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Recruiters Are Sharks!
Episode 1. The Raggy Tooth - The 360 Recruiter
The Weekly Walkaway highlights negotiation in its ‘good’, ‘bad’ and sometimes ‘downright ugly’ forms. Issue No. 44 (8th September 2023)
What to expect?
Thought of the Week - Recruiters Are Sharks! Episode 1. The Raggy Tooth - The 360 Recruiter
List of The Week - So If You Are A Raggy Tooth What Do You Need To Do?
Remember: You are a negotiator!
You are always managing some form of conflict, a difference of opinion or interest.
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THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
There is Definitely a Feeling ‘out there’ That Recruiters ‘Negotiate’ Like Sharks
Voracious, Selfish, Predatory even
There are many types of shark in the Sea of Human Capital and there are also many types of recruiter.
I will state it here and now; “It is unfair to paint all recruiters with the same brush. There are far too many generalisations.”
But if, just for these next episodes, we were to consider the statement; ‘Recruiters are Sharks’, what would they be? What species would you be and how would each of you negotiate differently because of your environment?
I know, right.. it could be interesting stuff!
Breaking Down the Recruitment Industry Into Shark Species
We will explore those that are harmless and feed on vast quantities of the smallest living creatures in The Human Capital Sea. And yes, we will also meet some that are voracious, sharp toothed monsters.
If you spend a little time reading online reviews it won't take you long to find negative comments and stories of dissatisfied candidates and clients.
And yes, if we can be honest with ourselves there is, unfortunately, some truth in this feeling. Yes, recruiters can be shark-like in their negotiation style. But what does that mean?
So enjoy, read on. Which shark are you?
The Raggy Tooth - The 360 Recruiter
The Raggy Tooth. Vicious looking, sharp toothed, specialists. Competitive from birth, and well known for eating their own brothers and sisters to survive the womb.
Obviously birth is the time of them being hired and the womb is the environment they develop in, dummy.. Their brothers and sisters are the other consultants competing to ring that bell, to bill, competing to earn their commission.
The 360 Recruiter Develops New Business, Manages Existing Relationships, Finds, Places and Manages Candidates
They are tripartite negotiators. Well they should be.
Fact: Their teeth, although vicious looking, are harmless. They are specialised for catching small fish not gouging out huge chunks of meat.
The most affective 360 Recruiters negotiate between candidate need and client need. Bringing these different parties together in marriage, fixing ‘their’ issues and resolving their differences.
Trained to Sell. In Fact, For Most, That is as Far as Their Training And Development Goes
And so they sell.. And they sell too much!
Remember. Selling gets you to the table. Negotiation does the rest. So, when the negotiation begins the selling must stop… and that is why many Raggy Tooth’s have muddied the waters by being described as double glazing salespeople and second hand car dealers. The Raggy Tooth just can’t stop selling.
I know, I know, it’s an unfair stereotype and quite frankly a gross exaggeration, but it does capture certain characteristics that people associate with pushy 360 recruiters. To survive the womb, to be the ‘big biller’, the Raggy Tooth has to be ‘pushy’.
Sure, The Successful Raggy Tooth is Persistent
The ones that survive are relentless.
Like a Raggy Tooth they pursue their (food) candidates and clients voraciously. They constantly follow-up to close ‘that’ deal. While persistence is a valuable trait, it can come across as overly arrogant and even aggressive.
They, like second-hand car dealers, are known for exerting high-pressure tactics to push candidates or clients into making decisions and are known for being less than transparent with information about job opportunities or candidates.
They have learnt to only reveal enough information to get the deal. They know concealing relevant details could impact the decision-making process.
They Are Competing, Constantly
against each other, their colleagues also want that information, that candidate, that deal;
against internal recruiters who are also looking for that information, that candidate, that deal;
against new technology, the web and social media, that has that information, that candidate, that deal.
The Raggy Tooth is Born Into a KPI Heavy Womb
They are highly target-driven and often have their targets publicised for their brothers and sisters to see. Their whole environment is focused on hitting numbers rather than satisfying customers
This constant focus on targets and the win, the commission, focuses the Raggy Tooth’s priority on their ‘own’ interests over the best interests of their candidates and clients.
It’s what gives them the reputation for being solely motivated by financial gain.
‘Ringing the bell’, blowing the horn or similar activities, when they do a deal, has always been a focal point for that motivation, the gamification of their environment.
Raggy Tooth’s Think They Negotiate on The Western Side of The Negotiation Compass
The Engineer and Diplomat, but in fact they are forever on the Eastern Side, The Haggler and The Dealer.
The Western Side of the Kahvay Negotiation Compass enables value creation whilst the eastern side is purely distributary. Win/Lose.
You may recognise the terms;
Win/Win (Western Negotiator) Vs Win/Lose (Eastern Negotiator)
To be a Western Negotiator, Win/Win, they’d require more variables, creativity, trust and openness.
