When you are working with people, (if you care about them) stress is never too far away.

In the recruitment industry, the fact that people’s livelihoods hang in the balance is not something to be taken lightly. Candidates are not pieces of meat to be traded. I am always aware that behind every candidate are loved ones, who may well depend on them.

That, for me, puts a weight of expectation on my shoulders.

I don’t want to let them down.

Of course, I also want to do the best possible job for my clients. After all, they are the ones paying the bills. Only one candidate can get each job, but if I can find them the most suitable candidate possible (who will stay for years and years), then I will have done my job.

I wouldn’t be able to do it without my Alpacas.

You see, our offices are located in a barn conversion on a smallholding in the beautiful countryside just outside Cambridge. We keep various animals around the place, but probably the most important members of the wider “team” are our Alpacas.

For me, when the stress mounts, paying the Alpacas a visit always puts things in perspective. Great recruitment is about making great decisions, but no one makes great decisions when stress rears its head. Taking a stroll outside to say hello to my boys helps me to get my head together and reset my focus.

When you are working in a people business, being able to diffuse stress is crucial if you are to spare your partners from its effects. If a programmer gets stressed their code will not mind. If a recruiter gets stressed, then the knock-on effects on the people around them can be significant. Stress can manifest itself at the most inopportune moments.

For any people business, having a release value for stress is crucial. It might be an open-door policy where people can talk to their MD at any time. It might be an external therapist who visits on a regular basis to chat to whomever feels like it. Maybe it is a weekly table tennis tournament or quiz night. Anything that works for your people.

Having other people depending on you is a strain (if you take it seriously). Owners of recruitment firms owe it to their people to allow them every opportunity to escape from the pressures every now and again. Whenever I meet a new client, I make sure that they understand how important this cultural aspect is to my business. No one wants to be working with someone who is constantly on edge. Everyone needs a release.

For me, it is my Alpacas. After a (brief) visit to them, I feel refreshed and ready to go again.

My candidates and clients owe them a lot.

When you are working in a people business, being able to diffuse stress is crucial.


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