How my mum’s death has made me a better recruiter

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No matter where I go in the world; whether it be Belfast, Dublin, London, LA or Auckland; the recruitment industry is viewed by most as being at the bottom of the career and employment pile.

I’ve always wondered why.

Is it because of bad experience? Or jealousy? Or lack of understanding or empathy? Is it because everyone thinks that recruitment is easy and they can do it themselves? Or perhaps it’s a lack of qualification or too much aggression?

There are so many questions as to why?

And perhaps so many answers as to why as well.

After all,” those who can’t do; teach and those who can’t teach; recruit”.

I choose to work in recruitment and I think that decision has been wise so far.

In many ways, I see a lot of my friends and family being a lot more foolish than me with their career choices. Foolish with their money and even more foolish with their time. All stemming from a feeling that they must live life by the big scary book.

I know so many people who have spent thousands of pounds/dollars on third level education to work in a job that has nothing to do with their degree and they have had to prostitute themselves around for underpaid graduate jobs which can pretty much border on slavery in a lot of cases.

I was a straight A student. I did well at school. In one of my subjects, I finished as No.1 student in the UK. In 2010, I moved on to study Architecture at University. I lasted 6 months. I hated it.

Why did I last 6 months? 2 reasons:

  • I studied for 14 years in an outdated and archaic schooling system. At 19, I felt that I was too independent for University. I was feeling claustrophobic and I needed to think for myself rather than being taught by someone who didn’t even know my name.
  • It was also 2010, the arse had completely fell out of the construction industry and it was going to take me 9 years to become a fully qualified Architect. I couldn’t wait that long.

At that time, the average salary for an Architect in Ireland was 27,000 pounds for an all singing, all dancing Architect. ($45,900 NZD)

Being a calculated risk taker, I realised that there were easier ways for me to make money. Better money.

But also, being an erratic 19-year old teenager, I hadn’t really any plan.

I dropped out of university. (I hand wrote a letter to my mum and left it on her bed, moved out of the house for two weeks until she calmed down!)

So, with my mum on my case, I decided to become an entrepreneur… NOT!

(Entrepreneur = worst word in the English dictionary)

However, I did have a go at hand delivering leaflets around the houses in my neighbourhood marketing myself as the best landscape gardener there ever did be.

Was I?

Hell no! But I was willing to get my hands dirty to make some money and at that time, it was also better than sitting in a lecture hall, half asleep listening to a lecture about the robust dimensions of a brick. (Snore!)

After a while, I got into recruitment. I was only 20 years old and within the next 5 years I became more emotionally intelligent than most 35-year olds.

Within that time, I had two different recruitment jobs (most recruiters average on one new recruitment job a year so this wasn’t so bad), dropped out of university AGAIN, bought my first house, became a landlord, watched my mum pass away suddenly, got promoted several times, traveled to nearly 30 countries and lived a life with the freedom that I needed.

My mum passed away with a brain haemorrhage. From doing the ironing on a Sunday afternoon, to collapsing and dying pretty much within a day.

It was pretty horrific stuff, the worst point in my life, but also probably the most important.

After she passed away, I had an unquenchable thirst for life. I wanted to work hard, I wanted to learn, I wanted to win and lose and travel and feel.

I wanted to be alive.

Recruitment allowed me to do that. Live life fast and fun.

During that time, I learnt quicker than anyone around me. I soaked everything up and submerged myself into what I was good at; engaging with people.

I am now 26 and I regard myself as being able to recruit at the top level. I still have a massive desire to better myself every single day and that all stems from my personal desire to keep learning and living.

I have a belief that if I am assigned a job, I will successfully recruit it no matter what and 85% of the time, I will. The 15% is what keeps me going.

Recruitment is a people business but so is every single other business in the world.

It doesn’t matter if you are developing apps at Google or building a brand-new shopping centre, the world is driven my social connection.

In a lot of ways, businesses as we know it could not survive without good recruiters.

I go home at night knowing that I have assisted in bettering someone’s career.

I am damn passionate about what I do. I have been known to stand up for what I do.

I still have the thirst for work that my mum has instilled in me. She worked two jobs up until she died and three jobs up until I was born all whilst completing a degree and a masters!

She was an animal!!

That fire in my belly, I believe, is 1000% times more valuable than any qualification and it’s what makes me hungrier than most of my competitors, to learn and progress. (and not just in numbers on the door but in strategically connecting the best, to the best)

A lot of construction companies will tell you: “We hire on attitude, we can teach the rest”. I am a firm believer in this.

I don’t come from the school of hard knocks, I am articulate and reasoned. I read, I write. I win. I lose. I learn. It just so happens that I also recruit.

If you would like me to recruit for you, please feel free to contact me.

michael@franklinsmithgroup.co.nz

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