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Industry Spotlight

Jobulo looks at how workers progress in particular industries and how someone looking to excel in a certain profession can gain the advantage.

Industry Spotlight: Working as a Recruitment Consultant

matthew-fitchWorking in Recruitment can provide lots of career progression opportunities. With so many candidates looking for a job, what does it take to work in the industry? And what skills do you need?

Jobulo caught up with Matthew Fitch, a Recruitment Consultant based in Singapore, to find out.

What is Your Career Background?

I trained and graduated as a Journalist and spent a year working in Journalism but needed to switch to something more lucrative. I moved to a recruitment company in London in 2008 where I stayed for three years before moving overseas to Singapore. Now I’ve been out here for two years recruiting people for the supply chain industry and really enjoying it.

Why Did You Want to Work in Recruitment?

Initially I wanted to work in it because of the people I met and the challenge of learning a new job. But since then I’ve found lots about the job which I enjoy. Recruitment is constantly fast-paced and is extremely challenging, as well as being more corporate than my old life as a Journalist. It’s given me the opportunity to move across the world, getting to know how lots of different companies and government departments work, and the rewards can also be good.

How Did You Get into Recruitment?

I approached a recruiter who specialised in placing people in the recruitment industry, a rec-to-rec. I applied accidentally to an internet advert which he’d posted, not really realising what I’d applied for, but the rec-to-rec was really helpful and explained the industry and role to me before fixing me up with his client.

What Qualities do You Think a Recruiter Likes to See in an Interview?

Softer skills and personality are the biggest things which we look for when interviewing people as potential recruiters, and the chemistry & credibility you build with the interviewer are all-important. Being able to structure your answers properly, give clear and relevant examples and communicate clearly are amongst the most important things. In my own interviews with recruitment companies I always make sure to show plenty of enthusiasm. You should also avoid overselling yourself but demonstrate that you’ve done your research and can talk confidently about your own background.

As a Recruitment Consultant, What are Your Responsibilities?

I’m responsible for winning business for my company, in other words, persuading companies that they should let us recruit staff for them. As part of that I’m also responsible for generating candidates and meeting prospective jobseekers whose skills and experience will be useful to my clients. I’m then responsible for identifying the right person for the right job and managing the application process to maximise the chance of success.

What Do You Enjoy About the Job?

I enjoy the variety of my job and the constant challenges and issues which are thrown your way. As a Recruiter your product is ultimately the jobseekers you represent, and as such they’re an extremely unpredictable product. Trying to get to know people and understand their skills, gain their trust and help them during a stressful job search, is not easy. The industry is also quite competitive and there is a constant drive to perform and hit targets.

What’s the Hardest Part of the Job?

Handling the stress and disappointment of assignments which don’t work out, jobs which you cannot fill or relationships which become strained. It’s a job of constant highs and lows with little time to relax, and it can be tough for some people to cope with.

You See Hundreds of CVs – What Makes a CV Stand Out from the Crowd?

Clear presentation, accuracy and attention to detail and highlighting relevant skills. We field a lot of applications from completely unsuitable candidates without relevant skills and experience, with poorly laid-out CVs, and it becomes frustrating.

Can You Share Any Telephone Interview Tips?

Telephone interviews are tricky because your communication is limited, connections aren’t always perfect and it can be tougher to build rapport. They also tend to be shorter so you’ve generally got less time to strike up some chemistry. My advice is to listen clearly, don’t be too anxious and let the conversation flow naturally. Keep your answers clear and slightly shorter than you would in a face-to-face interview.

What’s Your Advice for Someone Wanting to Work as a Recruiter?

Speak to people you know who are already in the industry and have done it for a good length of time, to really get a balanced idea of what it’s about. If you think it’s for you, try speaking to a rec-to-rec company or approach a handful of agencies who work in the fields you’d be interested to recruit for. The larger recruitment companies all have schemes for hiring graduates and first-time applicants so do your research thoroughly and just make contact with them. If your personality and temperament are a good fit, you should find plenty of companies willing to interview you.