I’ve now officially completed my first month in recruitment and, contrary to all the warnings, it’s off to a great start. I haven’t lost all faith in humanity and my voice isn’t hoarse from cold calling people in the middle of dinner. Strangest of all I’m actually having fun with it, for all the talk about hard-line sales techniques and cold calling patterns the focus is far more on the people; of course, everyone wants to make money but in reality the human element of recruitment is by far the most important yet it’s the one nobody seems to mention.
When you hear the horror stories of 14-hour days and minimums of a thousand calls etc it’s easy to miss that “the art of recruitment” is getting to know people and finding out what it is they need, either as a candidate or as the client you’re recruiting for.
My training was a lot longer than I had expected, I was under the impression I’d walk in, have a phone slapped into my hand and told to start dialling, in reality I didn’t touch the phone until halfway through my second week and the candidate didn’t answer anyway… Which brings me to my first tip for anyone else new, answering machines are great because you can re-record your message until you get it right, meaning as far as the candidate is concerned my first ever message was remarkably slick. Everyone in the office however got to hear the 15 terrible attempts before I was happy. In all honesty though the calls get a lot easier if you dive straight into it and before long you stop worrying about coming across as awkward.
Fortunately, my training covered the details of the industry I’m recruiting for, which is definitely worthwhile to understand the people you’re trying to contact and means you don’t have to google everything they’re saying. There are a lot of skills you need to learn in recruitment and doing the proper training can help with that no end: Boolean searches and being a sourcing ninja (have a look at the “Black Belt” blog) stop being unusual concepts within a few days and things start to fall into place. By the time I was back from the 2-day course I felt ready to dive on into the world of recruitment, which I did, admittedly scooting my chair across the office to question my colleagues every few minutes.
That’s the big tip for starting in recruitment: ask questions about everything, if it doesn’t make sense to you then someone will be happy to explain it to you. It’s recruitment everyone loves to talk!
Eddy Shuttleworth is a Resourcing Consultant in the Legal Division at Harvey John.
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