Emerging into the world of recruitment for the first time can feel like taking tentative steps into the lion’s den; seeming like a cutthroat industry where one false step could mean the untimely end to your prospective career. With an industry-wide staff turnover of 43%, it’s easy to see why people may draw this conclusion. But is this really true?
Of course, there are certain targets and expectations you’ll need to meet, but at an agency with a positive work culture, your progress and development should be nurtured and monitored. To have the best possible chances of succeeding in what can be a very rewarding career, you’ll want to do everything in your power to swing the odds in your favour – which is why our Internal Recruiter Adam Hooley and Learning and Development Manager Rachelle Swift have banded together to deliver you some advice on how to get the best possible start in recruitment!
Above all else, before you are a recruiter, you are an employee, which is why it’s crucial to get right and implement basic working practices. “Ensuring you’re a good worker is the first building block in becoming a great recruiter” says Adam. “That means making sure you are ready to work on time, joining meetings on time, responding to emails on time – in general, establishing a reputation of reliability and delivering on your commitments will get you far both internally and with clients and candidates later down the line”.
The goal isn’t to be top biller in week one. Your aim in your initial weeks and months is to learn and absorb as much as possible, incrementally implementing and acquiring new skills and work methods to improve with every passing week. “Having a drive to improve and develop is a vital trait to have” says Rachelle. “When I’m providing induction training to new recruiters, I look for the people taking notes, asking questions, and showing a real eagerness to get to grips with the role, as these skills will be what carry them in their first months of training and development”. You get out what you put in, as the adage goes, and displaying a genuine level of passion and enthusiasm for the role will return help and support from your peers, as well as a better retention of knowledge and skills.
The fundamental skills behind negotiations, networking, and personal branding lie personability and empathy. If you’re able to understand a candidate’s motivations, circumstances, and perspective, you’re able to provide them with assistance over that final hurdle to commit to a new role. If you’re able to connect and build a rapport with clients and candidates alike, you’re able to establish yourself as a go-to, trustworthy and reliable recruiter, leading to expanded custom and word-of-mouth referrals. “One of the things I make note of in initial first-screenings with candidates is their overall demeanor and attitude” Internal Recruiter Adam Hooley mentions. “Having both the capacity to genuinely engage, understand and listen to someone, as well as exert a certain level of charisma and positive energy are the pillars of any sales based role”.
While your approach to clients and candidates should be personal, your approach to rejection shouldn’t be. As a Recruiter himself, Adam has had to learn this through his experience in the industry. “Throughout your time in recruitment, you’ll network with some wonderful and talented people.” says Adam. “ However, there will be times where you’ll work with rude or ungrateful candidates and clients alike; it’s just part of the job. People will let you down, candidates will have second thoughts, Clients will reject a full list of prospective candidates. My advice would be to keep your cool when things don’t go to plan – the most important thing is retaining an excellent reputation, which means being helpful and respectful, even when that hasn’t been equally reciprocated. With every interaction you have, make the conscious effort to be sure that what you say and do enhances, not hinders, your standing in the industry”.
It cannot be understated that your reputation and network are the master keys to unlocking the door to a successful and extensive career in recruitment. As mentioned above, you’ll need to do this through your words and attitude, but equally as vital are your actions. Being friendly and respectful doesn’t mean all too much if you don’t deliver on your promises, drop regular communication, or betray someone’s trust. “‘Don’t make promises that you can’t keep’ is just as true in recruitment as it is in life. If you commit to something, be sure to do it, and on time. This applies internally and externally, to candidates as well as clients as your reputability will be the one thing that stays with you from agency to agency – make equal effort no matter who with ” says Adam.
Let’s take things back a little. If this is your first sales or recruitment role, reputation building is definitely something to keep in mind, but what needs to come first is the foundational confidence in calls, client and candidate management, and the sales environment as a whole. “When onboarding junior recruiters or members of our Recruitment Sourcing Team, I always bear in mind that for some, this may be their first role approaching people from a sales perspective” notes L&D Manager Rachelle Swift. “Once we can get them to a level where they are happy and consistent with their call presence, we can then develop their skills in sales as a whole; willingness to have difficult conversations, interviewing skills, and negotiation where appropriate. All of which take a high level of confidence, but are definitely things that are cultivated over time”.
In both your development as a recruiter and your approach to the recruitment process; the above should be your mantra from the day you begin your career to the moment it finishes. Be consistent with calls and communication. Be consistent with your attitude. Be consistent with your work output and pipeline maintenance. “It’s so important in every aspect of recruitment. If you’re regularly hitting high levels of quality with your activity, interactions, and candidates, the rest will come” says Internal Recruiter Adam Hooley. Rachelle adds, “ you’ll always be learning as a Recruiter; making a conscious effort to regularly and consciously improve and develop is essential to the role”.
So, harkening back to where we started; is the recruitment industry as dog-eat-dog as they say? Well, for those who aren’t prepared for what they’re in for or don’t have a willingness to put the effort in to develop the skills, it may be a little closer to the truth. However; if you take on board the advice we have given, and go in with an eagerness and positive attitude, recruitment can be a very fruitful and personally rewarding industry. Best of luck from Aardvark Swift!