How long have you worked in recruitment?
37 years!

What made you join the recruitment industry?
I suppose you can say I set out to work in the recruitment industry, although this was not initially my long term career goal. My mum worked as a temp while my sister and I were growing up, so I knew a little bit about the industry, or so I thought.

My work experience at school was at Alfred Marks, recruitment agency, in Romford, they seemed like nice people who enjoyed what they did.

I thought that I should earn some money between school and college, as I intended to return to complete my A levels and study engineering. My aim was to go into car design. But I soon found out that no one would employ an inexperienced 16 year old as an office temp. So, I decided I would get a permanent office junior job and leave in September when it was time to go to college.

I joined a small recruitment company based in London. When September came, I was really enjoying my job, liked my colleagues, loved earning money and was learning so much, so I decided to stay and the rest; as they say is history!

How has recruitment changed over the last 30 years?
Thinking about it nothing has changed really, it’s still a people industry; finding the right people to fill vacancies.  What has changed is the technology and the tools available.

When I started in recruitment, Recruitment Consultants were called Interviewers and everything was manual paper based – phone, desk, yellow pages, client and applicant cards.  You placed an ad in the papers or free magazines. If you were a High Street branch you put a card in the window advertising the role.

This process meant you had to wait for applicants to call or pop in. If they phoned in, you arranged an interview with each applicant. If they walked in generally you would interview them there and then.

People filled out application forms, CVs were non-existent. You would phone companies and tell them a bit about the candidate and arrange an interview; usually with the candidate sat in front of you.

Recruitment felt faster, but it was just different. Would I give up my computer and go back to how it was? – No never!

What important life lessons have you learnt from being in recruitment?
Patience – By nature I am an impatient person, people that know me know I am a control freak with the patience of an angry wasp. Being in recruitment I’ve learnt over the years to think about the other persons point of view and give them the benefit of the doubt, but only the once of course!

What has been your strangest experience in recruitment?
There have been so many, in 37 years you rack up quite a few experiences – but there are some that just cannot be told! But I will give you one from way back.

My third job in recruitment was with a legal secretarial recruiter on Fleet Street. On my first day I was given a desk at the back of the office, a diary and a phone. My phone did not work.
I told the manager, she said ok and walked away. (Sorry, hello, did you not hear me? I thought)

This was a Monday morning and they had full page ads in both Ms London and GAT so the phones were busy.

The manager came over and asked why I was not answering the phone? I said, “I told you this phone does not work.” “Of course it does” she said and walked away again. When someone went for a break, I answered calls from their desk and arranged two applicant interviews. Later in the day, after answering calls at any free desk I could find, I’d filled my diary for the week.

It was a positive start, regardless of the phone situation, until the Manager came in, said she want a word and ushered me to her office. “Why are you answering other people’s phones you’ve got one at your desk?” I explained I had twice already said that it did not work. She then started repeating every word I said, including when I said the job was not working out for me.
Still to this day I’m not sure if I resigned or got sacked!

What defines a good candidate?
A good candidate is one who knows what they want, what they are good at and where they want their career to go. One who can articulate their skills, experiences and attributes simply and concisely on their CV and face to face.

A good candidate applies for the jobs they know they can do, not just any job they see.

What personality traits make an excellent recruiter?
Apart from patience, a good recruiter needs to be fairly thick skinned and not take things personally. Over the years I’ve seen too many good recruiters leave the industry because they took things too personally. If something does not work out how you want it to, think about it, review what you could have done better, file it for the future and move on. Never dwell on “might haves”. A good recruiter also needs good listening skills and a sense of humour too!

Your top tips for succeeding in recruitment?

  • Be honest, I know that’s rather clichéd, but it’s true
  • Don’t over sell yourself
  • Don’t tell an applicant they are perfect for a role when they are not
  • Call when you say you are going to
  • Set yourself smaller realistic goals and targets, even if your company targets seam unachievable, breaking it down makes them easier to hit
  • Give proper feedback, to clients and applicants

Remember that it’s impossible to be an expert in everything, ask for help where needed and if you do not understand something, question until you do. If your senior managers are not happy to answer your questions; move on, you’re in the wrong company.


Views: 245

Comment by Mast Ladka Grewal on July 15, 2016 at 12:20am
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