There is nothing special about France…

Well, of course, that is not true. Plenty about France is special. Like the cheese. And the cafés. And the bread. And a delicious glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Or Duck Confit. Or the way a French woman can twist a scarf into the sexiest thing imaginable.

Yes, plenty of special things in France.

But not in recruitment!

My recruitment career has allowed me the tremendous privilege of running and owning recruitment businesses all over the world. Literally. I am the major shareholder and CEO of a company that operates in 7 countries* right now, and while International CEO of Aquent, was running businesses in 16 countries* from South Korea to Poland and 35 offices in between.

And I made some almighty cockups while doing that, but I also learned at least one golden rule:

Great recruiting is great recruiting. Anywhere!

And the core tactics and competencies that make for a great recruiter are the same everywhere. Even in France.

If I had a dollar for every time I have been told “Oh but that won’t work here Greg!” or “things are different here”. And you don’t even have to cross borders to hear it. Try going to Brisbane with an idea born ‘down south’. Or tell someone in Manchester, “this is how the London office does things“. Everyone believes where they are is ‘different’. Usually harder. Somehow more complex. Special.

And at a certain level of course, they are right. A client visit in Japan follows a different path in terms of manners and protocol to the free flowing style of Australia for example. Yes, every country has its traditions, etiquette, habits and nuances. Sure.

But the core aspect of recruiting? The ability to sell? The crucial need to focus on activity? The importance of prioritising, qualifying, and talent picking? The need to know and deliver on key metrics? Deep understanding of your clients? The need for continuous learning? The ability to manage stress? The ability to plan?  A candidate care ethos? Winning exclusivity? The resilience required to survive?

These are universal. You can trust me on this. I am a recruiter.

And so recently, an innocent comment from one of our senior recruiters in Paris was met with a frosty reply.

I was running a session for our team on how to manage a client meeting. And we got to the point where I was talking about closing and “asking for the business”. And Anne Laure, said. “But Greg, asking for the business is very difficult in France”.

To which I replied, “Asking for the business is hard everywhere Anne Laure, You have to earn the right to ask the question. But in this, there is nothing special about France”.

And so it is.

Well except for the wine, and the food, and…..

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* Firebrand Talent Search has offices in Australia, New Zealand, France, United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
** Aquent, at the time I was running the business outside North America, had offices in all these countries above, as well as China, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Poland, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain and the Czech Republic.

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Views: 323

Tags: global, recruitment, skills

Comment by Jason Alba on October 17, 2012 at 10:48am

I LOVE this.  Makes me think about me as a job seeker, 6 years ago, I thought I was "special" and didn't have to network... because my resume would carry me above and beyond the others I was competing against.  And about any client I ever had with "special" needs who really had the exact same needs as everyone else, but really just wanted to voice their position for 10 minutes so they could be assured I could accomodate their "special" needs.  

I love the end where you say "Asking for the business is hard everywhere..."   Networking is always hard, not just for introverts. This concept can be applied to so many skills/tasks.

Thanks for the great read this morning!

Comment by Greg Savage on October 18, 2012 at 3:05pm

Thanks Jason....

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