As a graduate, you have the world at your feet. While this is exciting, you may be unsure of your next career move or overwhelmed by your options. In this guide, we explain how a recruitment career could be right up your street, no matter what your degree subject is. We explain the advantages of working in the industry, what you can expect from a recruitment role and what it takes to be successful.
Why start a career in recruitment?
The recruitment sector brought £43 billion into the UK economy in 2021, employing around 200,000 people in over 30,000 businesses. The figures mark a 6.5 % increase from 2020 with further growth expected. (source) The tech hiring landscape, in particular, is becoming more fruitful as more companies seek valuable IT skills from their employees. It’s an industry that is thriving but what else draws graduates to the world of recruitment?
Access to quick progression
In recruitment, it’s not unusual for people to progress quickly into more senior roles. Unlike other industries, performance determines possibilities of promotion, not length of service. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been employed, or your age. So right from the start of your new job you can make your mark. Hit your targets consistently, and you can easily move up into a more senior position, dealing with bigger clients and earning a larger salary too – the average promotion time from an entry-level role to billing consultant at La Fosse is just 11 months. So, from day one, be prepared to put in the effort, pick up new skills quickly and show that you are keen to progress. Fast promotion means fast career advancement, and the chance to deal with more important clients and higher-profile vacancies.
According to recent surveys, the average graduate starting salary is between £21,000 and £25,000 with the average graduate recruiter salary at around £26,289. These graduates can expect to earn between £22,000 and £28,000 for the first year or so, with added bonuses. Once you're promoted to a billing consultant role (usually after around a year), these salary prospects increase dramatically when you hit sales targets. Most companies offer a basic salary (at La Fosse this is from £23k - £28k) along with a fee for each vacancy you fill.
No two days are the same, with a constant stream of new job seekers and clients with positions to fill. And you won’t just be stuck in the office either. Most recruiters split their time between interviewing new job seekers, presenting to clients, site visits to understand operations or negotiating contracts.
The chance to develop transferable skills
If at some point in the future you decide you’d prefer to move out of recruitment into another industry, then you’ll have lots of transferable skills like negotiation, time management, interviewing and development skills. Working in a range of industries also gives a clear understanding of what many different companies do.
Working to clear objectives and goals
We’ve all had jobs where we’re not sure how long a project will last for, or even the overall purpose of the work. Recruitment is different in that each project is very specific, with a defined outcome. This can hugely raise job satisfaction levels and feelings of accomplishment.
Discovering how lots of different companies operate
Most recruitment consultants work with a range of clients, spread across different industry sectors. You’ll work fairly closely with your clients to understand what they do on a daily basis and help them find the perfect person to fill a gap. This provides you with a unique opportunity to get behind the scenes in different types of businesses before you choose to specialise in a particular industry.
Technology is rapidly changing the way we all work. Many jobs which were commonplace a few decades ago are no longer around. We’re always going to need people who can put applicants together with companies trying to recruit. A large part of the job depends on soft skills, interviewing applicants and getting to grips with what makes them tick. This isn’t something which can be easily computerised.
Plenty of opportunities to develop
One of the advantages which graduates have over other people in the recruitment industry is that you’ve demonstrated your ability to learn and retain information through getting your degree. That’s all going to continue when you start in recruitment. As well as getting to grips with the recruitment agency systems, you’ll be expected to be quickly up to speed with your clients’ businesses too. You’ll also get behind the scenes in a range of companies which is something your fellow graduate won’t ever experience.
What do you actually do in recruitment?
Recruitment is all about getting people into jobs, but what exactly does this entail day-to-day? If you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a consultant, here’s what you can expect:
To meet clients
This is one of the main tasks of a recruitment consultant. Clients are the people who have job vacancies to fill. As a recruitment consultant, it’s your job to understand the way their business works, and how the role they need to be filled fits into the overall picture. Meetings with clients could be anything from a 5-minute catch-up over coffee, to a full day in their offices. Most recruitment consultants check in with their clients at least daily when they are actively recruiting, and weekly otherwise.