Use PLANT to Analyse Their Circumstances;
POWER - so much competition means very little power which means they compensate which means they either sell too much, desperate, or try to bluff their power and so come across as arrogant, they overcompensate;
LONGEVITY - so much competition means short termism and self interest. So much movement, hiring and firing, means that although an account relationship could be long-term the relationships involved are not;
ADVANCED - they don’t have the variables (scope) or authority (empowerment) to trade creatively. Price becomes their only leverage and that is only ever gonna be distributed; Win/Lose. (Ever wonder why your fees just keep dropping?);
NEED - they are constantly battling the multiple other options their candidates and clients have. The term we use here is BATNA; best alternative to a negotiated agreement. The Candidates and clients have better alternatives;
TRUST - self interest and a closed protectionist mindset is not the best enabler of trust.
The Classic Eastern Negotiator. The Competitor. Win/Lose. Distributive. #Trump. The Haggler. The Dealer.
The most appropriate behaviours:
on The East are: Cold, hard, closed, tough, arrogant, aloof….
on The West are: Warm, open, cooperative and collaborative.
And Here The Raggy Tooth Has Their Paradox
Those that fail fail because they are just not empowered to trade anything else but the most basic variables. So they are forever on The East but trying to behave on The West.
There is a very good reason for this;
Companies do not trust their Raggy Tooths to be commercially savvy enough to understand how to create value using low cost high value trading techniques so they set limits and restrict them from any form of creativity.
So Raggy Tooths fall into two camps; either they;
compensate. Believing, wrongly, that they will damage relationships if they are firm and tough they try to use western behaviours in an eastern negotiation and get exploited. So they Go Soft, AND Sell. And because they have not planned to move they have nothing to ‘give’ apart ‘price’ (fees, salary etc). They degrade their margin to give satisfaction. This is them selling their way out of their paradox. They ‘give’, voraciously and this has the opposite effect.
They are perceived as being; desperate, weak, untrustworthy, unconfident, movable…. This means they move, they give too easily, this devalues them and their service, this dissatisfies their counterpart and eventually kills the relationship.
overcompensate. And come across as overly arrogant and hard nosed.
They are perceived as being arrogant, stubborn, entrenched, intransigent! They are not empowered to move. They are too competitive to move. Their egos don’t allow them to move. So they don’t move. They stubbornly hold their position.
To Successfully Negotiate on The Eastern Side of The Kahvay Negotiation Compass You’ve Got to Learn The Art of Giving Satisfaction
Firstly you’ve goto make appropriate behavioural choices that fit your circumstances.
The required behaviours to win in a win lose negotiation are firm and tough. Not arrogant and competitive. Sound familiar? Here we have the classic Raggy Tooth Shark analogy.
These behaviours do not build trust nor long term relationships so those that truly succeed are the ones who have been trained in The art of giving Satisfaction.
Giving their counterparts the feeling that ‘they’ are winning, not the Raggy Tooth. This requires them opening extreme (proposing more than they need) and moving towards their counterpart to give satisfaction.
This is Incredibly Difficult for The Raggy Tooths. Why? Because They Are Overly Competitive, Arrogant and Have Huge Egos.
Raggy Tooths need to feel that they are the ones who win!
If more Raggy Tooths were trained in the art of negotiation then they would understand The Art Of Satisfaction. Then they would be happier and their candidates and clients would be happier too.
Those negative comments and descriptions of second hand car dealers or double glazing sales people are and will forever remain if 360 Recruiters do not learn this simple art. The 360 Recruiter fails because they either fall back into selling or arm wrestling when they should be negotiating.
The problem is that those Raggy Tooth’s who survive the womb, who win, go on to lead. I know bonkers right? They are the ones who go on to develop the next generation of baby Raggy Tooth’s.. Arrogant, hard and competitive.
LIST OF THE WEEK
So If You Are A Raggy Tooth What Do You Need To Do?
Well, it is easy for us to say, “get trained dummy”, but for some of you that is just not realistic so here is a quick list of what you can do;
Always thinking; “negotiation is not a competition. If I want to win then someone will exploit me for it.”. Fact - Procurement and now HR are becoming more professionally trained in negotiation. Your ego is so easy to manipulate;
Always open with more than you need and then move, to give them satisfaction;
Never give anything away for free. Always get something of equal or greater in return for what you give. Use If you… Then I… The conditional trade to protect you and your margin and to show that you are working with them not against them;
Change your environment. Steer away from old Raggy Tooths that have been mentored by older Raggy Tooths. Cold, Hard, Arrogant and overly competitive. Remember, They survived the womb!. Work where there is a lack of internal competition and a high degree of collaboration throughout the recruitment life cycle;
Choose an employer who values customer satisfaction as its key KPI and who empowers you to do more, to trade more than just price to a limit;
Work with colleagues and clients who exhibit open behaviours and who offer opportunities for creativity and cooperation. Become more interested in mutual value rather than being motivated by self interest;
STOP selling! START Negotiating. When the selling stops the negotiation can begin. If the selling continues you will weaken your position;
Use PLANT and the Kahvay Negotiation Compass to analyse where you are and then choose the most appropriate behaviours for that compass bearing. You can negotiate in a tough and firm way and still keep, in fact, still develop, long lasting relationships based on ‘RESPECT’ and ‘SATISFACTION’;
Become ‘The Consultative Recruiter’. Focus on long term trust, professionalism and making sure the right decision is made for your candidates and clients. It is a long game. Don’t fall into the short termism trap.
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