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What I learnt from my first 8 months in recruitment

Like me, you’re now steadily progressing through your first year of recruitment. You have a strong ambitious desire to achieve success, and you know what needs to be done. You see a clear path in front of you and envision yourself at the helm of a booming desk. However, if like me you tend to get overexcited, then you’ll soon figure out your main obstacles to overcome.


I’m now 8 months in on Harvey John’s Indirect Tax & Tax Technology desk and I think it’s fair enough to say I chose a niche sector to recruit within. Having said this, the extensive training we undertake here at Harvey John both internally and externally, firmly indicates that you need to find your specialist market! With 30,000+ recruitment firms in the UK alone, you must ask yourself the question, what do I do differently? How am I going to distinguish myself from what could be perceived as an overcrowded market?


For me, my direction was clear. I chose to run off the success I’ve had in indirect tax and burrow further. The result of this is a specific focus on carving out our Financial Services Indirect Tax & Tax Technology offering (a bit of a mouthful)!

Where do you start?

Even the simplest of steps can be taken in the early days of developing your niche. My first thought was, how do I come across on Social Media (judge for yourself – my LinkedIn)? This will often be the first point of call for new clients and candidates alike. I can only imagine that if you’re a few months into your recruitment career, you would have cleaned your social media profile to within an inch of its life! However, there is never a good time to stay complacent. If you’ve embarked on a different sector, make sure anyone visiting your page knows!

Activity is key. If you can develop your approach to the market, structured off research, then the market is crackable. This could be through several means such as business development, expanding your candidate portfolio, or offering a service not offered elsewhere. What I can’t stress enough, is to meet as many clients and candidates a possible. From my experience, face-to-face meetings strengthen relationships and show your commitment compared to a recruiter who hides behind e-mails.

I mention that to distinguish yourself, you need to have your specialist recruitment area. Having said this, it’s essential that you’ve done your research and can evidence that there is a sustainable market in which you can grow your desk.

Issues I’ve faced

I’ve been lucky enough to start well within my sector, having successfully placed several candidates with highly reputable companies. This hasn’t shielded me from the reality of what faces a new recruitment consultant. Essentially, you’re starting from scratch with no credibility and a lack of experience. If you’re looking to take on clients not restricted by location, you have to sell your worth in the space of seconds, which can mean dealing with your fair share of rejection.

For me, I’ve found time and experience my hardest hurdle. In simpler terms, the lack of trial and error I’ve been exposed to will naturally hold me back until I’ve gained success or made mistakes. It’s imperative you don’t let this hold you back and do everything in your path to grow your desk.

Successes I’ve had

It’s always important to celebrate the successes you’ve had. Whether that be a successful call with a prospective client, your first placement, or even if it’s just day 1 of your new desk. All the hard work you’ve put in needs to count for something, so through realistic targets, these elements can be achieved and celebrated.

There was something incredibly satisfying about placing your first candidate in your OWN client’s role on your OWN desk. Success is, of course, critical, but you should never let it make you complacent.

Where do you want to be?

I can only answer this with my personal views, but I could put a bet that they’d be similar ambitions to anyone looking to distinguish themselves in the recruitment world. Essentially, you want to be the ‘go-to’ person in your sector. The person that, if you call, they answer. This would fall under the category of an industry expert recruitment consultant, with an emphasis on the word ‘consultant’.

I write this blog now 8 months into what I hope is a long and successful career. The trick is to be excited about where you’ll be in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years. Whether you’re looking to get into recruitment or you’re an FS indirect tax professional, please feel free to pick my (developing) recruitment brain!

Ed Moore is a Principal Consultant in the Tax Division at Harvey John.

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