You’ve no doubt heard some of the rhetoric used on what recruitment is like. High incentives, a fast-paced, competitive environment and long hours will often feature. But what is the reality of working as a recruiter? We got the lowdown from a selection of our consultants at La Fosse. Hold tight…
Expect high rewards
The potential rewards in recruitment are motivators for many starting out in the sector. Hard work and performance are recognised through accessible career progression, bonus and commission schemes and employee value propositions such as wellbeing packages and travel opportunities. However, these aren’t the only returns.
David Roberts, Director of the Contract Division began his career as a graduate at La Fosse in 2010 and is the winner of the Most Inspiring Director at the Recruiter Investing in Talent Awards. Of his own initial experience, he said:
“What I wasn’t expecting was how rewarding the career would be and how much I would learn from the people I worked with every day. I think a lot of this has to do with La Fosse, but I believe in general the industry is really well suited for ambitious people with an entrepreneurial spirit who are keen to rapidly develop their career.”
Be prepared for rapid development
Although the rewards are plentiful, new consultants are encouraged to develop their skills rapidly too. David says: “I was La Fosse's first graduate hire in 2010, and now the business is built on an 80% associate [entry-level] hiring model. This means our success is dependent on finding people who love learning, and developing them to an exceptional standard.” Of the Learning and Development function at La Fosse, he says:
“ They don't just train you to be a great recruiter – there are also modules on how to be an effective leader, manage others, how to be as productive as possible, and specialist modules to learn about different parts of the technology industry.”
Be ready to improve your resilience
In a recruitment environment your resilience will develop naturally and support you with tasks such as speaking to senior figures, cold calling, and providing honest feedback for candidates. Ryan Grant, a consultant in La Fosse’s architecture division says:
“When things are tough the best thing to do – and what I did then – is to keep things simple. Keep plugging away, regardless of the knockbacks. Keep building relationships and adding value for your clients.”
Business development will take patience
Business development can be challenging, especially in the early days. Consultants can feel as if they’re providing something of value to candidates, yet asking for something from clients. Some candidates may drop out and things can go wrong, but these circumstances can help recruiters learn more and that long-term deal could end up being your proudest moment! Using your senior candidates as eyes and ears in the market for leads and referrals supports with business development progress too.
The BD Accelerator programme at La Fosse helps recruiters become confident cold calling and often helps them achieve unexpected results. For example, reaching out to hiring managers who have fallen off the radar and turning these into new deals further down the line. Although a recruiter’s first deal can take time, being patient and staying committed to goals will allow the results to flow, often leading to a stronger sense of reward.
Your emotional intelligence will play a key role
The importance of emotional intelligence has increased in all work place settings, and is particularly beneficial in recruitment. Ryan says:
“There’s a reason that you have two ears and one mouth. When you’re excited by being in a new job there can be a temptation to talk about it - and it’s great to be chatty in certain situations. But you are surrounded by people who know a lot - a lot more than you do. It's a brilliant opportunity, which you have the potential to gain a lot from. So, sit tight, open your ears, and listen. You’ll improve exponentially if you do.”
Ryan also says as a consultant, you should take care of your emotional side, adding:
"This job can be stressful, so find something that lets you chill out. It can be anything - getting out of the office for an hour, reading a book – at La Fosse, we get a free gym membership, massages, hypnotherapy and Sanctus counselling, so it's finding what works for you. For me it’s meditation - it’s great at giving you headspace.”
You need to think big (and small)
A career in recruitment means you will need to be flexible in your thinking, and shift your perspective on occasion. Rosie O’Donoghue works in La Fosses’ Contract Division and joined in 2016. She says;
"Big picture goals are good to keep you focused on the long-term, but they're too vague and don’t help structure our time in the short-term. If I break down a goal into its various processes, then I find I'm much more likely to reach it.”
Louis Rado concurs on the importance of ticking off the small things. He says:
“If you want to succeed it’s about getting the little things right, consistently. That’s what the best consultants do. Follow a strict process: come in at the right time every day; listen to those around you; dot every "i"; tick every box. Each of these things are little pebbles but they add up to being a big cairn.
However, Rosie also advises taking time to appreciate the big wins too.
“It's easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day that you forget how far you've come. When I started, I was tasked with building the UX/UI contracts desk from scratch and it was quite daunting. In the end, it took me three months to do my resource deals, and I was promoted within nine. This wasn't easy though, especially at the beginning; it's hard to build a contractor book from nothing. But now I’ve been here for just over two years and have 25 out (a La Fosse record I believe). I think it's important after each milestone to be proud of what you've accomplished and then use it to drive you forward.”
You’re always building relationships
People and relationships feature heavily in a recruitment career. Positive connections with clients, candidates and colleagues will help you develop and flourish. In a recruitment setting, there are many different personalities you will come into contact with and learn from. Being able to speak to clients, and enjoying those interactions builds rapport. These connections may not produce results in the moment, but can come to fruition later thanks to the strong relationship you have spent time building.
Candidate relationships are equally as important. Louis says:
“If you treat people well, they will come back to you - but it’s also the right thing to do. It's simple really, just treat everyone how you’d like to be treated yourself. At some point in our lives, all of us are going to be candidates.”
Lean into an accessible culture
Leaning on the culture and asking for help when you need it is highly valuable too. David says find ...
“A culture that will support you through the tougher moments and reward you for the good ones – that basically balances being ambitious with being caring. We're fortunate at La Fosse that people can depend on the culture to support them - even very senior individuals make themselves accessible to give advice, and hierarchies really aren't that obvious (our CEO hot-desks, so sits with a different team each day!).”
“It doesn’t matter if someone is your peer, or a director, even the CEO - ask them. We're lucky at La Fosse to have the kind of culture where people are always willing to give you their time and advice, something which isn't apparent in every company, so you're missing out if you don't make good use of it.”
What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in recruitment?
As well as tapping into the culture, David advises finding a high-quality team to work with:
“Having the industry's best and brightest around you, drives your own performance to a much higher standard - you're not going to improve unless you have great role models to look up to, and an opportunity to learn from these individuals.”
"If you just keep working hard and stay focused, it will pay off. People always say that in recruitment, what you get out is what you put in – it's one of the reasons I wanted to do it - and it’s true.Also, lean on your team! We're lucky that La Fosse is a really supportive and collaborative environment, so don't be afraid to reach out. If you need advice, a mentor or just someone to go for a quick coffee and a chat with, there is always someone around to help."
Finally, Louis adds:
"I think to really excel, the most important thing is to remember that there is no right or wrong way to be in this job. If you see someone exceed it doesn’t mean you should embody them precisely. The most successful consultants at La Fosse are all very good – and all chalk and cheese.”