I was on the road a lot last week, and I’d started to feel more familiar with the inside of an Uber than with my own living room! It got me thinking about all the ways in which recruiters and taxi drivers are alike…
1. We meet people from all walks of life
Every day is different, and you never know who you’ll end up talking to in the course of any given day. Some of the people end up becoming your friends, and some you hope you’ll never see again! Regardless of how well you like people, however, you must maintain your professionalism throughout. For taxi drivers, no tip or a lost fare might result from a rude encounter, but for recruiters it could mean forfeiting an entire assignment.
2. Most clients want the cheapest, fastest option, but they should be more concerned with quality
A relaxed, comfortable ride is more appealing than a white-knuckle trip over pot-holes and through red lights, but many people will still choose the budget cab over the private-hire taxi: as long as it gets them from A to B, they’ll put up with the bumps in the road. Unfortunately, many recruitment firms resemble the budget version. Cost-per-hire and time-to-hire might feature most highly on some hiring managers’ spreadsheets, but providing a high-quality hire and a slick recruitment process should be the aim of all recruiters.
3. We’re both facing competition from emerging technology
The traditional black cab firms struggled when competitors Lyft and Uber crashed onto the scene, and old-school recruitment companies are feeling similar pressure from those who have embraced the latest people analytics, automation and reporting tools. On an individual level, cabbies who have upped their game to provide customised playlists and ratings schemes are favoured over than those still listening to the radio, and recruiters who upskill to stay on top of the latest digital search techniques also fare better than their counterparts who don’t.
4. Customer feedback matters more than ever
Gone are the days when people take a negative experience on the chin and move on; in most cases, they’ll be straight online to leave a bad review of your service. Uber ratings and online tracking systems mean that taxi drivers are more accountable than ever – detours will be clocked and even a whiff of cigarette smoke will send customers fleeing. However, exceptional service merits a great review, and you’d be surprised how many people want to share an excellent experience as well as a negative one. For recruiters, sites like Glassdoor mean they must take their candidates’ experiences very seriously: an employer will be your new best friend if you boost their brand.
5. Not all customers want to form a working relationship, but it’s a better experience for everyone if you do
The configurability of modern recruitment means that hiring managers can have a bespoke service which is 100% tailored to their needs, processes and ideal hire. Similarly, drivers can provide their customers with customised playlists, drinks and a tailored level of service from options such as UberLUX and UberBLACK. However, if clients don’t form a relationship with the recruiter or driver for the duration of their service provision, these bespoke elements become harder to integrate into the experience. No one’s a mind reader, and a simple level of human-to-human conversation and interaction can have an enormous impact on all parties’ satisfaction.
6. Barriers to entry are falling
To become a recruiter nowadays, all you need is a phone and a laptop. For taxi drivers, you only need a driving licence and a road-worthy vehicle to call yourself a professional. While this is good news for consumers who now have more choice than ever, it does leave both industries wide-open to amateurs and negligence. It also means that it becomes harder for the true professionals to be heard among the crowd, which is why customer feedback is so crucial.
7. People think they know us
Stereotypes are rife in both jobs. Ask someone to describe a taxi driver and the likely response will be a strong London or New York accent, male, opinionated and with road rage that’ll make the air turn blue. Recruiters would probably be called ‘sharks’ who’re out to make as much money for themselves as possible, and who don’t have anyone’s best interests but their own at heart. Neither stereotype is fair, and there probably hasn’t been a character that fits either of these personas since about 1980!
We’re all more similar than we are different, but after my long week of travelling I definitely have a new-found affinity with the drivers among us. It just goes to show that we should never judge a book by its cover, and that an open mind can allow us to recognise the connections in the most unlikely of places. If you’ve recognised any familiar qualities in yourself, why not put them to good use? Apply now to join us in the shark pen… Just kidding, we’re all teddy bears really!