I want to share a story, a real story, a human interest story, that reminded me of the opportunity we have to change lives. It is a beautiful thing when you know the work you do genuinely makes a difference. The riches and rewards are great too, but there is nothing more satisfying that knowing you have made the life of a fellow human better than it was before you entered their life.

There are a number of clients out there who are willing and able to sponsor visas. I think this gives those clients an important advantage in the battle for talent, and that’s a subject for another blog. The advantage to me as a recruiter is I am able to speak with candidates who require visa assistance about those opportunities. I am able to look further afield too, even internationally, which brings me to my story. I don’t know if I necessarily need to anonymise everything, both client and candidate, but I will anyway. Though let me assure you, this is a true story and an experience that touched me.

I spoke to an excellent candidate about an opportunity with my client. That candidate was not interested in a move at that time. However, they were able to recommend a friend back in their homeland of South Africa. The initial chat with the recommended candidate went very well – great personality, genuine reasons for relocating, and had plenty of relevant experience. The CV was submitted and the process followed.

It is a little different when you are dealing with such a life change. Full disclosure is always important in helping candidates prepare for interviews and make decisions. Candidates who are relocating have additional needs. You need to sell not just the company, but the local area too and everything that comes with that – accommodation, culture, activities, places to visit, our famously changeable weather, etc. I was fortunate that I know the client very well and was able to flesh out the opportunity and the business – make it real.  The offer was made and the candidate gladly accepted. Hurrah!

My client is experienced in sponsoring visas and supporting relocating candidates. This was invaluable and reassured the candidate of a smooth process. The post offer and onboarding stage is as every bit as important as the selection process and is often overlooked, and that’s another subject worthy of a blog! The candidate did their bit and the client helped them step by step. It all went as planned.

The candidate was coming from South Africa which is being particularly hard hit by Covid. There has been rioting and general unrest in the country too. The South Africans are having a tough time at the moment, which is one of the reasons I was so happy to help the candidate secure a new role in this country. Those of us in the UK who live relatively comfortable lives sometimes forget how lucky we are, then something in the news reminds us.

I finally got the message I hoped for, the candidate arrived safe and sound and was serving their 10 long days in hotel quarantine. It was the message that melted my heart (and I re-read it more times that I will admit to). They professed their love for Scotland, based on what could be seen from their hotel window, and a desire to explore just as soon as they were allowed to. Scotland is a beautiful country, and Edinburgh a fabulous and historic city. Thankfully, the candidate already has friends in Edinburgh to help them in their exploration.

I was bubbling with excitement for them and suggested some (Festival related) activities as a great introduction to the Edinburgh and Scotland. The joy of discovery, the excitement and challenge of a whole new chapter, it reminded me just how much we can change the lives of the people we speak to. It is huge, and humbling.

Relationships in recruitment, in fact many business relationships, can be very transactional. It is sadly too easy to focus on targets and results and forget that there are real people, real stories, in every part of the work we do. I know from experience that good recruiters never lose sight of this. I hope I never do. The opportunity to be a true recruitment partner for your clients, and change the lives of your candidates, is a duty and privilege.

Sometimes we help someone climb the ladder or simply help someone pay the bills as they move from one assignment to the next. And sometimes there’s a special story that stays with you.

Never forget, they are all important.

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