The Man That (shouldn’t have) Pressed Send

“Success is the result of good judgment, good judgment is the result of experience; Experience is often the result of bad judgment.”
Tony Robbins
We all have moments of bad judgement. We all make mistakes.  My mistake was allowing a set of negative circumstances to affect behaviour and judgement.  Mistakes are part of being human, recognising the mistake is the often less-human part.

“Regrets, I’ve had a few…..”

I reacted to one person’s professional approach and others’ decisions to use that approach to spam and solicit. Regret? You bet.  Irrespective of the benign intent of the retort, (distorted through gross exaggeration and tabloid reporting) the result has been as unpleasant as the almost salacious reporting of the event – my time spent in solicitors offices to commence legal proceedings being the least of the ill-effects.  Whilst a large number of the 49 actual recipients (not 4000) saw it in the more light-hearted vein in which it was intended, and replied to that effect, a handful of the other recipients were obviously offended, and/or took issue with me/my intent. To those people, I apologise again.

“Bit off more than I could chew….”

On the subject of intent, I’ve been asked “why” several times, not least of which a question self-posed. The easy, yet perfectly factual answer is that it was a mistake, a moment of weakness and a misguided, sarcastic retort; a combination of a sleep-less night due to an ill 2-year old daughter, a fruitless online recruitment portal and a raw nerve.

But there is a deeper response to the question “WHY”.

I am immensely passionate about my industry, as I am about business. I am passionate about doing recruitment properly, and seeing the benefit doing so brings to the businesses of this country, and beyond. In a world where people are everything, the search and selection of those people into the businesses that lead this country, drive the economy and fuel our entrepreneurial spirit should be seen as vitally important. It should be taken seriously.

The recruitment industry is an oft maligned sector. Easily clubbed together with Double Glazing Sales/Estate Agent. But the people that do so have never experienced the true Executive Search sector, and certainly don’t understand what a Head-Hunter actually does; nor what it takes to be one (read more on that here).

The Executive Search sector is a $6bn industry (Source: Association of Executive Search Consultants). That doesn’t happen by accident.  Many people see no difference between the CV-shifting ‘High-Street’ agencies, and career experienced Executive Search Consultancies; Head-Hunters. But those that have used such an individual, and recognise the skills they possess to say nothing of the contact bases they offer, certainly do appreciate the difference.

One of the starkest differences is the seriousness Executive Search consultants, Head-Hunters, employ to complement their passion for recruitment – and the seriousness they expect to see to from people they deal with.  “Tyre kickers” whether job seekers or prospective hiring managers become that bane of the Head-Hunters life. In a week that usually extends past 60 hours and frequently past 80, time-wasting (and time-wasters) become toxic.

We demand people take their quest for a new role, or for a new Executive seriously. No other professional advisor is treated with in the same blasé attitude. I’ve spent enough time with solicitors in the last 2 weeks to know that a lazy approach and a non-serious attitude wouldn’t have gotten me anywhere. Yet people will seek to engage a Head-Hunter, get him or her to undertake dozens of hours of work without any commitment to continue or perceived need to remunerate for those services.

“Saw it through without exception…”

The third attribute you will often find in a Head-Hunter, to compliment passion and seriousness is the ability to be bluntly objective. To be straight-talking.

Every B2B sector business claims to be straight-talking; every professional advisor will insist they are candid and forthright, yet many will shy away from saying what they really mean or be fearful of giving bad news, or even just saying “no”.  Yet the bluntness of my approach, my ability to be straight talking is the attribute my clients and contacts voice as being the strongest of my characteristics, along with the size of my network and my ability to spot potential chemistry between two parties.

Straight-Talking leads to controversy. Few people like being told the naked truth, to be given negative responses, but without this level of honesty, the reality we sit within is false. Much as the Queen thinks the world smells of fresh paint [due to someone painting every surface 100 feet in front of her]; likewise the person that is never told that their approach is wrong, their expectations farcical, their spelling dreadful and their interview style atrocious, will continue in blissful ignorance in Emperor’s New Clothes style.

“My Way…..”

Does any of the above excuse my (well reported) actions? No matter how grossly exaggerated? Of course not.

Has it had a profound effect on my life? And a detrimental effect on my family? Like you could not even begin to imagine.

Will it change my principles? Or my effectiveness as a Head-Hunter? Absolutely not. As James Joyce said “A man’s errors are his portals of discovery”.

Anyone who is serious about recruiting, finding high quality talent, or themselves finding a career defining new role will get full attention, they will get honest feedback; like it or not and once engaged, they will get an absolute commitment to deliver, no matter how hard the work involved.

…..But come without realistic expectations, an un-commercial proposition, an unserious approach or without commitment to recruit (or find a realistic, high quality executive role) and whilst you most certainly won’t be told to “**** Off”, you can expect to be told as to the error of your approach, commitment and expectations.

Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Just do not repeat them in the future.”Swami Sivananda

>> Be Serious

8 Comments on “The Man That (shouldn’t have) Pressed Send”

  1. Great blog Gary and the first three paragraphs show your true character. We can all be “in the grip, ” it’s about recognising what your reactions are likely to be and flexing your style to become the opposite.

    If you know your real truth – and you clearly do – you should let it be known and you have!

    2012 knocks with opportunity for you Gary, go create!

  2. Great Blog Gary.

    You’ve had so much undeserved negative press and have been given a very rough deal by a lot of people. It’s nice to hear your story and great to see/hear the real you.

    Love the straight talking style so badly missing in your industry.

    When do we see you on the paper review on Sky? 😉

    Well done.

  3. It’s so true that your industry is crying out for the straight forward, honest talking approach that you bring to it.

    Great to see that a load of overblown media hype finally gives way to the truth and simply serves to strengthen your resolve.

    Looking forward to 2012!

  4. Excellent article.

    I don’t think anyone really believed the tabloid hype, but this is a good insight into what you are really like and what the industry craves so much.

    More quality service, less mindless gossip.

    Welcome back. Onward into 2012.


  5. Good luck Gary! I hope this all blows over and you get back to doing what you’re obviously very passionate about. Hope your daughter is better too!

  6. Pingback: Why Communicate? « @GC_HeadHunter

  7. “My mistake was allowing a set of negative circumstances to affect behaviour and judgement”

    How very true. I lost my first company as a result of poor judgement.

    Best of luck for the future!


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