Like many people of my generation, I was faced with a very difficult choice when booting up my copy of Pokémon Red for the first time. On a console which more closely resembled a brick (in terms of both weight and shape) than consoles of today’s standards, eight-year-old Ryan was faced with a problem. Which Pokémon to take on my adventure, Charmander, Squirtle or Bulbasaur? This may seem like a trivial decision to the uninitiated, but to a ’90s kid who loved the TV show, I wanted to make the right decision.
I asked myself a lot of questions, and asked a lot of questions of said Pokémon. What did I want from the Pokémon? What did I want it to be able to do? What skills did I expect from it? Did I feel confident that it could get me through the adventure? And ultimately, did I like it?
“This is all well and good but what does a story about your nerdy, overly analytical child self, playing Pokémon have to do with my job search?” I hear you ask.
Well let’s make a ‘straw grasping’ link. You are Ash Ketchum (lucky you!), your job search is the adventure and your recruiter is the trusty Pokémon you can rely on to get you through the journey.
You need to be asking all of the same questions I asked of my Pokémon when you are choosing which recruiter to partner with for your job search. What do you expect of your recruiter? Which doors do you want them to be able to open for you? What skills do you expect from them? Do you feel confident that they can actually help you reach your end goal? And most importantly (in my opinion), do you like them? Be critical of your recruiter, challenge them and get to know them before you decide which one you would like representing you.
‘90s Ryan spent hours (well more like 30 minutes – which is still pretty long for a kid), deliberating which fictional monster my fictional character should choose in a fictional adventure that only takes 20-30 hours to complete, which ultimately had no significant impact on my real life. When looking for a new job, it is not fiction, there is no reset button and your decisions count.
Don’t just choose the first recruiter you stumble upon, ask questions, do your research and pick the one you want to share your journey with. Good luck!
….and in case you were wondering, I chose Squirtle.
*Disclaimer* In real life you have an option of not using a recruiter at all, just like I’m sure Ash could have abstained from choosing a Pokémon and just wandered around punching Pokémon in the face rather than battling them – but that’s not a pleasant image in my opinion.