What do recruiters do? That’s a pretty common question and this section of the site gives some details of what working in recruitment is all about. Recruitment consultants are typically responsible for finding relevant clients to partner with and attracting candidates suitable for their own client base. They match the candidates to either temporary or permanent positions and are responsible for managing the full process from the initial introduction right the way through to after placement care. This is called a 360 degree recruitment role. This is the recruitment solutions that Amoria Bond offers to its clients and candidates and this is supported by a Legal team as well for full compliance work.
Consultants identify businesses who are hiring and work with these client companies to get a greater understanding of their business structure and recruitment requirements, which in allows them to make successful placements and build stronger relationships. Recruitment consultants engage with clients through phone calls, emails, meetings and through referrals. They negotiate suitable terms and conditions as well as agree steps on how the relationship and partnership is to be managed.
Recruitment consultants also attract candidates by writing job adverts, networking, headhunting, using their existing network and also by gaining referrals. They screen candidates, interview them, do reference checks and finally match them to their clients. Consultants will also act as an advisor to both clients and candidates on interviewing, salary levels, training requirements and career progression, which is why the best consultants are often viewed as trusted partners to candidates and clients alike.
Most consultancies tend to focus on a few industries or business sectors and will typically offer roles within a structured recruitment market and focus on a specific niche industry; recruiters like this are often seen as more specialist. Amoria Bond concentrates on the following industry sectors Engineering, Technology, SAP, Life Sciences, Energy as well as Banking & Finance.
Recruitment consultancy is a rewarding job financially, but it is rewarding in other ways too. An enormous amount of personal satisfaction can be derived from placing a candidate with the right company and in the right type of role that they may have been searching for over a considerable period of time. The same can be said by helping a business or organisation find the right person to help them deliver a crucial project or fill a much needed role within their organisation.
The role is challenging and varied, involving a huge blend of activities, including:
- Using sales and business development to identify vacancies within new and existing organisations
- Visiting clients to build and develop relationships;
- Developing an excellent understanding of client companies and their assigned industry
- Advertising vacancies by drafting and placing adverts in a range of media, for example, LinkedIn and industry websites
- Using social media, typically LinkedIn, to attract candidates and build relationships with candidates and employers
- Headhunting – identifying and approaching suitable candidates who may already be in work to present relevant opportunities to them
- Using CV databases to search for candidates who are actively seeking work
- Receiving and reviewing applications
- Telephone interviewing candidates
- Requesting references and qualifying the suitability of candidates
- Briefing the candidate about the responsibilities, salary and benefits of the job in question;
- Formatting CVs and candidate information to forward to clients regarding of suitable applicants;
- Organising interviews for candidates as requested by the client;
- Informing candidates about the results of their interviews;
- Negotiating pay and salary rates and finalising arrangements between client and candidates;
- Offering advice to both clients and candidates on pay rates, training and career progression;
- Working towards and exceeding targets that may relate to the number of candidates placed or revenue generated
- Working towards key performance indicators (KPIs) relating to activity such as the number of meetings attended, the number of candidates sourced. KPIs allow recruitment consultants to work towards optimum levels and accurately track their activity
Salaries vary across sectors and locations, but typically include a basic salary plus a performance-related bonus or commission. This can either be an individual or a team based commission, with individual commissions typically being more lucrative than team commissions. Vacancies will advertise an OTE salary, which stands for on-target earnings and means that if you are achieving your expected targets, this is the amount you can expect to earn.
Other benefits that may be offered as part of the overall package as a recruitment consultant may include car, mobile phones and iPads although these benefits are usually available after a qualification period. The social aspect of the role is also important with team drinks, social functions and end-of-year rewards for the top performers being typically offered. Recruitment consultancy is a career path known for reward and recognition.
High level earnings do not come without dedication and hard work in any industry with recruitment consultancy being no different. You can expect to work long hours between Monday to Friday. Professional Consultancies usually remain closed over the weekends, however, top performers recognise that the harder they work, the more successful they will be and may want the option to work during these times if their employer gives them access to the offices.
