5 tips for a successful recruitment career

Rachel Swain, Editorial manager
December, 2022

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

'Working within the recruitment industry provides the perfect opportunity to learn and develop a fantastic array of skills and business attributes,' explains Justin Gettings, director of Leggwork, a construction recruitment company. 'There is great satisfaction in helping people with some of the most important decisions of their lives. Self-motivation, a strong desire to succeed and a resilient nature are all key qualities that a successful recruitment consultant will uphold and deliver.'

Before you start 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.

'Set yourself high standards and stay consistent. Consistency will create its own rewards over time, and it won’t go unnoticed by your clients, candidates and colleagues. Gaining a good reputation doesn't happen overnight and staying true to your own high standards will enhance long-lasting relationships,' says Justin.

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.

Justin highlights that the devil is in the detail. 'Taking the time to get a good understanding of what is most important to your clients and candidate will lead to forging better and longer-lasting relationships.'

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 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.

'Confidence often comes with experience and knowledge,' says Justin. 'Pushing yourself to learn as much as you can, teaching yourself best techniques and practices and studying the habits and routines of other successful consultants can help to inspire and increase your confidence levels.'

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 find a solution that is acceptable to both parties.

'It's important that all parties within any negotiation walk away feeling happy with the eventual outcome, especially if you want repeat business and long-lasting relationships,' explains Justin. 'You need to make sure that you have done your research, understand the boundaries and get to know your market inside out. Don't be afraid to walk away from a negotiation if you can't achieve your minimum requirements. Most importantly though have fun making your deals and like anything practice makes perfect.'

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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