Recruitment Mum: July/August 2022

Do you have a recruitment work dilemma? Ask our Recruitment Mum – she’ll answer questions big or small!

Dear Recruitment Mum,

I need your help! I’ve worked for the same agency for six years, starting as a 180 trainee recruiter and am now one of the top billers. I’ve gone through all the company training, developed my client base from scratch, built very strong client relationships and had a very successful few years, smashing my targets each year. I earned £80k last year (and I am only 26!) but I’m not happy, and the money no longer motivates me.

More recently, I feel like the leadership team have changed their stance towards all employees as the business has grown. Previously the business had that intimate agency feel; we were praised and rewarded for our hard work, but now, you can be a top biller and still get micromanaged. Your KPIs are used to beat you.

Being a top performer, you hope that your company rewards you with not only great benefits but also trust and respect. Recently, I have felt like I no longer get this. The business has also remained extremely old-fashioned while most people’s working lives have gone through a huge shift post-Covid, with home working, flexible working and other perks.

But at my company, certain members of the team are allowed to work from home to catch up on admin, but others aren’t, with management preaching about treating everyone equally. My workplace has this ‘alpha male’ feel and the men seem to get a lot more respect than the women, or even a free-pass to do as they wish…

All of this is really starting to get me down; it’s all-consuming and I’m constantly thinking about work… I can’t switch off. I don’t want to walk away from something so good, but I’ve got a bad feeling in my gut about this. Can you advise?


Recruitment Mum says:

First of all, congratulations on your incredible achievements in spite of the turbulent times we have recently been through; it sounds like your consistency and tenacity have paid off.

It can often be the true insight into a culture when times are tough, and it sounds like your employer is of a fixed mindset in terms of what they think has created their success. There’s a fear to change and adapt to the new way of hybrid, especially when there is obvious disparity among how people are treated. A hybrid possibility should be available equitably, not just for one group of people

With regards to the ‘alpha male’ culture, if you find yourself in a minority group it is important to gain a confidante internally. Do you have an external HR consultant or L&D practitioner you can consult or confide in about your concerns around their lack of inclusivity?

It sounds like your employer is of a fixed mindset in terms of what they think has created their success”

It is champions like you who are the warriors for other minority groups: stealthily educate some of the ‘alpha males’ who seem embarrassed by your employer so you gain their support and kill their misogyny with positive change and education.

With regard to the micromanagement and KPIs, the next time you sit down to have a review or update, ask them for their expectations of your activity and revenue. Then suggest that they also then understand what your expectations are of them.

This will hopefully create a more equitable relationship once again where you feel less the subordinate and more like a vital part of their future.

Good luck and keep your strength!

Need a dilemma answering? Put ‘Recruitment Mum’ in the subject line and send your workplace problem in confidence to: [email protected]

Lysha Holmes of QUI Recruitment is Recruiter's Recruitment Mum

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