What to expect
Typically recruitment consultancy work is office based but time is also spent outside the office, meeting with clients or attending networking exhibitions. A smart appearance (suit, shirt and tie for men is the norm and business attire for women) is imperative due to the client facing nature of the role as well as the ethos and company values of the business.
The role will be challenging, but also exciting as the profession is fast-paced, target driven and demanding. Travel may be required to meet with clients although overseas travel is less common, unless you are working on international assignments, which usually is more common at the Executive Search level (Executive Search involves placing individuals into very senior level positions within client organisations). Overseas work is possible, however, with companies that have overseas branches especially if you have a second language or if you have proven yourself within a business.
Recruitment consultant roles are generally open to graduates regardless of degree subject. Employers typically value drive, skills and abilities as well as the tenacity and resilience to progress. Entry without a degree is possible for those with relevant experience, skills and abilities. Postgraduate study is not essential. You may find that relevant experience and skills are more useful.
Most recruitment consultancy roles will need to show evidence of the following:
- excellent communication skills
- sales and negotiation skills
- a goal-orientated approach to work and your career
- the ability to handle multiple priorities
- problem-solving ability;
- the ability to meet deadlines and targets
- ambition and the determination to succeed
- tenacity and resilience
- confidence and self-motivation
- time management and organisational skills
- a competitive nature and a good level of confidence
An ability to work (and enjoy working!!) in a high-pressure environment and the responsibility that comes with it is also a much sought after skill set.
Although previous experience in working in the recruitment consultancy industry can be advantageous, it is not a pre-requisite for a role. Previous work experience in a sales environment is the most valuable type of experience when it comes to starting a career in the recruitment industry, however many companies will recruit via trainee positions typically for graduates or people with a limited amount of previous sales experience. Recruitment consultancies will often accept applications from those without recruitment industry experience as long as they demonstrate the right combination of skills and personal qualities.
Successful recruitment firms usually offer induction or skills training for new staff members entering as trainee recruitment consultants and continue this training as the employee progresses through the business. Recruitment consultancies who prioritise training will typically have a dedicated training department to run team based training as well as usually offering one to one coaching.
Delivery of the coaching and training may come from internal teams with a lot of consultancy organisations having directors who were once recruitment consultants themselves and have the experience to help develop trainee consultants. Other consultancies may pay external training companies to come in and support the team. Companies like Amoria Bond do all of the above. Some recruitment consultancies may provide career development programmes for recruitment consultants wanting to progress quickly. There are commercial training providers that offer short courses specific to the skills required in the industry. These courses aren’t essential qualifications required to do the job, however, some consultants do want to invest time gaining a formal qualification after they have started their career.
Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) is a professional body within the recruitment industry that provides such qualifications as well as offering personal development training for its members.
As an example, the REC offers the Level 2 Certificate in Recruitment Resourcing (QCF), the Level 3 Certificate in Recruitment Practice (QCF) and the Level 4 Diploma in Recruitment Management (QCF) via the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP). See the IRP website for full details.
Membership of a professional body such as the CIPD or the IRP is also useful for networking and for access to a range of industry news and resources.
Recruitment consultants generally start work in the industry as trainees usually working in a small team. As the trainee recruitment consultancy role is typically target driven, progression within the consultancy will largely depend on achieving and exceeding set targets. Career development can also depend to some extent on the size and structure of the recruitment consultancy and, therefore working for a small company might mean it is necessary to change employer or location to progress because progression will be dependant on open vacancies within the team.
Progression from consultant is usually to senior consultant who comes with additional management or mentoring responsibility. Progression to Lead Consultant or to managerial positions requires additional training and financial skills. Some organisations have a clearly defined progression plan detailing how consultants can become directors and it’s always worth taking a look at this or asking a question about this topic during an interview. It is important to ensure that personal ambitions are in line with the companies growth plan. The role of a recruitment consultant can also be used as a platform to build experience and contacts to move in to other areas like training, internal recruitment and other sales or management roles.