In 2019 there were approximately 32,000 recruitment agencies in the UK employing 119,000 people. Despite accounting for such a large chunk of the economy, few people outside the industry understand what Recruitment Consultants do. So if you’re one of them, rest assured, you’re not alone! This article explains what Recruitment Consultants do and how they can help you. Furthermore, if you’re interested in becoming one; how to go about it and how your future career might look.
What is a Recruitment Consultant?
A Recruitment Consultant is an intermediary between employers recruiting and job seekers looking to make their next career move. It is their job to attract candidates who are the best match for their client’s jobs. While that sounds quite simple, a Recruitment Consultant’s job description is much more detailed than this.
What Does a Recruitment Consultant do?
There are two sides to the recruitment process, the client-side and the candidate-side. To succeed, a recruiter must keep both parties happy. Recruitment Consultants who work on both the client and candidate sides are known as 360° Consultants. Alternatively, they can choose to focus solely on Candidate Resourcing or Business Development.
Either way, recruitment is a fast-paced and exciting role, where no two days are the same. For ambitious individuals, the recruitment world can present fantastic career opportunities.
The Client-Side (Business Development)
Businesses provide recruitment agencies with jobs for candidates to apply to. Agencies make money by charging recruitment fees based upon a percentage of a candidate’s agreed salary. However, these fees only become payable by the client once a candidate accepts a job offer. Therefore, recruitment firms must offer the best possible service to their clients. Without them, an agency has no jobs to place candidates into.
Candidate-Side (Candidate Resourcing)
As explained above, the agency does not make any money until they place a candidate in a role. Consequently, once instructed to work on a vacancy, consultants must work as quickly as they can to fill it. If they don’t make a placement, the agency doesn’t get paid for the work they have done, and the consultant loses out on their commission.
Therefore, agencies can not merely rely upon the applications they receive as it would take too long to fill their vacancies. As time drags on, they risk losing business to their competitors.
Consultants must, therefore, leave no stone unturned to find the best possible candidates to fill their clients’ roles.
However, whilst time is of the essence, candidates must be able to trust the recruiters they work with. Therefore, the ability to build rapport with candidates is crucial.
A Day in the Life of a Recruitment Consultant
There is a great deal of responsibility involved in managing the client-side of the job. Therefore, trainee Recruitment Consultants usually start learning about the candidate side of the recruitment process. Even so, there is a lot to learn before they can get to work.
For this reason, when you first start work in recruitment, don’t be surprised if you spend the majority of your time in training sessions. Your training will teach you all about the market sector you recruit within, the roles you recruit for and the skills and experience your candidates must have.
Recruitment training is usually very hands-on, including team-building exercises, role-plays and question and answer sessions. Listening to telephone conversations of experienced recruitment consultants is also a valuable learning experience for newcomers.
The Early Bird Catches the Worm
New recruiters quickly learn that a successful day starts with a well prepared day plan from the day before. The reason for this is that the best time of day to get hold of the strongest candidates is first thing in the morning. Knowing who you will be speaking to when you get into the office enables you to prepare for the conversations you might have in advance.
Once you identify suitable candidates, you must send their CV’s to clients and arrange appointments for telephone and face to face interviews. Liaising between candidates and your client’s human resources teams to organise this can be a back and forth process.
It is likely that in the early stages, this part of your role will be handled by a more experienced recruiter while you observe. However, as you become more experienced, you will learn a great deal about your clients from these conversations. Even so, listening in is a valuable part of your career development which you will learn a great deal from if you pay attention.
What you will Learn as a Trainee Recruitment Consultant
As your career progresses, you will learn no end of valuable skills such as:
- Establishing rapport and building relationships
- Using LinkedIn and other social media platforms to identify and attract passive candidates
- Headhunting candidates who may not be actively looking for a new role
- Using recruitment technology, job boards and databases to advertise vacancies and identify potential candidates
- Reviewing the candidate’s current situation salary, benefits and future career aspirations to find suitable roles
- Screening candidates, checking their suitability and obtaining authorisation before submitting their details to a client
- Preparing CVs and collecting additional information at the client’s request
- Arranging interviews with human resources professionals and hiring managers
- Briefing candidates on role responsibilities and company culture of potential employers
- Keeping candidates informed at each stage of the recruitment process and providing post-interview feedback
- Negotiating salary and making offers to candidates on a client’s behalf
As you gain experience and grow in confidence, you will learn more regarding the client-side of your role. As a result, your business development skills will improve, and your days will become more varied.
You will find yourself travelling to meet with clients at their offices, enabling you to find out about their future business goals and identify new opportunities. Attending networking events presents more opportunities to learn about developments within your industry and find client companies to do business with. Additionally, you will no doubt, have the opportunity to mentor new Recruitment Consultants joining your firm.
How to Become a Recruitment Consultant
Many successful recruiters do not have any formal qualifications or work experience in the field. However, specific skills will most certainly help you in the recruitment world, such as:
- Good listening skills
- Confidence on the phone
- An inquisitive nature
- Not afraid to ask questions
- A good memory for details
- A competitive nature
- Determination to succeed
How Much do Recruitment Consultants Make?
How much a recruitment consultant earns depends on their determination to succeed. A recruiter’s salary usually consists of a basic salary plus commission.
Starting salaries for entry-level recruitment consultants in the UK vary from between £16,000 to £22,000, even more in London. However, with experience, skilled Recruitment Consultants basic salaries can be as much as £40,000 plus commission. Niche recruiters operating in specialist areas can often command salaries way above this level.
It is usual for recruiters to have a minimum threshold of KPI’s or targets which they much achieve before earning any commission. KPI’s and commission structures vary from agency to agency, and agencies will not usually disclose the details until your employment has begun.
However, it is normal for agencies to base their KPI’s on making a certain number of placements per month or spending a certain amount of time on the phone. Such targets can seem harsh to new recruiters, but they aim to serve as a motivation to strive for success. It is not unusual for an experienced recruiter to achieve a level of commission which at least matches their basic salary.
What Kind of Hours Do Recruitment Consultants Work?
It is crucial to bear in mind before you embark on a career as a recruiter that the best times of day to catch prime candidates is outside of their regular working hours. Unfortunately, this means recruiters often work longer than the usual 9-5.
However, the massive earning potential an experienced Recruitment Consultant has is a trade-off for having to put in long hours at the beginning of your career. There is no point sugar-coating this fact. To become successful, you must be prepared to work hard as you learn your trade.
Although you will find that as your career progresses, your job role will become more about Business Development, as opposed to candidate management. As a result, the hours you work will change.
Additionally, working in recruitment comes with certain benefits which are impossible to quantify. You will likely find yourself immersed in a ‘work hard play hard’ atmosphere. The environment you work in is likely to be buzzing with excitement and an enormous sense of camaraderie. Above all else, each new day presents the opportunity to change someone’s life.
Think You Have What it Takes?
Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a better understanding of what Recruitment Consultants do. If you think you might enjoy life as a recruitment consultant, why not take a look around our site to find out what our team enjoy most about their experience in recruitment.
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