Next month, one of my colleagues celebrates his 10 year anniversary in Recruitment. He can hardly believe it has been that long. Like the rest of us at AdMore, Recruitment was his ‘second’ career following graduation and a successful period in the Retail and Hospitality industries.
Without doubt, few people choose to begin their career in our industry – often it is something that is suggested by a recruitment consultant who spots the potential, the spark, of someone who could be a success in this challenging role. Arguably, having previous career and overall life experience is of huge benefit in recruitment, not only because it enables you to empathise with the challenges and choices faced by people in their working lives but because it gives you some credibility with candidates and clients – so important in an industry which has very low barriers to entry. It will be interesting to see what impact the new Recruitment Apprenticeship which has been launched recently will have on encouraging young people to choose recruitment as career however there remains the issue of how we try to change the perception of the industry and position it as a career of choice rather than something that is ‘fallen’ into.
To kick off our little crusade, here’s my Top Eleven Best Things About a Career in Recruitment – other blogs to follow (along with the Top Ten Worst Things About a Career in Recruitment!?).
People often refer to the rollercoaster of recruitment and it really is the best analogy to describe the ups (and downs) we experience on a daily basis. The highs are great – making an offer to a candidate (providing they accept), giving the good news to your client or hiring manager, knowing that you have found a solution for your candidate/client and are a step closer to hitting your target.
2. The people you work with
Ok, I can just imagine the collective eyebrow being raised and of course, we all know people who fit the stereotype of recruitment consultants. However, in my experience, the majority of people I have worked alongside in recruitment have been great fun, bright, hard working and incredibly positive. It is rare to find people who don’t moan about their lot (although many in recruitment have good reason to) but in recruitment, the over-riding characteristics are resilience and the determination to succeed. These are infectious qualities and preferable to other cultures where people complain constantly about their job but do nothing to change it.
3. Variety is the spice of life
Working in recruitment is interesting because, to be any good at it, you need to know your industry sector inside out. You need to understand the job roles that you are hiring, the company culture and the idiosyncrasies of the recruitment process. You have the privilege of hearing about candidates’ career history, family situation and aspirations along with any issues they have faced along their way. Every person you deal with is unique and this provides constant interest (and challenges which I will cover in my follow up blog Top Ten Worst Things about a Career in Recruitment!?).
4. Reward and Recognition
Recruitment can be financially lucrative for the top performers and if you are working for a company who pay acceptable basic salaries in addition to bonus or commission, you can make a healthy living. Senior in-house recruitment positions command significant salaries along with the benefits associated with working for large corporate businesses. Over and above the purely financial recognition, recruitment agencies are generally places where success is celebrated and when you are doing well, your achievements will be well publicised.
5. The challenge
Although the mechanics of recruitment are fundamentally simple (get briefed on vacancy, find candidate that fits, make introduction to client), in reality there is so much more to it than that. People are unpredictable and the real challenge is understanding this, anticipating any changes or pitfalls, planning or reacting accordingly and using your influencing skills to get a positive result. Recruitment tests your inter-personal skills every day and if you love people (warts and all!), this is a great career for you.
6. Stretch yourself
The longer you work in recruitment, the more experience you have of dealing with people at all levels and at all life stages. The challenges outlined above make you question yourself daily and having to use insight and empathy with your candidates and clients means that you develop your own skills accordingly. These inter-personal skills often spill over into your wider personal relationships. There is always something new to learn whether that is about what motivates people or about the new technological developments that are impacting how we source candidates.
7. Problem solving
When a client briefs you on a role, it is because they have a problem which needs a solution. Perhaps there are issues with performance in a role and a new skillset is required. Perhaps the ‘gap’ is holding the growth plans of the business back. Finding a solution to this problem requires more than finding a ‘bum for a seat’. You need to ask the right questions to understand the brief. You need to know what impact the hiring manager and the company culture will have on the search process. You then have to find someone who will have the right mix of skills, experience and behavioural qualities to truly ‘match’ the brief. The search process can be like an intricate jigsaw puzzle…for those who are intellectually curious; it is an interesting and rewarding process.
The funnel analogy is widely used in recruitment and, although less so when recruiting senior level positions, it is a case of the more you put in, the more you get out. This isn’t just about volume; it is about the quality of each conversation, the quality of the contacts you make and the relationships you build. It is a very transparent industry – you can measure your own activity and often trace results back to their source. There are always lots of different factors which can affect your performance but there is rarely anyone else to blame. This makes you truly accountable for your results.
9. Entrepreneurial spirit
To be a success in recruitment you need to be commercial in everything you do – this is something that you can learn along the way but the ability to spot opportunities and an entrepreneurial spirit certainly gives you a head start. Recruitment consultants are often described as running their own virtual franchise, meaning that you are responsible for developing and growing your own sector and increasing your personal ‘brand presence’.
When you get it right and are able to build genuine relationships with your candidates and clients, the role is really rewarding. This requires honesty and trust on both sides. There is nothing better than knowing you have helped someone develop their career and even if you haven’t been successful in placing someone, if you can give them some good advice and act as a sounding board, they will remember you. The litmus test is someone picking the phone up to you , sometimes years later, when they are either ready to make a move or are ready to brief you on a vacancy.
11. Talking to people
One of my colleagues (who shall remain nameless) was always in detention for talking in class and this was one of his suggestions about why he loves his job. Clearly, this is not about the ‘gift of the gab’ as this can have the opposite effect but there is no doubt that you need to enjoy talking to people. If you do, you will build rapport easily, ask the right questions, get the right answers and be able to sell yourself and your opportunities effectively. People are fascinating creatures and we are lucky to be able to spend our working lives talking to them!
If you would like any advice about a Career in Recruitment, please contact us.