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A father of thousands: Recruitment & parenting

For me, the happy event of becoming a Dad occurred almost 2 years ago now. Fatherhood has taken me on the most amazing journey and I wouldn’t swap it for anything. It is a unique experience, hard and rewarding at the same time, and it is the most challenging and wonderful thing I have ever done –  but it’s not the first time I embarked on a journey into parenthood…

I have four amazing kids, a gorgeous wife and it is the best job I have ever, or will ever have.

Mark Warren

However, since starting Younity with my three co-parents, I feel like I’ve become a Dad all over again, except this time, I’m parenting hundreds, maybe even thousands!

I feel like I have entered the “parenthood” stage of my career. You know the one where it simply isn’t all about you anymore? When you lift your head up from your own desk and realise that the other desks all around you matter? Where you get immense pride from seeing others succeed, standing on the side-lines kicking every ball with them and sharing the celebrations? Yes, that stage. I’m right in the thick of it. It’s scary – and it’s lovely!

Recruitment is a business where, as a consultant, you run your corner of the world and, along with a candidate management partner, have almost full responsibility for that corner’s results. With that responsibility comes a wee bit of territoriality, a dash of ego (only a dash, promise) and the odd moment of “cough” selfishness “cough.” All good recruiters have varying degrees of these. If they don’t admit it, I’d guarantee that they have all of the above, but with less self-awareness! It’s all in the application though. These traits, whilst on paper are not attractive; if used well and without being a d##k head, are completely acceptable and can help you succeed in what is a bloody hard job.

Recruitment plays to my strengths as a person, but it also makes use of some of the aspects of my personality that I’m less proud of. Some may see that as a negative – it isn’t. Making use of your less admirable traits in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone, and actually gets a job done well, cannot be a bad thing, surely? It takes a bit of time to learn how to use said “less admirable traits”, but that’s the fun bit!

I found the whole “for the good of the group, not the individual” thing surprisingly easy. Surprising because I’d come from 17 years of running my own corner. It felt good to work for the common good, and after learning to work together with other recruiters rather than ring fencing your clients, I found it hugely beneficial and rewarding to achieve stuff together. I get to manage people, something I’d avoided my whole career, and I’ve actually found that I like it! Rather than the traditional management by numbers and targets only, I decided to get to know, and muck in with, the people I’m responsible for – and I found out that I’m good at tailoring my style to their needs. I’m a coach and a counsellor, not a sergeant major and a spreadsheet populator. Admittedly I need to work on getting some better structure as we grow, but I’m aware of that, and anyway this is meant to be a positive blog, telling you good folk how great and perfect I am…yeah, right!

And this is the key point. Even though I’m not the best Dad in the world. I’m not perfect. And sometimes, to be honest, I can be a bit crap. But I do my best, and I do it with a passion that makes me give it my everything. And this is what I have found I am giving to my new role with Younity. I’ve done well in recruitment over the years, but I never professed to know it all, just like I don’t profess to be the world’s best Dad. But, by being aware of my faults/weaknesses, I have turned them into a strength, and this is the first step to improvement.

I know that I have met some Dads on the playground, at the school football games, when picking up from playdates, who think they know it all, and yet, they’re selfish, on the phone ignoring the game, acting like an alpha dog who needs to pee on your leg when you turn up to pick your kid up. And, yeah, I’ve met some senior, pretty successful recruiters, who share these traits and behaviours. Being a truly great Dad, or recruiter I have discovered, means not taking these traits too far. Learning to reign in the territorial, selfish ego and listen to what your kid or your client is telling you.

These traits will hinder you from engaging, learning and growing. They have a place, but should be moderated and used wisely. It’s seldom that a good recruiter is good because of their abilities alone. Most good recruiters are merely the front person of a team of candidate managers, payroll, admin and office management to name but a few. Just like being a good Dad is not a solo adventure – you need a team, a great team that backs you up, helps you out, and is there through the challenges. Knowing this, as a Dad and as a recruiter, I hope I’ve always embraced this, I believe I have, and to be honest, it’s been the biggest help and lesson, as I became a Dad…again.

P.S. Look at me, writing a blog! This is a “step” in itself.

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