- Types of recruitment consultant
- What do recruitment consultants do?
- Recruitment consultant career path
- Recruitment consultant salaries
- Qualifications & training
- Recruitment consultant skills
- Pros and cons of being a recruitment consultant
- Recruitment consultant work-life balance
- Recruitment consultant employers
- Related jobs
Becoming a recruitment consultant is a highly rewarding role, influencing the lives and careers of your clients and helping them find their dream job. You will be a person who loves being a positive influence on a client's prospects and being intuitive to what a client may want in a job. You will be tuned into what a company may need from an applicant and put forward successful people, creating many successful matches.
Interested in a career in recruitment consultancy? Explore current graduate opportunities in HR and recruitment.
Types of recruitment consultant
A generalist recruiter is someone who recruits candidates across multiple industry sectors. They will have a general knowledge of many types of roles and will be able to adapt to each individual CV and client. They will hire across contract, part-time, temporary or permanent roles making a generalist recruitment consultant a valuable adaptive asset to any company due to their large pool of varied candidates.
This role is much more personalised as it requires a candidate to search solely for the employer, in comparison to a generalist who acts on behalf of both client and candidate. This role is often known as ‘headhunting’. As a headhunter you will seek out potential candidates to fill high-level roles and more often than not, these candidates will already be employed or not be looking for employment.
Due to the honed nature of this role, you will often work within a specific sector as in-depth knowledge of the industry is needed to establish a pool of high-quality people.
Temp agencies or staffing agencies specialise in hiring people in contracted positions. These sorts of agencies are unique in that the employer does not employ the candidate, but instead, the employee works for the agency and is hired out. These agencies often specialise in hiring for companies in busy times, like Christmas, or to cover for absences such as maternity leave.
In this role you will work in an industry-specific sector, looking for candidates with very specific skills to your employers' needs. In this role, you will need extensive knowledge in the sector to ensure you are able to present successful candidates to a business.
Niche employers are commonly used for professions that require specific education or training, such as coding or engineering.
What do recruitment consultants do?
The role of a recruitment consultant is diverse and requires a mixed assortment of skills for optimal performance. You can expect to do the following things in your day-to-day:
- Listing vacancies in a range of media, such as online or in the newspaper
- Calling and visiting potential clients to meet about what they need in a candidate and the expertise you provide in hiring
- Requesting references from candidates’ old employers and running background checks
- Organising interviews between the candidate and client
- Keeping candidates up to date about their application progress
- Reviewing CVs
- Headhunting by finding and approaching potential candidates
- Managing social media accounts
- Negotiating salaries
- Networking with people in your industry to stay on top of trends
- Reaching out to university societies
- Attending events to promote your agency
Recruitment consultant career path
The career path of a recruitment consultant is dependent on the type of recruitment you would like to go into. Differences aside, there are some common similarities you can expect when progressing in recruitment.
You will start your career as a trainee within an agency. Your role will involve shadowing a recruiter and learning how they source and screen potential candidates for a role. You will be tasked with creating job listings and filtering CVs. You will receive training and support from your agency to teach you the necessary skills to progress in your career. You will learn how to develop new business relationships by calling and networking with clients as well as being tasked with managing temporary workers in your agency.
There are many short courses you can take to progress quickly in your career. These courses can be specific to any industry and will aid you in developing the skills necessary. You may be provided with these courses within your trainee placement, however, you can also seek them outside of employment:
Some providers offer short courses aimed specifically at the sector you are within. You can find personal development courses run by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)
Consistency is the key to success when it comes to recruitment. Some agents will push themselves and have an amazing quarter, only to burn out and hit average results in the next. Many agencies will be upfront about what KPIs they expect you to be hitting each month in order to progress through the company.
Progression will be down to how hard you work; with good performance, you can expect to make quick progress.
In order to progress to the top level, you will need to develop your managerial skills and improve on any financial skills as your career progresses into more team leader roles. This may involve area/regional management if you are working for a large company.
You may decide that you have a large enough client pool, or a collection of your own personal contacts and go into self-employment. This could be as a consultant training recruits or as an expert recruitment consultant who can help large-scale, industry-specific companies as a sole trader.
The skills you develop in your role as a recruitment consultant also lend themselves to moving into areas such as HR or sales.
Recruitment consultant salaries
Salaries will vary across different sectors and typically work on a salary-plus-commission basis.
- A trainee recruitment consultant can expect to earn a basic annual salary of £15,000 to £20,000
- A recruitment consultant will earn an annual salary of £22,000 to £28,000 before commission. Senior consultants can earn up to £35,000.
- A manager can expect to earn upwards of £40,000, when including commission this can exceed £60,000.
Qualifications and training
A career in recruitment does not require a specific degree or subject. A successful applicant will be deemed on personality and specific skills such as communication and the ability to hit targets under stressful conditions. If you do have a degree, it may prove beneficial for applying to specific sectors that your degree is in as it will show a level of understanding and expertise. For example, if you did a marketing degree, you will be aware of what a marketing agency needs in a candidate.
Sales skills may also be beneficial for an applicant, check out our guide to sales qualifications for more information.
Recruitment consultant skills
- Communication. You will be spending your day contacting potential clients and candidates, cold calling or maintaining relationships. The ability to communicate clearly and concisely will help you keep your relationships healthy and hit those KPIs.
- Problem-solving. Clients and candidates will present you with issues about how they are marketing their jobs role or why they have not had much success. It will be your responsibility to work out a solution. Learn more about problem-solving with this Bright Network Academy module.
- Time management. Often, work positions need to be filled in a timely manner. This means you need to be responding to emails and calls, completing work tasks and listing job adverts in a timely manner. You should be able to handle multiple priorities at any one time.
- Creativity. Coming up with unique and eye-catching ways to advertise a role or get the attention of a client will help boost your performance.
- Ambition. This role can be very demanding and without a love for the role and hitting high targets, burnout can happen quickly. You really need a passion for helping people and getting results in order to stay motivated. An ability to thrive in a high-pressure environment is crucial.
Pros and cons of being a recruitment consultant
- Potential for uncapped earnings due to the nature of commission-based salary
- Job fulfilment; you are finding dream jobs and opportunities for people on a daily basis
- Every day is different. One day you may be meeting clients, the next you may be preparing candidates for interviews.
- Meet interesting people from all sectors. You often hear about people's interesting backgrounds and careers while getting to know a candidate.
- Handling rejection, there are many different occasions where your candidate will be rejected for a role
- You can only prepare a candidate so much and, ultimately, their success lies with them
Recruitment consultant work-life balance
You can expect to work core hours of 9am-5pm with the need to work longer hours to hit KPIs or attend client meetings. Like most commission-based roles, the more you can make yourself available, the more contracts you secure.
This can lead to the risk of burnout, so it is important that recruiters create a disciplined cut-off time.
Recruitment consultant employers
Here are some companies that you could work for as a recruitment consultant:
- Recruitment Entrepreneur
- G2V Recruitment
- The SR Group
- The Property Recruitment Company
- Robert Half