Posted by: garispang | June 24, 2009

Career as a Recruiter

It’s fair to say that most people in recruitment today didn’t plan to join the industry, but simply fell into it by chance. Ask most people, and they’ll tell you about their unusual and quirky point of entry.

It’s not surprising therefore, that a career in recruitment is usually quite a random and shapeless thing.

It’s usually the case that top billers are promoted into management positions, often with disastrous consequences, for themselves, their teams, and their employers.

But as the industry matures, and becomes more of a profession, it will be increasingly important to plan, shape, and mould your career, and you have a key part to play in working out the destination and direction of travel.

Don’t worry about the credit crunch for now; my guess is that it will result in many less resilient people leaving the industry for good, just as it did in the last economic downturn.

The good news for you if you stick at it and do the right things in these difficult times, is that you will be in great demand when the sun comes up again, and the sun always does come up again!

Over the next few months this series of articles will attempt to explore the different options available to you, and the steps you can take to maximize the opportunities that will undoubtedly come your way in the years ahead. There is no doubt that getting to the top in our industry can be fulfilling and incredibly rewarding.

This is broadly how it will break down

-The big picture……….What is to be the shape of my career? What are the options?

(This will be your road map, including timings and contingency planning) 

-The first 12 months…….What are the fundamental building blocks that I must learn?

(These are the tools you will need whatever your chosen route)

The first 5 years…………How are you shaping up? What are your key strengths?

(Exploring whether your current employer is the best place to be to achieve your plan)

Leader or big biller? …….What are the pros and cons of these 2 key options?

(Avoid the trap of thinking management is the only way to progress) 

The aim will be to help you execute your plan, and to ensure you are in control of your career, and not just leave it to chance…..

You must have a roadmap for any important journey. Your career is no different, don’t leave it to chance.

Firstly, the Big Picture… What should be the shape of my career?

What options are available to me?   

How much can I influence the direction it takes?

How much progress should I have made and in what timescales?

These are the key questions you will need to consider as you embark on your journey in the recruitment industry, in order to avoid being diverted or pushed in a direction that doesn’t suit your skills or aspirations.          

At this early stage, it’s important to understand what it is you want to achieve in life, what you are capable of, and what you enjoy doing most. Be as clear as you can about your life goals. A recruitment career is extremely diverse and can take several different paths.

Take a good look around your company and formally interview people in different positions to try and gain an understanding of what their particular role entails, whether they are consultants, managers, business developers or applicant resourcers.

Find out what skills they feel are most important to them? What are the different rewards structures for the work they do? How did they get promoted to their current position, and how long did it take? What are the main frustrations they encounter? These are the type of questions you need to ask.

This will help you understand what suits you, or more importantly, what won’t! For example, there’s no point in you considering a career that entails managing other people if you are intolerant or very exacting, or if you feel uninspired at the prospect of having to motivate others. Equally, you don’t want to aspire towards business development if you are terrified of cold-calling!

Once you’ve decided that your ultimate aim is to be a future sales director (for example), then you need to let that be known to anyone who can influence your journey; not just your immediate boss, but his or her boss as well, and anyone else who’ll listen!

If you can, identify a mentor within the company who is prepared to act as your guide, a person against whom you can benchmark your progress.

Then – get going, and with enthusiasm, you’ve embarked on one of the most challenging, fulfilling and rewarding careers around.

Many of the most consistently successful recruiters learnt their trade during a recession or downturn; so you’ve now got a great opportunity to get to grips with the crucial tools of your trade, the ones that will last you a lifetime in this industry, whatever the prevailing market conditions.

You’ve probably seen many of your more experienced colleagues struggle with various aspects of the job recently, even those who have been successful in the past.

That’s because most recruiters have only really needed to carry out parts of the recruitment process in recent years. However, to succeed now you will need to master the full range of skills to truly do the job well.

Right now, the most important skill to learn is effective business development. 

If you can combine that with great candidate control techniques you will improve your chances of success every time.

With an abundance of candidates, and with vacancies in low supply in almost all sectors, you need to be a cut above the competition in the eyes of every client. You need to make sure that you get exclusivity and commitment wherever possible, and be sure to “kill” every single job that you take on. Remember, each real and well qualified vacancy is an opportunity for you to learn, practice and make money.

Try these tips and pointers to move ahead steadily on the right track.

• Remember that recruitment is a sales job, and quite a sophisticated one at that. There are very few other situations where you need to sell to your client and to your “product”. 

• Don’t hide behind email, get on the phone and get out in front of your clients and candidates.

• Teach yourself the basics. There’s never been more superb training material available on the internet and in the bookshops. Don’t wait to be spoon-fed.

• Put in extra discretionary effort now, and work the hours. Times are tough, but it will all pay off for you in the end.

Note: There are tried and trusted processes for each and every step of the recruitment sales cycle, and these can be summarized into 50 individual steps. Watch this space in July.

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