Oh hello to you today. As you may have noticed I am a woman and today is International Womens Day, with the theme of breaking the bias. And today I’d like to share a personal story with you. A story which, for a while, made me feel (to be honest), pretty work ashamed.
I was referred to a business looking to hire a Director. Referred by someone I had worked with previously. Someone who vouched for my capabilities to deliver a campaign at this level. Someone who had trusted me with their brand. Someone who I had delivered for before - on multiple occasions. A pretty good indication of my measure.
But - like with all new clients (yes - even still now) - I had the nerves when we met. I have terrible imposter syndrome (if you didn’t already know!!).
So, we had a couple of meetings and we got on really well. We shared quite a lot of similarities and experiences, and I could really relate to lots of things this owner manager was going through, allbeit he was about 15 years further along his journey than me! Went deep dived through his role. We really got into the nitty gritty. We challenged elements. We pulled it apart and built it back up. We were on the same page and I was excited about the work we were doing so far. He was chatting to another recruiter too and wanted to work with one exclusively, which I wholeheartedly support.
So at the end of our third meeting, I asked him outright if he had any reservations about working with me on this hire. He looked a bit uncomfortable so I gave him the safe space indication, and he confirmed that the other recruiter was a guy, older than me, and working for a big flashy London agency. Something he thought would give him better reach to recruit for his local level director role.
And it was at the first two points, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to pull this one back…. I’d taken time to understand his business, his culture, his pain points, his aspirations, his needs (known and uncovered through in depth discussion and suggestion)… but I was never going to be an older man… We talked and I tried to overcome those worries, but in that moment, my confidence was knocked…. I genuinely try not to think of myself at a disadvantage because I’m of the female variety of human, but maybe sometimes that’s wrong…maybe sometimes people do have an unconscious bias about my capabilities because of that…
I was pretty crushed. The team asked how the meeting had gone and I glossed over it. I was ashamed at that point. Ashamed I hadn’t done enough to give that client confidence I could find him “the one”, to trust me to work with him, to know that I would give everything to get that job done and done right.
It’s taken me a while to want to write about this, but it seems pretty appropriate today…. Whilst I have imposter syndrome, I also hold myself to the highest standards and expectations and to not win that piece of business was really heart breaking for me. I dwelled on it. I over analysed it. I asked myself again and again what I could have done better. I questioned myself. I even asked him!
So - Yes I am a woman. Yes I am still (reasonably!!) young. Yes I am a mum. Yes I can be a bit sweary. Yes I wear jeans for work. Yes I have my nose pierced.
But do you know what, if I work with you, you can BET that I won’t rest until I find you “the one”. I will represent your brand, I will uncover people for you who don’t even know about your vacancy, who will do wonders for your business. I will find that unicorn for you; blood, sweat and tears!
I’ve spoken to the client since and it turns out that he had a terrible experience with “older guy recruiter from big flashy London agency”. And I’ve made peace with myself on it. You can’t win them all…..
So to all the wonderful women I know, love and respect - you are incredible. You are forces of nature. You are worthy. You are equal. You make the world a great place. You should be proud of who you are and what you achieve daily, whatever that may be, if you’re giving it all you have. 🙌💪🙅🏻♀️💃🌟🥂