To meet candidates
The other side of the equation is the candidates – the people looking for new jobs. Your first contact is usually by email or phone. Depending on the role, applicants might respond to a job posting, or you might actively headhunt them from another company. Recruitment consultants often meet candidates face to face, either in their offices or in an external location like a café. This is where your people skills will come into play, as you try to understand exactly what makes your applicant tick and where they might best fit.
Recruitment consultants are the go-between, and it’s their job to negotiate between client and applicant. This doesn’t just mean wrangling over salaries, but can also include notice periods, additional benefits or other contractual issues. A recruitment consultant’s commission isn’t paid until the applicant has been in the job for a certain period, so don’t think that when a position is offered and accepted that your job is done.
To make sales and find new clients
Recruitment consultants are also expected to do what they can to bring new business into the company. This could mean calling up local businesses to ask them about their current arrangements, going out and doing presentations, attending local small business or networking events and being active on social media.
To get your vacancies out there
Gone are the days of using local newspapers to advertise job vacancies. Modern recruitment consultants use a wide range of methods to find people to fill vacancies. You’ll be expected to build your online presence and personal brand to give yourself the best reach, use social media and internet sites, and respond to tweets, emails and messages quickly.
To career counsel candidates
One of the trickier aspects of being a recruitment consultant falls under the broad heading of counselling. A big part of the role is helping applicants understand what types of jobs they are looking for and helping them progress towards their desired goals. It’s also about identifying experience or personality traits in someone and matching those to the culture of a company with a vacancy. This may be in an industry which the applicant hasn’t previously considered. If that’s the case, you’ll have to draw on your own background knowledge about the industry and business.
How to excel as a recruitment consultant
Starting a new career is exciting but is often nerve-racking too, especially when you’re a graduate and new to the industry. It’s reassuring to know what your first days, weeks and months will bring. Here are some of the key skills and attributes you will need in your phase as a recruitment consultant.
Develop your organisation skills
One of the skills you’ll have to draw on most often in your role as a recruitment consultant is organisation. You’ll be juggling several clients with various vacancies, seeing new applicants, speaking to prospects, answering emails, and making phone calls – it’s pretty full-on. The key is to find a system which works for you, whether that be post-it notes stuck to a board or a digital to-do list like To-Do or Trello. La Fosse has an extensive training programme to get all your skills up to scratch.
Work on your people skills
One thing you can definitely expect from your recruitment consultant job is the chance to meet new people. And we don’t just mean your colleagues. Recruitment consultants speak to dozens of people every day, from job seekers to HR staff and senior managers in your client companies. It’s the perfect role for anyone who likes to meet new people and help them either find a new position or move forward in recruiting the perfect employee.
Foster an openness to learning
Working in recruitment means no two days are the same. In most jobs, you’re only learning about the industry you are employed in. Recruitment is different; you could be working with clients across a range of industry sectors and with applicants from many backgrounds. This allows you to learn about different industries in a way that no other job does. As well as getting an insight into a range of industries, being a recruitment consultant helps you develop lots of different portable skills. You’ll also develop your skills in negotiating with clients and applicants, and reaching mutual agreements. You will also grow your technology skills, both using the company’s software and external job sites, social media and other websites and platforms.
Develop your resilience and tenacity
Recruitment is often very rewarding, but like any role, there are challenges too. Perhaps a candidate is not keen on a role you think they would be a perfect fit for. Or maybe a client does not feel a candidate is right for a position. You will not be able to control everything, despite your best efforts sometimes. Your resilience in these circumstances will be key and like other skills, you can build on this over time and become more tenacious as a result. This will enable you to stay motivated and move on to your next goal.
