The blog I promised myself I'd write after my last in March 2020

Tel: 0113 831 4455

The blog I promised myself I'd write after my last in March 2020

 15th Jan 2021

This blog is very different to my last. Not in the sense that it took me any less time to write, in fact I started it two lockdowns ago (something I hope I never ever write again) and I’ve tweaked it multiple times to try and reflect the mood of the ever changing situation we find ourselves in. After publishing my last blog, I was inundated with many comments of support and gratitude for sharing what felt like a pretty raw experience personally and professionally back in March. The gratitude for those comments is a big motivator for writing this follow up.

Although things are still some way from being “normal” for Parker Young, they are going in the right direction and so wanted to offer some positivity and hope for others who are not yet out of the woods...

 

Most seasoned recruiters could write a book about their experiences in a career which offers an insight into human behaviour, ethics and company cultures like no other. I’m sure that the shock, scandal and salaciousness in some of those books would, not unlike the “secret footballer” series, quickly top the best seller charts.

The past ten months would make up the biggest chapter of my book and include all sorts from scaling the business back and wondering what the hell I would do other than recruitment if what happened in March carried on, to juggling running Parker Young with home schooling - it has been eventful to say the least. 

I’ve experienced the knocks you grow a thick skin to deal with in recruitment, like the classic“back out”, loss of much valued business and people letting you down, which are tough to take for the most hardened recruiter, even in the busiest of markets, but it felt amplified by the circumstances of the pandemic. To top it off I even represented a client in a COVID-19 restricted courtroom!

Despite these challenges, there have been really positive things to come out of this horror show and I promise it’s positivity only from this point on, so bear with me:

The biggest benefit of being at home has been spending lots of quality time with my wife and children. More time with them was one of the main drivers for setting up Parker Young in 2016 and in the early months I enjoyed seeing lots of my little toddler, who all of a sudden turns six in a couple of months! As the business grew, my commitment to being in the office early and leaving late meant my work/life balance was often tipped toward the former, but it didn’t feel a strain as I was building a brand with the support of others and I was still able to get home for story time for my son and daughter every evening. 

What this time has shown me is just how far the scales had tipped and ultimately how unsustainable that would have been to carry on with. Up until March, I was working harder than I ever have, not just in a revenue generating capacity, but leading a small team (which I loved - most of the time) alongside the less glamorous responsibilities of a small business owner that you won’t see on my LinkedIn profile, like parking attendant, sandwich shop runner, terrible IT technician and even weekend cleaner (mainly because as a tight Yorkshireman, I’d prefer to come in to clean the toilets and vac the office myself, rather than employ a cleaner. This one in particular may have been an oversight). Put simply, I was knackered, and it took a global pandemic to help me realise that. 

I’m lucky to be very involved in bringing my children up in a great partnership with my wife, but it is fair to say that many of the best parenting ideas and initiatives don’t come from me. I was introduced to one such idea when I walked into my son’s room recently and listened in to my wife asking what he was most grateful for. She asked for no more than one thing, but it’s a question that we continue to ask every evening.

Stressing the importance of taking stock at such a young age was a real eye opener for me. I am, and always have been, the type who falls into the bracket of constantly looking to the future, wondering what the next challenge is, or what next milestone of success can be achieved. This enforced time away from “normal life” has forced me to take stock and I’d now like to take a leaf from my son’s bedtime routine to let you know what I’ve been grateful for in the last 12 months. Spoiler alert: there’s more than one. 

 

I’m grateful for your feedback and support

I’ve questioned more times than I can remember why I chose to work in recruitment, given it gets so much bad press (some of which is justified). At times I’ve found myself having to repeatedly apologise on behalf of the industry as a whole and as a result, I’ve struggled to articulate how proud I am of what my business and I have done for some people and the achievements I’ve had along the way. However the much of the feedback I received in 2020 has reinforced more than ever the value Parker Young adds and the support we offer. It has helped me appreciate that Parker Young is a well-respected brand and that our attempt to do things the right way is recognised by many who know us. 2021 is all about showing even more people the same! 

 

I’m grateful for your loyalty 

In the toughest of times, it was humbling to see how many clients had recognised the impact COVID-19 had on my business and how quick many were to get in touch to offer different types of support whether it be vacancies, or simply the assurance that when they were allowed to recruit again, a call to Parker Young would be the first they made. It has been and will always be very much appreciated.

 

I’m grateful to our industry for stepping up 

The significant increase in job losses this year has led to an often unmanageable flow of applications and approaches from candidates. While I am among many who would love nothing more than to help everyone, the significant reduction of opportunities in the market and businesses not being able to afford to use recruitment businesses in some cases, has inhibited our ability to help. 

I was tagged in a post from a business director who had directly asked for the help of the recruitment industry a few weeks ago, to help him find a recruiter who had lost their job and who was open to moving into his business in an in-house role. A few days later he updated the post to share his disappointment at the lack of response and speculated that the lack of response was due to the lack of a fee at the end of it. I didn’t respond as I don’t think I could have influenced his opinion on our industry, but it’s a shame to see our whole industry being so publicly castigated. We are not all like that I promise! 

There have been many examples of what a human, empathetic and proactive industry we can be. Take Tom Cokill at Logical FMCG for example, who launched an initiative to help candidates find jobs through his network without charging a fee. He will have forfeited tens of thousands of pounds in the process and, while the individuals who secured the jobs won’t forget that, I’m hoping many more will remember the gesture when the world is back to what we know. I too have supported a number of people to find jobs, whether by sending job descriptions of roles people weren’t aware of, coaching people through interview processes I wasn’t representing them for and helping with applications. I mention this not to be regarded as a saint, but to provide another example of recruiters behaving particularly altruistically in times of adversity. 

Support comes in other forms, too. Such as from other recruiters who might operate in the same competitive space as you, but who also do the right thing by their candidates simply by sharing and liking others’ posts. It didn’t go unnoticed Rich Bennigsen so thanks for the share! 

 

So in summary, I am thankful for my new perspective around living in the moment and appreciating the present more, which I hope will make me a better recruiter, leader and family man moving forward. 

Looking ahead, and drawing this retrospective to a close, I have lots to be excited about too. I have introduced two new business advisors to the business- one of which is a very experienced recruitment marketing expert and the other a very talented ex CEO, leadership development specialist and arse kicker (my title for him not his), along with the investment in even more technology.

 

I’ll finish by saying a sincere thank you to those of you who have stuck with my ramblings and I hope your take away from this blog is a positive outlook for the future. Despite us heading into what is going to be the toughest COVID related challenge yet, there is also a vaccine led future on the horizon.

 

I wish everybody the very best for 2021 and beyond.

Best Regards,

Dave

 

PS, for the recruiters reading…

If you’re at the point I was a few years ago, having built up a network of loyal clients and a respected name in your market, but no longer see a future with your current employer, I’d like the opportunity to share my experiences with you. More than that, I’d like to tell you about the benefits of branching out on your own or in collaboration with an authentic, knowledgeable recruiter who doesn’t take himself too seriously.

I believe the work I've put into the business over the past few months on has set Parker Young up to offer an even better candidate and client experience, but also a brand which could support a hardworking, experienced recruitment professional who shares in our values and who is excited by the prospect of either launching complimentary division under the core brand or an entirely new brand, but with guidance of someone who has the experience of doing the hard yards in order to help guide you along the way.

While I’d usually much prefer to meet in person to have an informal discussion, let's set up an initial Teams call and we can meet up in person once Boris allows us to!

Comments

Currently there are no comments. Be the first to post one!

Post Comment

*
*
*