I want to be a... recruitment consultant
With many of the UK's retail and hospitality recruitment businesses advertising their services in this issue it seemed appropriate to take a minute to look at recruitment consultancy as a potential career option. Is there such a thing as being right for recruitment consultancy? Would it show up on a CV? Have you got what it takes? We take a look.
Recruitment consultancy as a career is an excellent way to put existing skills and experience to a new and different use. It's a highly competitive, salesy, target-driven environment. It's very hard work. But for those who succeed it is also potentially very lucrative. So how do you go about landing the job?
Get yourself seen!
When interviewing, any recruitment consultant worth their salt will not only be weighing-up the candidate's viability for current client assignments but also their potential as a colleague. It's by no means the only way into the profession but recruitment consultants have an eye for recruitment consultants. Thus the first tip if you're thinking about becoming a recruitment consultant would be to use a recruitment consultancy!
What you can't see on paper...
But of course you can't measure suitability for a job by looking at a CV, particularly not for such a people-centric role as recruitment consultancy. Recruiters will want to assess your interpersonal skills because, simply put, people buy from people they like. They'll be looking for a certain dynamism, the ability to make an impact, the desire to close a deal, whether they warm to you and how you might work in their teams.
Though specifics will differ from business to business the sorts of competencies recruitment companies will be looking for in prospective consultants would include:
- the ability to influence others (powers of persuasion are always a must in a selling role);
- resilience - the role is hard work, target-driven, sales-oriented and can thus be stressful;
- communication skills - with every email, interview and client meeting you'll be representing the consultancy's brand and reputation so strong verbal and written communication skills are vital.
A CV will only get you so far...
Your CV will not in itself single you out as a likely candidate for recruitment consultancy. The types of competencies consultancies look for won't jump off the page. That said, some of the qualities that would recommend you as a good candidate overall would count in your favour if you're looking to make the jump into recruitment. These would include:
- previous experience in recruitment - this will, of course, improve your chances;
- drive and ambition as demonstrated by a progressive career path. By this we mean a career path showing clear increases in responsibility in a reasonable timeframe (i.e. not a job hopper or a stuck-in-a-rut 'comfort seeker');
- experience in a service-oriented business;
- strong written communication skills demonstrated by a professional, well-constructed CV supported by equally well-presented covering letter or email.
A positive CV factor more specific to the recruitment field itself would be evidence of experience in or an aptitude for selling. In case you were in any doubt, recruitment consultancy is a selling role: selling clients on your company's ability to fill vacancies, selling candidates on the merits of these vacancies, selling candidates on your ability to land them a job...you get the idea.
It's not fluffy, it's not HR, it's selling.
Believe it or not simple geographic proximity to a consultancy's offices will have a strong bearing on whether they consider you a viable potential employee - the hours can be long and the job demanding making it impractical to travel too far each way each day.
The right background?
The relevance of your career background to your likely employment as a recruitment consultant rather depends on the type of role available and indeed on the attitude of the individual company. If they are looking to find a consultant for, say, design or B&M or hotels there's a good chance they'll require their consultants to have a similar background. For other sectors such as retail operations the specifics of your background are likely to be less vital. The fact is recruiters can spot good potential recruiters and if they think you've got what it takes they're likely to be open-minded about your background.