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With the total global recruitment industry worth nearly £40 billon, it's not surprising that many graduates are choosing to follow a recruitment graduate career path. However, there are often many misconceptions about the role of a Recruitment Consultant, so it's normal if you find yourself thinking "what does a Recruitment Consultant do?'.
If you're considering recruitment graduate roles, we've put together a guide of everything you need to know about what a Recruitment Consultant does, along with the many benefits of following a recruitment career path.
If you're interested in becoming a Recruitment Consultant, we're hiring! Find out what it's like to work for us.
Here's what might be included in a Recruitment Consultant job description, so you can get a quick insight into what a Recruitment Consultant does.
In many recruitment careers, you would start in a trainee recruitment position, or as we call it at Give A Grad A Go Recruitment, a 'Resourcer'. Resourcers begin learning the basics of recruitment, starting with finding and 'profiling' suitable candidates for different roles.
A 360 Recruitment Consultant involves handling the whole recruitment process cycle from start to finish. This includes job description writing and other preparations, sourcing suitable candidates, screening CVs, carrying out phone interviews, selecting the most appropriate applicants, sometimes holding face-to-face interviews or organising assessment days, providing feedback, hiring and onboarding candidates for each job.
A Graduate Recruitment Consultant is someone that recruits university graduates into various job roles, and will often work for a sector specific agency, For example, Graduate Recruitment Consultants working here at Give A Grad A Go, the UK's leading Graduate Recruitment Agency.
So, what is a Recruitment Consultant job like? Recruitment jobs are varied, covering multiple areas from sales, business development, marketing and networking. Here are some of the typical tasks a Recruitment Consultant carries out daily:
In many recruitment agencies, you'll begin as a Resourcer and when you progress to a Recruitment Consultant, you’ll be a 360 Recruitment Consultant. This involves managing the whole recruitment process from start to finish, from sourcing candidates to arranging interviews and organising offers.
As well as writing and editing, it's also important to 'optimise' job descriptions, to ensure they have all the key elements needed to appeal to candidates and get some good applications. For example using certain 'buzz words' to attract a certain audience and ensure that the job role can be easily found by candidates searching on job boards or Google.
At Give A Grad A Go we have regular Resourcer and Recruitment Consultant training, whereby external trainers come into the office and hold group and individual one-to-one recruitment training sessions and new employees would receive a Recruitment Consultant training manual. Get in touch today if you'd like to know more about working for us.
Recruitment Consultants often begin working alongside a Candidate Resourcer to source suitable candidates for the role. The Recruitment Consultant will then screen these candidates on the phone and send the client the selected candidates’ CVs to see if they are suitable for the role.
The sales aspect of Recruitment Consultancy comes into play as consultants will then pitch the role to candidates the client would like to interview, highlighting the benefits and why they should interview there.
A Recruitment Consultant will then arrange the interview stage, liasing with both the employer and candidates, as well as helping to prepare candidates for their interviews. You would then be required to inform candidates if they’ve been successful or not, as well as providing feedback.
A Recruitment Consultant is constantly in touch with both candidates and clients, asking for feedback from each and relaying it to the other. A Recruitment Consultant’s day will often be centred and structured around the clients’ needs, and a successful Recruitment Consultant will need to adapt to these. Clients may change a job specification last minute, or ask for more candidates to be put forward for a role and expect a quick turnaround of new candidates to interview.
A central part of their role is finding out the needs of both the client and candidate so that they can successfully deliver a great service to each. Recruitment Consultants will often visit clients at their offices to build a great relationship and find out about their upcoming hiring plans, as well as getting to know the company.
Whilst some recruitment agencies have their own business development teams, part of a Recruitment Consultant's role may also involve identifying new sales leads and contacting potential clients to acquire new business. Many recruitment agencies have Recruitment Consultant KPI targets for staff to work towards, with different rewards for hitting targets such as monetry bonuses, commission and other prizes.
Recruitment Consultant roles have great job progression opportunities, here's what a general Recruitment Consultant career path may look like.
There are no formal qualifications required to secure a Recruitment Consultant role, however, most companies will expect you to be educated to at least GCSE and A-Level or equivalent and have excellent literacy and numeracy skills.
A University degree is not essential, but it may vary upon the company. Most often, rather than specific qualifications, employers value ambition, drive, experience, skills and look for tenacity in interviews when hiring. Secured an interview? Check out our Interview Questions Hub with tips and examples on how to answer common interview questions.
Applying to Recruitment Consultant graduate jobs? It's important to tailor your CV to every graduate job you apply to - the more tailored your CV is, the more relevant it will seem and the more attention it will get. Here's how to tailor your CV when applying to graduate recruitment jobs.
Include on your CV if you've had any previous sales experience, whether this was outbound, or up-selling. Recruitment is heavily sales orientated, and showing previous sales experience is likely to secure you an interview.
You should also include any sales figures and target figures you achieved. If you haven't had any specific sales roles, include if you worked to reach any sort of target, whether this was a certain amount of money raised for a charity or organisation, or you hit a certain amount of social media followers, it’s all relevant.
Recruitment consultancy is largely client-facing, so it's key to include any previous client relation experience you've had in your CV.
Whether you've worked in hospitality interacting and building relationships with customers, or you've taken on any leadership roles where you had to manage customers.
Recruitment is a fast-paced environment, often with tight turn-arounds and deadlines. You want to demonstrate if you've had any previous experience working in any fast-paced environments, whether this was a busy restaurant, or a previous role that required you to be spinning lots of plates at once.
