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There’s an old

recruitment joke
that’s been doing the rounds for years about a
recently deceased HR Manager (insert lawyer, management consultant etc)
arriving at the Pearly Gates and being given a tour of Heaven and Hell
with a view to choosing where they wish to spend eternity.   
Heaven was
serene and pleasant but when the HR manager was taken to Hell she
found herself stepping onto a beach of fine white sand, with deep blue
water lapping at her feet and a bar with gorgeous waiter serving
refreshing cocktails.

Just beyond that she could see a luxury hotel and friendly faces
welcoming her, many of them people she knew from her life as an HR
consultant. They sat around, reminisced, laughed, swam and then as the
bright golden sun disappeared below the horizon they all went into the
hotel for an amazing meal.

She even met Satan who was also very friendly, and not at all like the
evil devil she had been led to believe he was. The evening was fabulous
with more drink, jokes and dancing.

The HR Manager tells St Peter that, on consideration,
Hell is her choice. She was then ushered into the ‘real’ hell and was
horrified to find it was awful, nothing like she had been shown on the
tour. After complaining to the Devil about this dramatic change of
environment, the punch line is
“that’s because
yesterday we were recruiting you, but now you’re on the staff.”

This joke came to mind as I read a recent blog by NZ
recruitment blogger, Jonathan Rice

in which Jon analyses the
four minute Robert Half Australia video

A Day In the Life of a Robert Half Recruitment Consultant
superbly concludes ‘It is the utopian view
of working as a recruitment consultant. A day of hard-nosed business and
deal-closing, framed by runs along pristine beaches and zany co-workers,
all fueled with frothy lattes and a well-earned end-of-day wine.’

(Let alone the big unanswered question about the good
looking Robert Half video ‘stars’, John and Carley, who run along Bondi
Beach pre-work and have a drink together after work – are they a couple?
Is this the subtle message of the video – work here and find a hot

Have a look at the
video and see what you think.

Is Jon being too harsh?

Is this all part of the game that any company plays;
the game in which the ‘glossy brochure’ image of working at said company
is simply a sales tool to drive more candidates into the recruitment
funnel? Then, once the candidate is ‘captured’ in the recruitment
process, there is a fair, realistic and thorough face-to-face
explanation of what the job really   involves.

I had a quick look to see what other recruitment
companies produce in the way of a ‘Day in the Life …’ Surprisingly it
was hard to find too many other examples Australian-based recruitment
agencies producing such videos.


  • Hays   have their
    generic global video

    Powering the World of Work
    which is very glossy and features
    people who appear to be Hays consultants in an age bracket that
    would not be regarded as typical in most people’s experience of Hays
  • Madison Group   in
    New Zealand have a much more casual attitude portrayed in their

    work for us video
    (with 13 different shots of food and/or drink)
    which could leave you wondering how much time might be left to do
    any real work of the type that justifies your salary.  
  • Ambition’s  

    promoting their Academy in Australia features fun in the
    office, consultants jogging and a bunch of existing Ambition
    consultants talking about their job (if you listen very carefully
    you may be able to occasionally hear an Ambition consultant who
    doesn’t have an English or Irish accent).  
  • Kudos to Michael Page Australia   because

    work for us video
    was notable for the absence of consultants in
    exercise gear, having fun or drinking and I counted at least four
    Australian accents in their 90 second video. Although, on the down
    side, there was no explanation of what a consultant actually does  
    each day, just sound bites extolling the virtue of the Michael Page
    career options and the colleagues that you work with.

I couldn’t find any other examples from my cursory
run through a YouTube search (please

contact me
if you know of any other Australian recruitment agency
‘work for us’ videos).

One thing that was conspicuous by its absence  
from all of the videos that I looked at, was the stark reality that
setting and achieving activity and results targets is a critical part of
being a successful recruitment agency recruiter even though sales-type
euphemisms of the ‘work hard, play hard’ variety abounded.

Yes, Virginia, recruitment agency recruitment is a
sales job  , no matter how you dress it up. If you don’t like being
held accountable for delivering results then please don’t waste our time
by applying for a job in our industry.

One thing that was conspicuous by its presence  
in the videos was the overwhelming focus on young, pretty and handsome
consultants as principal on-screen representatives for each agency (to
be fair there was a variation amongst the five in this area, with
Madison being least ‘guilty’ of this and Hays not too far away). Any
person over the age of 35 is sent a clear message, intended or not, that
these recruitment agencies are not exactly encouraging your interest or
your job application.

What responsibility do recruitment agencies have to
accurately represent a recruitment consultant’s job in ‘A day in the
Life …’ or ‘Work for us’ video?

You can read Jonathan Rice’s view (and the often
amusing, reader comments that follow)


I believe that there is room in these types of videos
for a successful recruiter to share the challenges that they experienced
when they started as an agency recruiter, how they overcame these
challenges (and what help they received from their employer) and the
longer term benefits (career and financially) that have accrued to them
as a result of their willingness to work hard and overcome the
challenges of the job.

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Adam Walker

Hey Ross have a look at this video – hits the mark I think

Shereen Low

Hi Ross, one of the thoughts that came up in our discussion regarding employer branding is how the insight could be tailored for experienced recruiters vs non-experienced recruiters. Some elements are similar across recruitment agencies which would be helpful for those who don't know the reality of the role, then there's the differences between agencies which is what an experienced recruiter wants to know before joining you.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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