Why a recruiter will never hire me to grow your business?


The truth is recruiters don’t follow the principles of the world’s most successful leaders (like Richard Branson) who say “hire on personality, as you can always teach skills”. 

Australia’s rigid HR departments and recruitment structures are leaving businesses with paper pushing people that excelled at studying at University and not in life or with people.

Maybe it’s the bitter taste in my mouth for my own personal struggle to get a job over the past 7 years in Sydney, but I just cannot ignore the fact that I and many others with serious skills and ability cannot get jobs in this economy.

In the ten years I have been in Australia I have only had one full time corporate job. That job was because there was no recruiter involvement and had extreme circumstances; I was young, cheap and no other Australian wanted to touch the job.

Yet I have done things many people will never achieve in their career. I created a $6 million dollar international sales account from scratch, project managed international trade shows and travelled globally pitching to C Level management. Conceptualised, managed and hosted 400+ people expos and social events for 700+ people. Managed 70 retail stores and 10 staff to deliver 20% growth each year in a declining retail environment. Project managed iPhone app and website development. I have a more than useful insight into most tech skills and online resources. Done my own PR to be featured on every newspaper in Australia, be live on all morning shows and many radio stations, including front page on MX magazine. I also have a university degree in Economics and I am well respected on LinkedIn, not to brag or anything.

….. and most people will say I am a nice guy and fun to work with. I think!

No matter my successes, experiences and personality; I get the same feedback from most recruiters.

“Sean you have a great resume, with lots of solid experiences. It’s just unique and not what clients want”

The truth is no recruiters will shortlist me. I have no sales experience with a recognised company with specific sales training. I have no degree in PR, event management and communications to attract media attention. I have expertise on how to sell to the biggest consuming market in the world, but retailers in Australia are ignoring it. I have IT experience but cannot code. Being well-connected and a quality networker are not recognised soft skills businesses request. Many corporates are still scared of people who are active on social media; low and behold you have a twitter account.

So what does a driven entrepreneur with corporate experience do in fast paced digitised Society that is placing a higher value on quality relationships do to get a job?

He writes a blog article nobody will read. And…

I ask business owners who are looking for skilled people to change their job specifications from degree driven to life driven credibility.

I beg HR Departments to value personality, soft social skills and unique aspirations in an applicant.

I question our methods of interviewing with tick lists and set questions from the 1990 handbook on recruitment in our evolving society.

.. and I wonder if the recruitment industry is ready for a disruption, to see that people with personality get hired.


For 2 seconds the voice of my parents questioning my decision to go to university to get an economics degree vaguely crosses my mind. I quickly remember how it was the best 4 years of drinking, rugby and women in my life. No regrets there, okay maybe some but they all revolve around women. I unquestionably agree university degree’s are a necessity in corporate jobs, I just don’t think they are everything. University accelerates your learning skills, your life skills and your experiences – its not just a degree (or it wasn’t for me).


How do we hire the best people for the job in our current environment?

As a manager I will be giving careful consideration on how I hire staff in the future. I certainly don’t think I will find the best staff through a recruiter. I look forward to the day a recruiter challenges the traditional way in which we search, interview and review potential candidates for a job, maybe that day will restore my faith in the recruitment industry.

Let me know if you have some cool ideas for me and other managers who need to hire the best staff.

Having started this article in draft format, I was asked into an interview and hired the next day as the new manager for a co working space in North Sydney. It’s not my road to riches but it will certainly push my creative, commercial and relationship skills over the next year. Thankfully the guy hiring is commercial guy who loves the start-up scene, it’s a rare situation again that sees me get lucky with a job.