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Keep looking over your shoulder my friend...

For much of the last year we have all been tracking the recession, trying to second guess where the bounce is going to be.  The recruitment industry plunged off the cliff fairly early on.  In my own business permanent placements almost stopped, partly supplemented by an increase in interim assignments and my personally delivered consultancy but it remains tough and I am working harder than ever to deliver the services my clients want rather than the ones I think they want.  It means I am talking to more people and having more open conversations as at last my potential clients are seeing me as more than just recruitment. However, I’ve found myself making comparisons with this time last year, this time the year before etc.etc.  I need to move on, stop looking back and look forward but that iseasier said than done and I don’t think I am alone in that.

I say this as I recently received some advice from someone that thinks he knows me.  He half knows me, whilst we have met neither of us remember it.  He recently wrote to me reassuring me that he knows my car (yes I have a car! Green update soon!) and where I live.  He wrote to me at home.

If you are thinking stalker then you could well be right.  For arguments sake lets call him Gary.  That suggests his name isn’t Gary doesn’t it.  Not quite true his name is Gary but let’s pretend it isn’t.

Anyway his advice to me was “Keep looking over your shoulder friend...” which got me thinking.on several levels.  Clearly the first was great Gary has written to me, he shouldn’t have, complete with sinister label on the envelope to add that certain something.  Seriously Gary if you are reading this (and I know that you are) you shouldn’t have.  The letter whilst constituting a direct threat bothers me less.  The threat isn’t new just the means of communication.  No what bothers me is that Gary has decided to follow me, is it just me or is that just ever so slightly weird?

Back on track to how his advice impacts my business.  As I was saying I look backwards and find it really hard to look forwards.  In my consultancy work I get people to look 3 years ahead, creating a vision of what will be, rather than a retrospective view of past performance.  The recession has shaken things up and maybe, just maybe things won’t be the same again.  Certainly it is my belief, and luckily a number of others, that the recruitment industry won’t be the same as it was and that is both good and bad news for us all.

The good news is that i believe the market will be client driven, that they will demand true consultancy at a senior level and an ethical, clean transaction at the volume end of the market.  It will be bad for some businesses that haven’t moved away from the dump 300 CV’s on a client, don’t tell the candidate the CV has gone etc. etc.

But for us all to succeed we need to stop looking back at what was and work to create a new future for ourselves.  Get more collaborative with each other (other industries seem to manage it why can’t we - another blog, another day) and get more involved with clients.

I’m working on my 2010 business plan (more than happy to share once it's done?!), there are cash-flow challenges and Q1 looks really tough but at least I’m starting clean rather than looking back to what I used to do.  As for Gary?  This latest letter will i'm sure not be the last and looking out my window now and there is something in the bushes... probably just a cat but you never know...

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martin