Beating the Recruitment Machines…

Tales from the Frontline of Recruitment – by Russell Hood, Recruitment Manager

A few days ago I was telling my colleague Catherine about some of the rich diversity of human nature at work that I’ve experienced and she suggested I share them with a wider audience. Hopefully these occasional little stories will raise a wry smile, and possibly a flicker of recognition…….

Throughout my rather long career I have been lucky enough to work with colleagues, clients and candidates from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life and am delighted that even today, I can still be surprised.

Take the case of Susan for example (not her real name to save any blushes), who like many Australians, was using London as a base for temporary work to finance
trips around Europe. Susan at the time was a Part-Qualified Accountant taking a
couple of years off before returning to Sydney to really forge ahead in her
career. She accepted an assignment at a well-known vocational training
organisation near Farringdon and everything seemed to be running smoothly until
I received a phone call from her on the Friday afternoon of her second week.
Sounding quite worn down and even a little emotional, she said that she did not
feel she could continue with the assignment, not because of the work, which she
was enjoying, or the people, who were lovely, but because the travelling was
proving too much for her. Her journey into work was fine, taking about twenty
minutes, but it was the journey home which was taking up to two hours that was
the problem!

I was utterly baffled – anyone who has ever worked in London knows that journey times are pretty much the same to and from work, even allowing for the inevitable
delays. Susan was on the verge of tears saying that she was just too exhausted
and would be leaving the assignment at the end of work that day and had to hang
up as she had a few things to finish.

My immediate reaction was to call her boss and reiterate our conversation, which left him as confused as me. Promising to call me back, he went off to find Susan to get to the bottom of this conundrum.

Ten minutes later he was back on the phone hardly able to speak for laughing. Everything was sorted and Susan would be staying with them for the duration. It transpired that this young lady who had travelled round the world, back-packing through Thailand and much of the Far East, and partying in most of the European
capitals, had been stumped by the London Underground. Her morning journey was
indeed around twenty minutes as she got on the tube at Tower Hill, and off
again at Farringdon. However her homeward journey took much longer because she
was using the Circle Line, and believed it only went in one direction…….