What is an Customer Recruitment Consultant?
Recruitment consultants need to possess great people skills and the motivation and drive to chase high on-target earnings (OTE) and performance-related bonuses.
As a recruitment consultant, you are responsible for understanding client company vacancies and their recruitment needs and requirements. You then have the task of finding the ideal candidate and matching them to that role. Your role will be centred on relationship-building with both candidates and clients to help build your portfolio.
In order to find the perfect candidates for your client’s vacancies, you will have to write advertising copy to share on a range of media. You will also need to be comfortable with networking, headhunting and using your current network to gain referrals. You’ll screen candidates, interview them, run background checks and finally match them to clients.
You will also need to provide advice to your clients and candidates on salary levels, training requirements and career opportunities.
As a recruitment consultant, you’re the vital link between clients and candidates. The role is demanding and diverse. It involves:
- Using sales, business development, marketing techniques and networking to attract business from client companies
- Visiting clients to build and develop positive relationships
- Developing a good understanding of client companies, their industry, what they do, their work culture and environment
- Advertising vacancies by drafting and placing adverts
- Using social media to advertise positions, attract candidates and build relationships
- Headhunting – identifying and approaching suitable candidates who may already be in work
- Using candidate databases to match the right person to the client’s vacancy
- Receiving and reviewing applications, managing interviews and tests and creating a shortlist of candidates for the client
- Requesting references and checking the suitability of applicants before submitting their details to the client
- Briefing the candidate about the responsibilities, salary and benefits of the job
- Preparing CVs and correspondence to forward to clients regarding suitable applicants
- Organising interviews for candidates as requested by the client
- Informing candidates about the results of interviews
- Negotiating pay and salary rates and finalising arrangements between clients and candidates
- Offering advice to both clients and candidates on pay rates, training and career progression
- Working towards and exceeding targets that may relate to the number of candidates placed, a value to be billed to clients or business leads generated
- Review recruitment policies to ensure the effectiveness of selection techniques and recruitment programmes.
Starting salaries for a Recruitment Consultant will vary depending on sector and location. However, your salary will include both a basic salary plus a performance-related bonus or commission. This can either be an individual, team or branch bonus. Basic salaries will be considerably higher if you are based in London.
- A typical basic salary for trainee recruitment consultants is between £15,000 to £20,000 on average.
- A fully trained recruitment consultant can expect to earn between £22,000 to £28,000 per annum, with senior consultants earning in the region of £28,000 to £35,0000 – this is excluding bonuses or commission.
- Managers with between 10 to 15 years’ experience can earn more than £40,000 as a basic salary.
- When bonuses and commission are taken into account, the total average salary can increase to £38,000 for consultants and £60,000+ for managers.
You may also be eligible for other company benefits such as ongoing training, a company car, mobile phones, laptops etc. You will also have the opportunity to attend regular company awards and outings for top billing consultants.
You can expect to work the typical 9am to 5pm but you will be required to work out of hours if you are needed by your clients or candidates. Therefore, you should be prepared to work both early morning and late evenings.
Self-employment or freelance work is possible, but only for consultants who have expert knowledge of a specialist sector. Career breaks are possible in certain circumstances but are uncommon due to the dynamic nature of the sector.
What to expect
- The role can be challenging, but also exciting as the profession is fast-paced, target driven and demanding.
- Work is office based but time is also spent outside the office, meeting with clients and interviewing candidates, therefore a smart personal appearance is important.
- Opportunities exist throughout the UK, although more jobs are available in London.
- Travel within the working day may be required to meet with clients.
- Overseas travel is less common unless you are working within travel-related industries or for a niche market. Overseas work is possible, however, with large companies that have overseas branches.
You do not need a degree to become a recruitment consultant. Recruitment consultant roles are also open to graduates regardless of degree subject. Rather than qualifications, recruitment companies are looking for candidates with good people skills and those who are determined and driven by sales and KPIs. Applying to an agency that specialises in a market or industry related to your degree subject, for example, IT or engineering may increase your chances.
Postgraduate study is not necessary, you will probably find that gaining relevant skills and experience will be more valuable to employers.
You'll need to show evidence of the following:
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- Sales and negotiation skills
- A goal-orientated approach to work
- The ability to handle multiple priorities
- Problem-solving ability
- The ability to meet deadlines and targets
- Ambition and the determination to succeed
- Confidence and self-motivation
- Time management and organisational skills
- Teamworking skills
You must also enjoy working in a high-pressure environment and the responsibility that comes with it.
Work experience will go a long way when interviewing for a recruitment consultant position.
Any experience in sales, marketing or other customer-facing roles will be useful for starting your career in recruitment. If you played a role in any student societies this also shows you have the necessary communication skills to succeed.
Recruitment consultancies often accept applications from those without recruitment industry experience, if they demonstrate the right combination of skills and personal qualities.
When entering the industry you will have to start at a trainee level. As the role is KPI-driven, progression in the company will largely depend on your performance and whether you are meeting and exceeding set targets.
Career development will depend on the size and structure of the company, if you are working for a small consultancy you may need to move to a larger organisation in order to progress. Your ability to sustain a strong performance is vital.
Almost 150,000 people work in recruitment consultancy. The industry provides services to all business sectors, including IT, teaching, finance, engineering and logistics.
Employers range from national and international recruitment agencies to small local firms, and from specialist sector-specific agencies to those that recruit for many sectors.
Large consultancies, such as Adecco, Randstad and Michael Page have branches worldwide and cover a range of sectors including marketing, accounting and secretarial and IT.
Medium-sized consultancies usually have branches nationwide, while small consultancies often have just one office providing a broad-based service to a variety of local employers.
Look for job vacancies at:
- Careers in Recruitment
- People Management Jobs
- Recruitment International
- The Recruitment Job
- 4 Recruitment Jobs
Some agencies specialise in recruiting for recruitment positions (known as recruitment to recruitment or R2R).
It may also be worth contacting agencies on a speculative basis.
You will have the opportunity for on-the-job training as a trainee consultant. You will also get continued training throughout your career.
Short courses on specific aspects of the industry, run in-house or by external training providers, may cover:
- Business planning
- Designing an assessment centre
- Employment law
- Interviewing skills
- Negotiation and sales techniques
- Psychometric assessment
- Running a payroll
You can also get further training through the chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). Courses are undertaken while working in the recruitment industry, rather than as a requirement to enter.
For example, REC offers the Level 2 Certificate in Recruitment Resourcing, the Level 3 Certificate in Recruitment Practice, the Level 4 Diploma in Recruitment Management and the Level 5 Diploma in Recruitment Leadership.
You do not need a degree to become a recruitment consultant. However, if you are going to university recruitment roles are open to graduates of all subjects. Some higher national diploma or degree subjects may be particularly relevant. Below are some of the courses on offer that might help bolster your CV.