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How to be a Good Recruitment Consultant

Aug 9, 2008
In order for someone to be good as a recruitment consultant they require a blend of several types of skills, without these the role can be very demoralizing and unsuccessful.

It is not hard to land yourself a role in recruitment, after all recruitment is a sales role and therefore does not necessarily require a strong academic background. But for many being a good recruitment consultant is incredibly difficult - so I will try to explain why it is so difficult and how you can position yourself to be the best possible success you can be. Remember as with any other sales positions the 80/20 role generally applies. So 80% commissionwill be earned by 20% of the sales team, if you want to be part of that 20% then read on and hopefully you can fine tune your recruitment skills.

This is more prevalent in agency side recruitment as there is a whole other breed of recruiters whom work internally and on-site for clients/Recruitment Process Outsourcing companies. The same attributes will still be relevant for both types of consultant but it is a slightly different role meaning a slight difference in approach and behavior.

I will go through some areas of differentiation though and tips for both types of consultant.

Firstly, let's explain why the role can be difficult.

Recruitment consulting can be very boring, mundane and repetitive on a day-to-day basis, I'm not really selling this to you am I!

The type of character required to be successful as a consultant must be prepared for this and deal with that aspect of the role. On the flip side it can come with much reward; you actually deal with people everyday giving you a great insight into human nature. You can earn high commission, probably earn salaries not nearly possible in other positions at a very young age; making a deal gives you a good buzz and sense of fulfillment when a candidate is truly grateful for (helpful to) your assistance in finding a new role.

Therefore if you are considering going into a career in recruitment take note of the above.

Really have a look at yourself and ask yourself if it is really what you want to do, then assess whether you have the right background to succeed. I'm not saying if you don't have every attribute naturally you can't succeed but then if you are willing to work hard and learn new skills you will be successful.

The basic background behaviourally to be a good consultant is determination, the ability to listen, resilience, honesty, pro-activity, monetary drive (not with everyone but it will help) and competitiveness.

The two that are most important here are determination and the ability to listen, without these two you will find life very difficult.

So you think you have the behavioural attributes and you are keen to start a career in recruitment, now let's assess the skills you can develop on the job and tips to be successful. If you are working as an agency side recruiter you will be exposed to much more of a sales position and with a sales position comes hard targets/high expectations to deliver.

You will be expected to develop business from scratch (most of the time) and start making money for your employer as soon as possible.

Right, before you start your role do as much research as to your market, companies in the market and the skills profile to the type of person you will be recruiting on a day-to-day basis. The more you do at this point the faster you will hit the ground running.

On starting, make sure you develop a disciplined day plan designed every morning/evening, break up the day into segments and make sure you stick to this. It is very easy to get sidetracked, but keeping focus is very important to being a success, the more focus you have the more identity you have for what you want to achieve which will mean better results.

Be open and honest with everyone you deal with and treat people with respect, if you really do stay in recruitment for years you will be surprised how many times you will come across the same people, so remember what goes around comes around.

When developing new business, try to do something different and stand out from the crowd. I would say this is one of the ways you can really put yourself in that 20% of high achievers, don't just pick up the phone and mindlessly cold call. Do your research; read industry press, websites regarding fast growth companies, attend networking events in your sector, market your services via email in a way recipients will open their mail - use headings such as "as discussed" etc. You see you have to be slightly clever about doing things, if you employ a variety of tactics and work hard I guarantee you will see a healthy reward. The reasons for failure are on your shoulders ultimately, if things aren't happening for you then CHANGE your tactics.

I have really focused on the agency side consultant, so let's look at how to be a good on-site recruiter.

You will be less sales focused from a new business perspective but still will feel the pressure of targets.

To be good in this market you must be much more consultative and client facing (you may sit with a client), with the ability to multi-task successfully as often you will have a wide range of open requirements. You will be dealing with recruiters yourself so the ability to communicate effectively to them and handle other stakeholders in the process is important.

On-site recruiters need to balance the use of external agencies and resourcing by their own methods successfully, as they are judged not only on filling roles but cutting costs - not making as much money as possible like an agency consultant.

You should be communicative, open for trying new resourcing methods and pro-active in your approach.

Hopefully this provides an overview of what makes a good recruitment consultant and the little tips that could help you be more successful. Remember like any job it is not easy being successful, but if you have the drive and ambition to succeed then you can make anything happen.
About the Author
Edwin Abl is a Director of Consegna UK which is a leading recruitment consultancy specializing in jobs in Management Consulting and the Technology sectors.
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