5 tips for a successful recruitment career

Rachel Swain, Editorial manager
December, 2019

With the sector continuing to grow, now's a great time to consider a recruitment career - here's how to ensure you get off to the best possible start

'Recruitment can be a very exciting and rewarding industry to work in, but similar to any other business-to-business environment, it requires a lot of focus, determination and drive from its consultants,' explains Jane Norton, talent development director at Michael Page.

Before you start you should research the industry and the specific consultancy and role you're applying for. Then take a look at these tips to help you make the most of your career in recruitment.

1. Build good relationships

Building and maintaining long lasting relationships is a huge part of a recruiter's day-to-day role.

'Learning about your client's hiring needs and understanding what drives an individual in the workplace will enable you to successfully match the right candidates with the right jobs,' says Jane.

It's not just about external relationships with clients, you also need the skills to build strong relationships with your colleagues. Demonstrating your communication skills and your ability to be a team player will help you to manage relationships based on mutual trust and respect, and will go a long way in forging a successful career in recruitment.

'One of the most important things to remember when building strong relationships is that people are an uncontrollable product and won't be rushed into making what can sometimes be one of the biggest decisions of their lives; always be patient and don’t push people into making a decision,' explains Jane.

Having empathy and understanding will show that you consider your client's and candidate's needs, which will help you to gain their trust.

2. Embrace technology

Over the last ten years technology has changed the way that most industries operate and recruitment is no different.

'The way we engage with candidates is far more proactive and less reliant on candidates responding to adverts. We're now actively sourcing talent on a daily basis,' says Phil Cookson, director at recruitment agency Creative Resource.

This has seen an increase in the use of video technology and companies such as Phil's are using apps to chat to candidates. In addition to this you will also need a good grasp of all major social media channels. Recruiters are using all of these technologies and social media platforms to gather information, and you will also need the ability to find what you need, analyse the information and draw conclusions from it.

Digital has also changed how a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) such as Creative Resource manages its internal processes, with Phil finding that it allows for a greater level of efficiency, and the ability for staff to carry out their work from any location.

3. Have self confidence

It's important to your success as a recruitment consultant to demonstrate the right level of self-confidence. This will improve the way your colleagues view you and your opinions and ideas will more likely be taken into consideration.

'Having the ability to be confident, compelling and persuasive while working as part of a team will help to meet your targets and harvest the best results,' says Jane.

4. Be able to negotiate

Negotiation is a critical part of a recruitment consultant's role. This is both in negotiating terms with a client and also when negotiating salaries and job offers with a candidate. Recruiters serve as the intermediary and it's your job to come to a solution which is acceptable to both parties.

'A client will want to secure their favoured applicant while not spending over their budget and your candidate will be looking for the best salary and deal they can get,' explains Jane. 'The ability to negotiate a solution that works for both parties is a key skill, which all recruiters need to master.'

5. Think about your career development

In order to succeed in recruitment you need to know where your career is heading and how you can progress and move forward.

Phil is adamant that a career in recruitment has great potential, whichever route you take. You could work for a small niche firm like Phil or a large global recruiter with international offices.

Another option is to go it alone as Phil points out, 'Many people choose to start their own businesses, so if you've got an entrepreneurial streak it’s a great industry to work in.' Find out more about being self-employed.

Phil also recommends that graduates 'think about what sectors might be of interest to them, or are relevant to their background.' Choosing to work in a sector that you have knowledge of can make it much easier to understand the requirements of clients and the challenges that they face.

There are a small number of graduate recruitment schemes you could join or you could train on the job in a structured graduate recruitment consultant role. You should find out what training and development a company can offer you and what their expectations of you would be.

As you progress your career, you may wish to study towards further qualifications. See HR courses.

Find out more

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