In Association with The Recruiter Index
Written By Matt Everett

Before you jump in with both feet

So you’ve made the decision, you’ve heard about the fast paced nature, the 200k OTE and the glitz and glamour of being a Recruitment Consultant.  You’re itching to go out and get your first pinstripe suit and shiny shoes (trust me, I was) and start ‘smashing the phones’. The start of a recruitment career is an odd mix of nerves, anticipation and excitement and whilst I admit I’m not the most experienced person out there and I still learn something new every day, there were things looking back I wish I’d known, because recruitment is amazing but often not what people expect.

Be a human being

Recruitment is a people business, not accountancy or Law.  Whilst some agencies try to make recruitment a numbers game, it can’t be.  It’s a people game.  If you try and take people out of it, then you’ll be forever frustrated with candidates and clients whose motivations you don’t understand.  There are thousands of recruitment companies in the UK and a lot of people doing what you do, so being a full-on Sales Droid is going to make sure you blend into the blanket noise of your market.  However, behaving and acting like a human being, who understands what people are looking for and can advise them accordingly you will genuinely stand out.

Never lose sight of the fact what you are selling is not inanimate, a fridge won’t turn around and take another offer or a car won’t decide to take a counter offer.  Worry about what is in your control, and nothing else.

Know your shit…to a degree

This is people’s main gripe about recruiters.  We are not professionals within the space so how dare we have the audacity to recruit people for it?  Well hold on there, because that’s not quite the case.  Now, before I start this it is important to appreciate knowing about the sector you recruit for is very important for your success, understanding what drives that market, learn the linguistics and all you need to know to get by.  The mistake people make is when they go too far.

As a recruiter it is your job to understand the ‘RECRUITMENT’ of that sectors professionals.  For me, as a Cyber Security recruiter, do I need to understand how to reverse engineer malware, or configure a SIEM tool or use SQL injection?  Not really. I know what all of these things are, and what professionals use them for however any further beyond that is a point of diminishing returns, unless I want to transition into Cyber directly.

Know your market, by all means, and always have a sponge mentality, but always bear in mind how that knowledge helps you recruit people.  In my early sales training, my trainer (shout out Lee) would be exasperated that I’d have a great conversation but just about Cyber, not actually about recruitment.  Don’t be me, be relevant and be respected for your own profession, not just knowing about someone else’s.

The job is pretty much all consuming

Whether its taking calls on holiday, or using objection handling techniques in an argument with your other half about what to have for dinner, recruitment creeps itself into your every day life.  The standard line on every job description is that recruitment is not a 9-5 job and that is every inch an accurate statement.  Now some people, that really suits, if you’re really that into it then more power too you, and one of the businesses I worked for initially would pressure you into working on weekends.  I’m not to sure about you, readers, but that role was not for me. 

No one is saying setting up a recruitment desk is easy, the aforementioned company stuck me on a desk that they had no reliable or evidential intel would ever work and despite working all hours I could it wasn’t a success for me.  It’s hard work where you will pull your hair out, celebrate and facepalm, all in equal measure.  However, it’s important to look after yourself and look out for businesses that will support you longer term with both creating a divide between work and life.

Don’t Bullshit

This is pretty self-explanatory and I know, I know. Matt, you say, there’s a fine line between creativity and sales.  My response is there is, however which side of it you chose to be on it for you to decide.  If you haven’t done something, don’t make up excuses, admit it and move on.  Clients would rather hear that than you have a 15-minute monologue on why it was all your resourcer’s fault (sorry resourcers, it’s not personal).  

Recruitment is maybe the only industry that is saturated and very small at the same time.  There are loads of recruiters but the markets are mostly candidate led at the moment.  If you get caught fibbing it can ruin a reputation before it’s even got going.  All you need to see is the regular character assassinations going on on LinkedIn, and you’d be forgiven for thinking recruiters all had to offer themselves as tribute at their final interview.  If you tell someone you’ll call them, call them, for the love of god, just ring them.

Closing thoughts

These are just a few things to bear in mind as you make your steps into recruitment, as you get in it all begins to form together. It’s important to be interested in what you recruit so pick the company you go to carefully, and just remain and always focus to be a decent human being in all your interactions and you should be pretty good to go.

If you want a chat about this article or contents feel free to give me a shout on LinkedIn, happy to help.