How To Survive Your First 6 Months Working For A Niche Recruitment Agency
Published about 5 years ago by Medet Ali
Interview with Lucy Greenwood, Recruitment Consultant
What is your background?
Psychology graduate BSc (Hons), this is my first job after graduating.
Why did you choose recruitment over other career options?
As a graduate, ‘graduate schemes’ are the go to push from most universities. To be completely honest, after applying to a bunch of these schemes within business consultancy and management, I got tired of doing countless numerical tests, assessment centres and group interviews.
Recruitment also offers things graduate schemes don’t. If you are unsure what you want to do but know you want business then the scheme is great as you normally spend 2-3 years moving around departments and teams getting an understanding of the business.
For me, that meant 2-3years with no salary increase, no promotion prospects and no increased autonomy. All things which recruitment offers. The main pull for me was the freedom to run my own desk; and hopefully get far in a short amount of time.
How did you find your first couple of months?
Month one was the hardest. The learning curve is steep – but it’s more learning the outcomes that hits you in month one. For example, unless you make a placement in your first week, you’re doing a lot of things that make placements possible in the future but without the experience of placements it’s a difficult process to grasp.
Next couple months were great. As soon as it clicked for me everything got a lot more fun and interesting as I understood (first hand) what my actions were making happen.
When did you start to see success?
Month three. £26,000 (two fees, 12k + 14k)
What do you think success is in recruitment?
Placements, simple. I mean attitude, motivation and being smart helps – but if you were all these and not making placements I wouldn’t consider it a success.
Why are you successful?
I have a great director and team. From day one I sat next to my director Ali and learnt from him. The way we recruit requires a lot of expectation handling, consulting and building relationships. (unlike some spray and pray recruiters where it’s all about numbers and luck). If I’m successful it’s because I take pride in the way we do things, which makes me want to work harder and work as smartly as possible.
When I made my fees I was still living at home and commuting for almost 5 hours a day some days, so I couldn’t work longer hours than my 8:30 – 18:00, but I made sure the hours I were here I used as effectively as possible – I don’t think working long hours is sufficient to make you successful unless you’re utilising those hours as smartly as possible.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
Quiet periods – either candidates go quiet on you or you can’t get through to firms. It’s challenging because it slows down your process and you lose momentum. Which is tough to pick back up when it’s been a while since you’re last placement. Luckily, carrying out a research proposal for my dissertation and needing 150 participants, creating an electronic and interactive program and struggling with an infinite number of data points taught me a lot about powering through!
What is the most satisfying part?
Aside from the obvious of your name and a lovely fee being next to it on the board?
Knowing your value; when I get an interview over the phone without CV’s, or convince candidates to think in a different way and consequently change their mind about going to an interview or registering with lots of agencies. Being able to add that value to their search definitely puts a smile on your face.
What advice would you give others considering recruitment as a career?
If you’re considering it – do it, you can get so far in such a small amount of time compared to other careers that if 3-5 years down the line you decide you don’t like it, you will have made some good money and learnt valuable skills so you won’t have wasted any time.
Also, make sure the agency you decide to work for are reputable, that you will be taught properly how to engage with clients, candidates and be a consultant. I’ve heard horror stories of grad recruiters not being allowed to sit down in the morning until they’ve hit their call targets! – it’s not all about numbers if you’re just counting on luck!
Oh – and power through the first 6-8 weeks. Even if you feel like quitting, hoping on a plane and never coming back. It’s a learning curve and once you get it – it’s a really great job, so don’t give up too easily.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I know a lot of people can be put off by ‘sales’ work. Certainly, my friends at uni were determined to actually do something where their degree would come into play and ‘sales’ has some negative connotations thanks to cheap car salesman. Sales in recruitment is consulting, you aren’t ‘selling’ in the sense of how I think of the word. You’re building relationships with people, understanding their career goals or employee needs and then consulting on the matching of the two.
Creative Tax Recruitment is currently recruiting for its team. If you would like to find out more about working for a niche tax recruitment, please contact us on 0207 464 4243
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