the search channels and exploit talent resources and then interpret candidates’ intangible information into numerical features for a shortlist.
With experience from two leading UK search firms, I m lucky to have observed the recruitment industry as an insider:
- We are IT operator
Believe it or not, 90% of a hunter’s time is spent in front of the computer. Be it Profile, BullHorn or other database, we work as information processor to collect, code, and compile dispersed pieces of information in order to construct a digital world where each hiring company and each professional is properly placed. Newbie consultants (or PRC as we call) would usually get surprised to see a full house of consultants busy talking on the phone whilst typing on the boards. “It’s like the movie: Wall Street.” they would comment, “No we are operators like Con Edison” as some veterans would say with a bitter-sweet laughter.
- We are Sales
When being asked to introduce myself on social scenes, I always answer “I’m a Sales guy.” “What do you sell then?” “People!”
One of the biggest discrepancies between my imagination and the actual situation of what a hunter’s profession is like is the fact that we are so sales-driven. Although titled as consultants, but we are more like sales: sell ourselves to a client to get a case released, sell a job opportunity to a candidate so that he / she gets motivated to apply, sell a selected professional to a client to close the deal, sell a online recruitment solution, sell a retainer search proposal, sell everything. Although arguments have been there regarding the rationality of salesman being consultants, it is inevitably true that selling is a subconscious drive in our heads and not able to hit the sales target is surely a nightmare.
- We are HR
Hunters have such close relationship with in-house HR, as we are generically performing the recruitment tasks. Indeed, apart from the sales nature, we share great attributes with in-house HR: we understand line managers’ needs and source professionals to fill the roles, during which process we conduct various methodologies to assess, select and manage targeted professionals in our pipeline. It’s also not surprising to observe a career transfer from a hunter to recruiter, especially for female hunters who become eager for work life balance.
- We are career coach
Besides the joys generated by revenue, placing someone in a proper place to create a win-win situation is the most incentivizing reward for hunters. We are one of the very few people who are privileged to have a truthful conversation regarding a company’s business and organization change, a person’s ambition and concern, and consequently able to make significant impact to a candidate’s career. According to the feedbacks from my peers in this industry, a majority of them would take the Thank-you letter from a successfully placed professional as the best reward for their hard-work.
- We are your friend
If the best reward of this job is to place a professional, the second reward would be that we can make friends with our candidates . I can hardly imagine another job type that could give us more opportunity to socialize and sync up with the world, and get to know different type of people with various backgrounds and personalities. Although a profession may come to an end someday, the accumulation of friends from this profession will be ever-lasting and make this profession as the most charming choice of modern society.