One of the most important skills required to be a recruiter is excellent communication skills. You want to show an employer you're a confident, effective communicator.
Perhaps you were captain or participated in a sport, you took part in charity events at university where you had to get people's attention and ask them to donate - any examples of public speaking.
Creating a tailored personal profile is your first chance to impress an employer and show that you are suited to their role. We've put together a personal profile template to use when applying to graduate recruitment jobs.
A highly motivated individual with excellent communication skills and a commitment to pursuing a career in Recruitment [soft skill examples relevant to recruitment]. Having achieved a 2:1 Business degree and obtained previous sales experience with a track record of meeting targets and delivering results [degree/previous relevant role], I am now looking to thrive in a fast-paced environment and challenging setting [fast-paced environment looking for].
Applying to other graduate roles? Here's how to tailor your CV to other graduate positions. Visit our graduate and student CV hub for other tips, examples and free CV templates to download for a range of graduate roles.
Here's what Sam Hickson, Account Manager at Give A Grad Go has to say about the skills he's developed throughout his career in recruitment.
"Throughout my time working in recruitment I've gained some invaluable skills, one of these skills is being able to adapt to any situation. Throughout my day I'll often have unexpected situations arise that I'll have to quickly adapt and deal with, I've learnt how to calmly deal with these situations, and know what to prioritise to ensure both my candidates and clients needs are met.
Another important skill I've developed working in the recruitment industry, and one that is heavily required, is being emotionally intelligent. As a Recruitment Consultant, you have to understand the characteristics clients are looking for and understand the specific type of candidate who will culturally fit their company.
On the candidate side, I have to understand how my candidates are feeling at each stage of their application processes and take a different approach to each. The recruitment consultant skills that I’ve developed are invaluable and transferable for any other role, as well as in my day to day life."
Here's what Will Spilsbury, Key Account Manager at Give A Grad Go has to say about the pros and cons of working in recruitment.
Benefits of working in recruitment
"There are many great advantages to working in recruitment, one of these is the personal and professional development/progression. In the space of two years, I've secured six promotions while working at Give A Grad A Go, within record time (now broken multiple times)!
Working in recruitment has also taught me invaluable life skills, from resilience to working in high-pressure environments and being able to build rapport with anyone.
There are multiple things I love about working in recruitment from meeting my clients' needs to knowing that you've been the catalyst for a candidate securing their dream job (it's fab to see them progress in their graduate career).
Moreover, working in recruitment has given me the financial security that a 23 years old rarely sees!"
Recruitment challenges and solutions
"There is no doubt that being a Recruitment Consultant is hard. The nature of the job means that often things won't go quite to plan and there are external factors that you can't control.
You have to have the right frame of mind to adapt and bounce back from these situations to cope well under pressure. On a side note I also regularly lose my voice from talking too much!"
Wondering how much do Recruitment Consultants get paid and more importantly, do recruiters make good money?! Here's some more information about Recruitment Consultant salaries...
Recruitment Consultant jobs often have competitive starting salaries, however, recruitment consultants in London usually have higher salaries than recruitment consultants elsewhere in the UK. Discover our range of Recruitment Consultant jobs in London.
On top of a competitive salary, recruiters earn commission with each placement, depending on what terms the agency has agreed with the company. Recruiter commission rates are usually calculated based on the agreed percentage and salary of the hire a consultant has made - the greater seniority of the role you are recruiting for, the greater commission is available.
A Trainee Consultant salary, or 'Resourcer' salary, will often start with a slightly lower salary than that of a 360 Recruitment Consultant. But, particularly at Give A Grad A Go, there is plenty of opportunity for career progression, promotions and pay rises!
Secured an interview for a recruitment role? Here are some example questions employers may ask, with tips on how best to answer these, and some of the best questions to ask employers, so you'll feel confident and prepared heading into your interviews!
An employer may often start out an interview by asking for your motivations and reasons behind wanting to work in recruitment. Try and avoid generic reasons such as "I want to help people", but list some of the skills you have that would make you a great fit for the industry, and experience that proves this.
It's good to prepare some information on why recruitment is an important industry and the benefits of using an agency (if you are interviewing at an agency), even if an employer doesn't ask this question, commenting on the benefits in your interview will look impressive and show you're knowledgeable about the industry.
It's important to make sure you understand the requirements of the role you're interviewing for, so you're prepared if an employer asks you what the most challenging aspects may be, or what you understand about the role. Thoroughly read the job specification and highlight anything you would like further information on.
It's equally important to research the company, so you are prepared if an employer asks why you want to work for them specifically. Research the benefits, the culture and their performance in the industry.
An employer may also ask if you know any of their competitors, be sure to research these, and comment on anything that makes the company you are interviewing standout, dropping these in conversation will show you have done your research.
It is especially important when interviewing for a recruitment role to ask the employer questions at the end of the interview, this shows you are a confident, punchy communicator. As a Recruitment Consultant, you will be interviewing candidates regularly, and quizzing the employer in return shows you are very capable to do this. Here are some good recruitment questions to ask an employer:
Recruitment is a well-established, growing and pivotal industry, in 2018 the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) predicted that 56% of vacancies in the next 12 months will be filled by agencies. These figures combined with the many rewarding benefits, make recruitment a highly attractive graduate industry to choose, and one where jobs are not scarce.
For more questions and answers about recruitment, to find out more about the recruitment process, or if you're a company looking to recruit graduates, check out our Recruitment FAQs page.