Everything you need to know about a career in recruitment

illustration of recruiters analysing candidates

If you’re thinking about a career change or want to try something different to the usual corporate 9-to-5, you have probably never considered a career in recruitment! As a non-traditional career path, a career in recruitment may not be on your radar. But could a recruitment career be the change you have been looking for?

Is a recruitment career right for you?  

When we look at the types of people working in the recruitment industry, there are usually two camps recruiters are drawn from – career recruiters and industry recruiters. What’s the difference I hear you ask?

Career recruiters vs industry recruiters

Career recruiters are people who begin their career within recruitment (go figure!) but the type of recruitment specialisation they work in can change over the years. Career recruiters often get into recruiting through Graduate programs or as Talent Engagement Specialists.

In the other camp are people who come from ‘industry’, having worked in a particular role-type or discipline who are then enticed into the recruitment world. Industry recruiters are already familiar with the ins and outs of their industry and are usually looking to change up their career and are ready for a new challenge.

Landing a career in recruitment is often a happy accident, most of us didn't plan to go into recruitment straight out of university.

A career in recruitment is an attractive option for people seeking reignite and reshape their day-to-day role, for those ready to apply industry knowledge in a new way. Working in recruitment allows people to experience a broad cross-section of an industry or discipline, working with multiple companies rather than being limited to one organisation.  

What you need to know about recruitment

As a non-traditional career choice, there’s a lot of myths and unknowns surrounding the recruitment industry. To break down the barriers and bust some myths, let’s explore the good, the bad and the ugly of recruitment…

It’s full on, but bloody fun:

  • Recruitment is a fast-paced environment where no two days are the same. There’s plenty of variety and interesting information to absorb through interactions with both candidates and clients. You learn all about what’s happening within different businesses across the country and get to hear about heaps of cool stuff in the industry before it happens in market. It helps to be curious and commercially minded as you delve into the business goals, products and unique selling propositions of various organisations.

  • The office is usually lively and almost always abuzz with activity and talk – recruiters love a chat and a celebration! If you’re lucky enough to work somewhere as awesome as Six Degrees, you’ll be surrounded by a bunch of personable, bubbly, passionate and enthusiastic people who don’t mind a bit of banter.

  • There are some definite perks to working in recruitment too – work trips, rewards, incentives, quarterly celebrations and of course commissions.

  • But #recruiterlife can be a rollercoaster - the good times are great, but you need to build resilience to manage the tough times. Circumstances often change quickly and are outside of your control. You may have done everything right throughout the process but sometimes it’s just the way the cookie crumbles! You are dealing with a multitude of competing priorities, with candidates in the midst of making major life decisions and clients seeking the best fit to achieve their business goals. The ability to pivot, stay positive and bounce back when things go awry is key to the success of a recruiter.

Not all recruitment agencies are created equal

Research is key to having a happy career in recruitment. It’s important to understand the business you are stepping into - the culture, the way success is measured, and the expectations for consultants. In particular, the way commission requirements are structured and how they are paid can vary considerably between recruitment agencies.

Business development is often approached in varying ways by different agencies too, with some agencies setting high targets for cold calling while others approach the market more strategically to generate warm leads and build long-term relationships.  

You need to be a people-person

Things to note about becoming a recruiter:

  • You will be communicating with people ALL DAY EVERY DAY. Recruitment is all about building relationships, so you’ll need to love talking to people. The best recruiters are always on the phone, in meetings or conducting interviews.

  • While both clients and candidates are your customers, it’s important to remember how stressful changing jobs can be for most people. You need to be comfortable guiding candidates at such a crucial time in their lives, continuously listening and providing advice and support along the way. Feedback can range from general career advice to pointers on CVs and delivering honest feedback following interviews. You will become comfortable delivering both good and bad news.

  • There’s always a lot to juggle. You work on lots of roles at once, managing multiple candidates, clients and expectations at any one time.

  • On top of the tough conversations often involved with candidates, you may be shocked to learn that not everyone you call always wants to talk to you. Understanding that calls to candidates will not always pan out the way you want and having the ability to put down the phone and move on will get you a long way.

Behind the scenes

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the recruitment process and people don’t always understand exactly what recruiters do, not to mention the amount of work that goes into the process.

Recruitment is not a well-understood discipline, so not everyone appreciates the work that goes into finding the right candidate for a particular role, which means sometimes you end up having to justify your worth when you can “just use Seek instead”. It’s like the analogy of the mechanic who asks for $600 to fix a car, it’s not just about hitting it with the spanner, it’s knowing where to hit it. 

When you’re at the pub telling someone you work in recruitment, they often respond with “oh, so you’re in HR?” No, recruitment is not a HR role.

Recruitment is more of a sales role. But that doesn’t mean cold calling – especially at Six Degrees, where we believe good recruitment centres on building, cultivating and maintaining relationships. People are your product and solving people-problems is what we do best.

A good recruiter listens to a client’s needs, learns where to look for leads and knows how to connect the dots to provide mutually beneficial outcomes for all parties.

At the end of the day, recruitment is a fun, challenging and rewarding career. If you’re considering a career change or you’re ready to take on a new challenge, feel free to get in touch! We are more than happy to have a conversation with you and help you understand whether a recruitment career at Six Degrees is right for you.

Interested in recruitment? Learn more about what it's like to work at Six Degrees and get in touch with our Talent Team for a confidential discussion.