A graduate guide to working in recruitment
In this post, Amanda Weight discusses a range of topics to assist graduates looking to begin a career in the recruitment industry. Includes a discussion of skills, challenges and rewards.
A Graduate’s Guide to Working in Recruitment
Many graduates may dismiss a career in the recruitment industry merely because you don’t strictly need a degree to enter the profession. This may mean many graduates are ignoring a field of employment where they could thrive, both financially and professionally. The UK recruitment industry is worth a massive £26 billion, so the idea of forging a career in recruitment is not to be scoffed at. Recruitment is a highly rewarding profession offering many different avenues of progression. In this blog post, I outline exactly how you could benefit from a career in recruitment following the completion of your degree course.
What skills and traits are needed to succeed in the recruitment industry?
The majority of people entering the recruitment industry will train to work as a consultant. A recruitment consultant is a varied role requiring several skills and personality traits in order to succeed. You are likely to succeed in this role if you can demonstrate determination, an entrepreneurial outlook, communication skills and the ability to research and then analyse data concerning your performance.
When you work as a recruitment consultant, your day will be packed out with tasks that are both candidate and client focused. For instance, when you begin to discover new opportunities for your ‘pipeline’, you will have to research likely candidate and client opportunities using many different platforms and techniques. You will need to put on your analytical hat to ensure you are concentrating on lead-sources that are likely to be interested in your services.
If you lack these essential skills, it’s likely you will not succeed in the recruitment industry. On the other hand, if you possess these skills or if you are able to procure these skills, your career in recruitment will flourish.
Medium-to-large sized recruitment companies will employ New Business Development professionals to keep your pipeline full each week. However, this is not always the case, so it’s best to expect that your prospecting skills will come into play at some point in time or another. Touting for business is purely a client-focused task. You will be greeted with many ‘no thanks’ replies before you finally find clients who are interested in your services. This is why it’s important to possess determination and the ability to accept rejection without caving in to pressure.
Once you have located new business, the role will then shift to finding candidates to fill those roles. Again, larger recruitment outfits will employ teams of people to fulfil this role. These people are often known as ‘Candidate Resourcers’. This means the various jobs traditionally undertaken by the same consultant are compartmentalised across different teams of people. If you are tasked with finding candidates, you will need to learn about different platforms for attracting suitable candidates. This will include getting to know the job boards, social media channels and different newspapers or trade-specific publications where you can advertise job openings on behalf of clients.
Once you’ve located suitable candidates, you will then be tasked with screening suitable candidates to move onto the next stage in the process. You may be able to screen many candidates out by sifting through their CVs. Once you’ve located highly suitable candidates from their CVs, you will then be able to interview candidates in person or over the telephone so you can then make a final shortlist to send over to your client.
During interviewing, you will need to demonstrate excellent communication and interpersonal skills. You will also need to apply good time management skills to ensure this process does not take longer than is deemed necessary. If you get this process right, it’s likely the client will choose to hire one of these candidates you manage to shortlist. This is highly satisfying and this will also mean you are generating revenue for your employer.
Before your client makes a hiring decision, you will need to manage the interview feedback process. This is when you get interview feedback from both the client and the candidate. If this process is positive, you will then need to manage the process where an offer of employment is presented to the candidate. This may also include salary negotiation and to discuss issues such as contractual notice periods. You will act as a ‘go between’ for both candidate and client. You will also be called on to offer ad hoc consultancy and advice throughout this concluding phase of the recruitment process.
At the conclusion of a successful hiring decision, you will need to demonstrate composure and patience. If you make a mistake that results in the hiring decision being delayed or terminated, all of your hard work up to this point will be for nothing.
What challenges will you face in the recruitment industry?
Whilst the recruitment industry is highly rewarding, it can also be challenging at times. For instance, you will likely carry a heavy workload from the get go. Transitioning from student to full-time recruitment consultant can be very abrupt. You may wish to undertake an internship to get to know the industry and discover whether working as a recruitment consultant truly is for you or not. You will be expected to juggle multiple assignments and meet tight deadlines. You will also be expected to keep in regular contact with both clients and candidates that are under your management.
During your studies at University, it’s likely you have become accustomed to studying many different subjects at the same time. When you begin to work as a recruitment consultant, you can call upon this experience to give your career the best possible start. The key is to develop confidence and to have belief in your ability to succeed in this rewarding industry and profession.
Another challenge is the sheer length of time it takes to locate clients and then successfully fill clients’ job openings. During this time, you will likely experience setbacks and hurdles that you must overcome, both from a practical and psychological standpoint.
If you lack determination, it’s highly likely that a career in recruitment is not for you. It’s essential to remain undeterred when you experience setback. This is particularly the case when you have invested many hours into a potential hire and the decision ultimately does not go in your favour. Sometime, your best efforts will not be good enough, and you need to process this in ways that don’t impact your overall performance. When you are not successful, you need to learn from the experience by analysing why you were not successful and determine what you could have done differently to increase the chances of success.
What rewards can you expect from recruitment?
If you are willing to work hard, the rewards you can expect from working in recruitment are many. If you are successful at placing candidates, you should expect to earn a fairly decent amount of money in commission. If you are consistent with meeting your targets, you should expect to earn as much as £44,000 per annum within the first few years of working within the industry.
Working in recruitment is also highly rewarding in terms of the amount of responsibility you will be given early on. You will be given the opportunity to take real ownership of client accounts from start to completion. This compares favourably to other industries such as law and engineering where you will merely act as an assistant for the first few years of your career. If you value responsibility, you will clearly enjoy a career in recruitment. You should expect lots of hands on responsibilities and a steep learning curve right from the get go.
How can you enter the recruitment industry?
If you wish to begin your career in recruitment, I advise you to think about the specific industries you wish to recruit within. Once you’ve determined the industries you would like to specialise in, you then need to discover the specific recruitment companies that cater for these industries. When considering which industries you would like to recruit for, it’s important to consider those industries that interest you, or to choose industries that relate to your degree you’ve just completed.
Being able to demonstrate this interest will make it easier to convince recruitment companies to invest in your career. You need to demonstrate this enthusiasm when making your initial application. Many recruitment companies will offer dedicated graduate programmes. This will eliminate the need to write a covering letter and customised CV. It’s also vital for you to research recruitment companies’ culture to ensure their culture fits in with your own values and aspirations.
About the author
This post was written by Mandi Tyrell from Amanda Wright Recruitment in Liverpool. Mandi has worked in the recruitment industry for many years and she specialises in the ‘recruitment to recruitment’ sector. Mandi recruits for Recruitment Professionals and HR Personnel at all levels.
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