From the ground up: how to be a million-dollar biller

Recruiter Sarah Hay

I started my career in recruitment the way that most recruiters do – I fell into it. After eight years in the industry, last financial year I billed a million dollar – a recruiter milestone. How did this journey eventuate?

Listen to the podcast interview with Sarah on Spotify. 

How my recruitment career began

My career in recruitment started unconventionally. After studying to be a personal trainer, I decided that it wasn’t the right choice for me. I landed a role with large recruitment agency, Randstad on reception, but after six months on the front desk I pushed to become a consultant. This was my first step into the brand-new world of recruitment.

The pathway to Six Degrees Executive

Starting at a big agency was great, receiving a crash course for junior recruiters. I had watched Six Degrees from a distance and was drawn to the more specialised desks that they were known for in the industry.

Over the course of 12 months, I had eight interviews with different people along the way before being offered a role on the FMCG sales team at Six Degrees. My specialised recruitment desk means I can be really focused on FMCG and become a subject matter expert. Six Degrees encourages autonomous work while being a great source of team support and continuous learning, as well as facilitating flexible working. I believe all these factors make up a huge part of what has helped me to achieve this million-dollar milestone.

Realising recruitment was the career for me

After 12 months in a consultant role I gained an award which helped cement the fact that I had made the right career decision. I realised that not only did I enjoy recruitment, but I was good at it.

Another element of recruitment is accepting that it can have the ups and downs of a rollercoaster. It can be a challenging industry where candidates opt out of the process for many different reasons. However, the excitement and unpredictability of recruitment is one of the things that keeps me on my toes. Also, after eight years, I still get a major kick from being able to offer someone their dream job and potentially change someone’s life that day.

The key to recruitment success

Every recruiter has different habits that have set them up for success. Personally, the habits I feel most pedantic about are strict and thorough day-planning, the ability to switch off after work, and “floating”! Floating potential candidates into companies and roles you can see they are perfect for is a great way of increasing your revenue as a consultant. Although I originally rejected the idea of floating, I slowly changed my way of thinking as I could see the benefit of connecting people with their perfect career.

Day-planning is an imperative part of my process. Being organised and having strict rules for when to interview, meet clients, and make calls are all part of my formula. It’s taken me a while to work out what works best for me, and now I’ve found my groove, I can’t imagine operating any other way.

Switching off is another key to success. We are so easily accessible after hours, and I used to be the person who would check their emails last thing before they went to bed and first thing in the morning. I made a concerted effort to change this. It was hard at first, but now being able to switch off at the end of a day means that when I’m at work I’m there to work, and when I’m off the clock I’m completely off it. It’s changed my way of working in the most positive way.

My career inspirations

Being at Six Degrees Executive has changed my life. My boss Jennifer Kenworthy has been a huge source of inspiration and learning for me. I am able to gain so much support from her and our CEO, Suzie McInerney. It’s very humbling to have two strong female role models, and they empower me to do better every day. I couldn’t have achieved this career milestone without the support of the Six Degrees Executive team.

Want to know more about a career in recruitment? Contact Sarah Hay today and have a chat about how recruitment can be your non-traditional career path.