A career in recruitment can be both exciting and challenging, affording individuals the opportunity to cultivate and develop a broad range of interpersonal skills, all the while providing an incentive for individuals to elevate their job performance and show it in the numbers. However, it is not always smooth sailing. A run in with a demanding client or an unreliable candidate could just as easily make recruiters want to pull their hair out before ever attempting to set up another interview. We get the low down of what it’s truly like to work in recruitment from three Search consultants – a divisional manager, an experienced consultant, and a newly promoted consultant.
It can be a bumpy ride
One mistake that many recruitment trainees make is that they expect instant results. But recruitment is an industry that requires resilience, determination and a whole lot of patience. Rachel Hume, who was recently promoted from trainee to Consultant at the Search branch in Leeds, believes that patience is an art that every trainee consultant should learn to master with ease. “The hardest part of my experience was learning to have patience before the results started pouring in. Even now I still have to make a conscious effort to trust my manager’s scope of the bigger picture, as I still have a tendency to only focus on small results,” she says.
But recruitment doesn’t only present challenges for the newbies. Even seasoned consultants experience their fair share of difficult days, candidates and clients. Jade Salter, Industrial Division Recruitment Consultant at Search, agrees that on many occasions, consultants have to navigate through some pretty rough waters, saying, “Every recruitment agent is bound to encounter an obstacle at some point or another in their career, whether it be in the form of rogue agencies that give both clients and candidates a bad impression of consultants who try hard to do a good job, or people in general, who can sometimes be temperamental and unpredictable.”
James Macbeth, Search Divisional Manager, observes that although many first-time recruitment consultants may show promise, they often do not have the resilience to soldier on through the initial difficulties they may encounter within the role. “There seems to be a great deal of turnover in the recruitment industry, and it is a shame that a lot of talent is lost when individuals have an unpleasant experience in their first recruitment role,” he laments. “I also think a lot of people go wrong when they do not have a plan of how they will build a desk, and just chase fees and filling jobs, as opposed to building a network and gaining repeat business by being a specialist in their field.”
Finding your groove in the industry
Jumping into murky waters is never ideal, and James asserts that people who aspire to be recruitment consultants should do their research. “It is critical to get the right fit with the company you join, the market (temp, perm, mixed) that you work in, and that you have a good mentor to guide you through the early days,” he says. Rachel adds, “Take all the advice that you can get. Listen to what other people are doing around you, ask questions, and above all, be honest with candidates and clients because it will strengthen your relationship with them, even when you have to break negative news to them.”
It is also important for consultants to find ways in which they can cope with the stresses and curve balls that often present themselves in the recruitment industry. “I think in any stressful job it is necessary to identify priorities and deal with the highest priority tasks first. If there is a difficult conversation to be had, tackle it immediately, otherwise you will spend the whole day thinking about it,” advises James. Jade agrees, saying, “Mark Twain once said ‘Eat the frog’, and this is something that I apply regularly in my job, meaning that when I have an unpleasant task to complete (such as a candidate letting me down, leaving me with the obligation to inform the client) then I will ‘Eat the frog’, and get it done.”
From a managerial perspective, James believes that time management should walk hand in hand with open communication in order to effectively streamline any tasks that a recruitment consultant may need to undertake on any given day. “You need to be able to not only manage your time, but also manage people’s expectations. I do this by giving people a time frame of when I expect feedback on a job or task so that they know when I will be in touch. This saves time in contacts chasing outcomes, and creates a clear communication on a project, thus providing a better service to candidates and clients.”
The juice is worth the squeeze
So we’ve noted the hurdles that a consultant might encounter in their quest to excel in their career. This may leave you wondering if there are any rewards to be gained from such a job that demands a great deal of your time, energy and patience. The good news is that there most certainly is! Not only do recruitment consultants have a shot at enjoying a fairly rewarding career progression, but they also have the added bonus of cultivating long-lasting relationships with a broad range of individuals.
“For me personally, the most rewarding experience is the relationships I have built with candidates and clients. I love that they stay in touch even when they have contracts and no longer need me,” says Jade. “Placing a candidate is certainly the most rewarding experience in my recruitment career so far, particularly when I get to know a candidate and understand what they want next, thus enabling me to successfully deliver results,” agrees Rachel. “The fact that I have had candidates who referred other potential candidates to me simply because they trusted me as a recruiter, is especially gratifying,” says Jade.
James is testament to the benefits of a quick career progression that a role in recruitment has to offer, saying, “Seeing my team grow over the past 18 months to the biggest temp billing team on site, after single-handedly setting up a new division from scratch, has been truly rewarding.” Rachel notes her own swift and smooth career progression, saying, “I have started to see the positive results in figures. I have also recently been promoted from trainee to consultant, and this has truly elevated my confidence in my ability to thrive in the recruitment industry.”
In conclusion, the recruitment industry, although challenging, can also be tremendously rewarding if you are willing to put in the effort, time and patience.
Do you have what it takes?
Are you an experienced recruitment consultant looking for your next role within the industry? Search Consultancy is a nationally-acclaimed recruitment agency that offers a wide range of jobs from a variety of specialist industry sectors. If you feel you would be an ideal addition to our team, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone on 0141 272 7777, or by email on [email protected]
About our contributors
James Macbeth is currently a Divisional Manager at Search Consultancy. After joining Search in 2014, he succeeded in building an entire Industrial and Driving divisions recruitment team from scratch in Leeds. He maintains that his greatest success within the industry is the long-term business relationships that he has been able to secure with his team, clients and candidates.
After working in recruitment for over ten years, Jade Salter joined Search in January, 2015. Her role involves supplying first-class service to both candidates and clients alike. “Many recruiters forget that the candidates are the people who put our bread and butter on the table, therefore I do right by all candidates and find that in return they do right by me, which ensures I have a better quality of candidate,” she says.
Rachel Hume is a new addition to the Industrial, Logistics & Driving division at Search Consultancy. After just one month within the company, Rachel was recently promoted from trainee to recruitment consultant, where she hopes to see her career continue to grow and flourish