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So what does it take to be a good recruiter….? You might be surprised!

Julian Smith photo 

Many people ask me what it’ takes to be a recruitment consultant – which is an entirely different question to “what it takes to be a good recruitment consultant?” so I’ve decided that I should write a semi-indulgent blog article to lift the lid on one of the most maligned professions I can think of.

Put simply, we recruitment consultants are placed in the same bracket as tax inspectors, traffic wardens or estate agents. We’re seen as either “necessary evils” or “bottom feeders”, and whilst many of my fellow recruiters (and, perhaps, people I’ve known in the past – ahem!) might deserve such a reputation, I feel that the time is right to shed a little light on the skills it takes to be a good recruiter…especially since we’re growing and expanding our team, proving that you can be ethical, popular and successful all at once!

If this article appeals to you, you might even want to share it with talented individuals whom you know, since we’re looking to take on several new positions for I Am Recruiting!

Perhaps the best way to describe a recruitment consultant, is through a list of other job titles. We wear a lot of different hats, during the course of a typical week, and since our business is other people’s professions, I think the perfect way to describe what we do best is to use different professions to help you understand exactly what we do. So, in no particular order, a recruiter is part…

…Psychologist: We’re often told by a client what they want, but we need to dig deeper, and explore why they’re saying what they say. When a client says “we need another Barbara”, does that literally mean that they want another Barbara, in terms of team fit, skill set, personality or what? We need to talk through the issues within a role, a team, an organisation, etc. and we have to probe, to get the client to really think about what they need – which is very often different to what they say they need! This brings us neatly to the next role;

…Translator: one of my favourite challenges with recruitment is when you are trying to recruit somebody to work with two different people. Wow! You think your job is tough? Then try taking two entirely different briefs, and translating them into a single brief, for which you then have to find somebody with a personality and skill set – and the pre-requisite experience, of course – which will appeal to both parties. None of that will happen without the next skill set, required, that of…

…Researcher: so much of my every-day role is research – an organisation, a role, a specific term, a candidate’s history or skill set – and that’s just for the jobs I might have ‘in hand’! As for the business development, if I tried to sell my services to a client whose business I didn’t understand, I really wouldn’t get very far, would I? Which brings us on to…

…Salesperson: I’ll be blunt; I have to sell my services to a client before I even get the role (“why should we choose I Am Recruiting?”), and then have to sell the client’s role to a potential candidate. We’re not done there, because I’ll usually have to sell the candidate into the client, and again, when the offer comes, I might have to sell the offer to the chosen candidate – which of course, takes all the skills of a…

…Negotiator: We broker deals. We negotiate our fees up front, which is often the toughest part for an ethical recruiter like me – and we also bring people together, but it’s never as smooth as people suspect. The deals we broker are life-changing decisions, and both parties have something to say about that, which is why we’re also part…

…Counsellor: another of the favourite parts of my role is when clients and candidates confide in me. They tell me I’m not like other recruiters – and I readily agree! You know that you’re doing an excellent job when a Chief Executive comes to you and asks, “Julian, who would you choose?” or a candidate says, “What would you do in my position?” A position of such trust requires a…

…Tightrope-walker: because you have to keep your wits about you, and tread a careful path in front of you. A good recruiter will play ‘devil’s advocate’, rather than push their own agenda, and I would rather talk a candidate out of accepting a job which was wrong for them, rather than thinking of the fee. This is because I think long-term, like a…

…Strategist: Forcing a round peg into a square-shaped hole will never work. Clients and candidates will appreciate your honesty if you tell them that you can’t find the perfect candidate or if the ‘chosen one’ turns down a position – but nobody ever forgives being lied to, being mis-sold a role or candidate, just so that you can make a quick buck. I have worked with people in the past who never understood this, and were always jealous of my repeat business, whilst they had to constantly seek new clients! Client loyalty is something which I love, but since we’re growing I Am Recruiting a huge part of my role requires me to be a…

…Marketeer: Approximately 50% of my time is spent marketing in some way, shape or form. That is, in fact, exactly what I’m doing now. By sharing an insight into my day job and the skills it takes, I’m also hoping that somewhere, somebody thinks “Julian sounds like a good chap, perhaps he’s the recruiter we’ve been looking for!”, and decides to engage I Am Recruiting! But the reason I spend half of my time on marketing is because I live and breathe the I Am brand, whether I’m at one of our networking events, meeting a client or a candidate for the first time, advertising a role or writing an email. In fact, I might have half a dozen roles at any one time, all of which are at different stages, and maybe conversations with 15-20 candidates and clients for each role. You’ve guessed it, I’m also part…

…Juggler: and occasionally, I do drop the balls! Still, it’s the sheer variety of duties which keeps me going. A typical day might consist of research, writing marketing copy or emails, translating the needs of a client onto paper, interviewing candidates, negotiating fees, advertising, formatting CVs, proof-reading applications, cold-calling, arranging interviews, chasing feedback, fire-fighting, and much, much more. In short, a good recruiter is also part administrator, part copy-writer, part proof-reader, part matchmaker, and a whole host of other roles you’d never in a million years associate with the world of recruitment!

If you’ve followed me to the end (congratulations to those of you who have!) and what I’ve written has resonated with you, then perhaps you have what it takes to be one of I Am Recruiting’s new recruits. If so, we’d love to hear from you. We’re growing rapidly, but sustainably, and have several new and exciting positions at different levels, so why not get in touch, by email, on julian@iamenterprises.co.uk or by calling 020 7148 6749 and asking to speak with one of our lovely team!

 

With a recruitment career spanning 13 years, Julian Smith coaches professionals on their career paths, as well as helping people who by their own definition, find themselves ‘stuck in a rut’. He runs CV workshops and 1-2-1s, as well as working with Life Coach of the Year, Charlotta Hughes, on the popular ‘Find a Job you’ll Love’ workshop. Details of all of the I Am Group’s events can be found here.

 

What is I Am all about?

 

What do we do? We love connecting people in charities, social enterprises and not-for-profits to learn, share knowledge, make meaningful connections and find jobs!  We organise regular social networking and learning events and help people find jobs through our recruitment services.

Looking for work? Check out our vacancies here. 

Keep in touch. The best way to reach us is on LinkedIn twitter@theiamgroup and on Facebook. You can subscribe to our mailing list and blog here (and if you’re interested in writing a guest blog post for us get in touch).  Visit our website here.

 

www.iamenterprises.co.uk

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