Should I not give a flying f@#k or is it a pure lack of professionalism?

I flew in to Melbourne on the 1st of August to work in the Aptus Melbourne office for three weeks. Whilst here, one of my objectives was to help recruit two staff members. A young recruiter introduced to us by a reputable recruitment to recruitment consultant (rec2rec)—yes, I do use recruiters to help us hire recruiters. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t, right?—cancelled a first round interview with us on Wednesday; at the last minute we were told this person can’t get away from the work environment as something came up. After a few days, I decided I’d offer to meet this young recruiter on Sunday, in my spare time. I know, I know, you’re saying ‘Wow, you’re so dedicated Tom’, or is it just pure silliness on my part? The meeting was set for 12pm on Sunday, only five minutes from where this person lived.

I dare say this person and the representing rec2rec were taken aback by my commitment—the MD of a recruitment agency giving up three hours (the drive being one hour each way) of his Sunday, the last full day of his time in Melbourne before returning to the UK office. It may seem crazy, but when you need good staff why not make the time outside of business hours?

I’d asked for the young recruiter’s phone number so I could message or call prior to commencing my drive into the city, to ensure my time on my last day in Melbourne would be wisely spent. This is normal practice before any meeting surely? Our time is critical, right?

The meeting was set to commence at midday on Sunday; at 10.30am I thought I’d send a message, as I needed to be on the road by 11am at the latest if I was to arrive in the city at 12pm. At 11am I still hadn’t heard so I thought I’d give this person the benefit of the doubt by setting off in any case. At 11.30am I still hadn’t heard, so I tried calling, but with no answer. At this point I thought it best to leave a voicemail, stating, as I’ve not heard back, I presume it’s pointless driving any further. This person however, decided not to return my calls or text messages prior to the meeting, instead, messaged the rec2rec at 12pm. Apparently this person was in a fitness class, so didn’t receive our calls or messages until 12pm.

So now you’re reading this probably wondering why on earth am I wasting even more time on this issue, which is a good point! I’m on my flight back to lovely Devon in the south-west of England, reading my most recent book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F@ck, and here I am giving a f@ck about this. The irony! It’s going to be 20deg and sunny when I land, I’m being picked up by my gorgeous girlfriend and my boys will be waiting to see me—surely that’s a much better train of thought than a young recruiter wasting my time. ‘Move on’ you say, well I have, however, the reason I’m telling you this is because I’m keen to explore the consensus on this topic. I’m not just asking recruiters, I’m asking in general employment terms, is this acceptable?

Am I being too harsh on this young person? Is it unreasonable to presume they just couldn’t be bothered to be there on a sunny Sunday? Is it a trait of a young person, or a trait of that generation which I need to accept and work with, or is it right of me to decide it’s not the level of courtesy or professionalism we come to expect in potential employees?

I know that when I was a young guy in engineering, and even when I started out in recruitment, I was a little loose, made some silly judgments, however, if I’d organised an important meeting with a potential employer I’d have been there, especially on a Sunday.

My concern when dealing with potential staff members is, if they act in this way with me, their future Managing Director, a leader of the industry in which they are so keen to further their career, are they likely to do this with their clients, candidates and colleagues? I dare say it’s an indication we are in that type of employment market again where due to a shortage of skills, employees have the power so courtesy to employers goes out the window. What do you think? Stand firm, or practice the art of not giving a f@#k?

I would like to state for the record, while it was a disappointing middle of my last day in Melbourne for a while, it didn’t spoil what was a great trip. A trip that has inspired me to do so much, and made me realise how much of a pleasure our staff are to work with.Oh, and shortly after I left the Voice Mail for the young recruiter I called my mum, stating I’d pick her and Dad up in 40 mins to go for lunch. We went to The Butchers Daughter in Seville — a great little cafe. Time very well spent.

The book I mention is a read I highly recommend. Very funny, philosophical, and clever. Its basic message is to choose carefully the things we decide to give a f@#k about, otherwise we spend too much time and energy caring about trivial things rather than letting go, and enjoying life. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F@#k is written by Mark Manson, a blogger with an admirable way of writing. Give it a go.