Start your recruitment career with La Fosse
As technology and digital recruitment specialists, La Fosse is one of the fastest growing businesses in Europe. We want to make sure that the recruitment consultants who work with us enjoy plenty of perks. Here are the benefits you can expect:
1. Getting fit for free
That’s right, free gym passes are always available.
2. Knowing your development path
With a world-class development programme, all employees have a clear path set for them on day one.
3. Working in an open-plan office
For maximum transparency, you’re sitting with colleagues of all levels.
4. Equity is shared with everyone
40% is shared amongst all employees, so everyone gets a piece of the pie.
5. Getting promoted from within
65% of LF’s management team is promoted from within the company.
6. Commuting benefits galore
With the Cycle to Work Scheme and season ticket loans, you’ll save money no matter which way you commute to work.
7. Giving something back
You can get involved in charities with company-wide partnerships. La Fosse has an ongoing partnership with Know Thyself (a charity to help people overcome stress and anxiety in the workplace), MOET school (an orphanage in Malawi), BEAM (supporting homeless people with the future and work opportunities), and Bookmark (a charity helping children to read). You can also participate in many of the team's initiatives or suggest your own, through fundraisers and all kinds of athletic events.
8. Getting your back rubbed
Literally. Free monthly massages and hypnotherapy sessions will keep your mind, body and soul at peace. Say no more.
9. Cheersing to a successful week
Because every week is worth celebrating. The company-wide wrap-up meetings are a time for sharing company news and achievements from the week (and plenty of soft drinks if alcohol’s not your thing!)
10. More than recruiters
We've recently expanded our offerings beyond recruitment to fully support our clients from the classroom to the boardroom. We find the right talent solution, from the C-suite and tech leaders of today to the junior rising stars of tomorrow, also solving future business needs with outstanding and diverse talent.
Bring your friends to La Fosse
Another benefit to working at La Fosse? Friends. We believe that good friends make great colleagues, which is why we would love you to get your mates on board - or even apply and interview as a group. Sounds like a good idea, right? We think so. Here’s why.
1. Friends get the best out of each other
“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me,” said the car tycoon Henry Ford. Well, you might have said that 100 years ago Henry, but we think it’s the way forward in 2016.
We all have friends that bring out the best in us, who boost our confidence, energise and inspire us. Why save that dynamic for the pub on a Saturday night? Bring that incredible, idea-generating relationship into the office and find yourself and your friends motivated to work better and go further - striving to achieve something amazing together. It’s a win for you, it’s a win for La Fosse.
2. You already have chemistry
Good friends have great chemistry. They’ve also put time and effort into building their relationship - getting to know each other, earning trust and understanding and gaining a shared history. Well, working relationships aren’t that different.
Come to La Fosse with a friend - or even a few - and you’ll be one step ahead of the game. You know how each other thinks, where your strengths and weaknesses lie and how to make each other better. Bring that knowledge and chemistry to us. It just makes sense.
3. 'The Recruit of Happiness'
La Fosse is big into happiness in the workplace. It’s why year after year we are recognised as the 13th Best Large Companies to Work For in the UK (2022, Best Companies). Yes, we’re proud of the recognition - but that’s not why we’re on this mission.
Treating people well makes business sense - happy people are more productive - but it is also just the right thing to do. Hiring friends who care about and support each other fits perfectly into our values-based culture. Mates make each other happy. If you work alongside them, you are going to feel happier at the office and become the best you can be. So simple, so life-changing.
If you’ve got a tight group of friends, you’d like to not only hang with BUT also work with, send your CVs or profiles over to email@example.com. It’s a no-brainer!
Working as a graduate recruitment consultant is varied and rewarding. It’s a career path that will keep you engaged and challenged while offering plenty of room to develop and progress. At companies like La Fosse, you will have access to fast-tracked training programmes where you will master an abundance of transferable skills too. Gaining an entry-level role can be tough but your tenacity, communication skills and ability to time manage will go a long way in closing the sale for a new, fulfilling career.