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Hellooooooo! Any Recruitment Consultants Out There?

(19 Posts)
blinks Tue 16-Sep-08 19:01:55

DH has an interview to become a recruitment consultant and we were wondering if it's a good or bad time to make a move into this industry with the economic climate being so bloody scary...

Any wisdom anyone?

Ewe Tue 16-Sep-08 19:07:13

What sector?

Permanent or freelance rec?

What level will he be recruiting at?

Onefineday Tue 16-Sep-08 19:40:38

It will be harder to recruit in the current/forthcoming market, that's for sure - but so would finding any job!

Has he done any recruitment before? If so, good. If not - see my experience below!

The actual company make a huge difference. If your DH has little or no experience of recruitment to the level/in the sector the prospective job is, he must ask if there will be a structured learning or training path.

My experience is as follows hence the word of caution. On my first day as a senior management level recruitment consultant, I was given a list of 15 company names (household companies that you or I could think of) and told to "go recruit" hmm. Bear in mind I knew nothing of the specialist sector in which I was recruiting. I was told this didn't matter, "just blag a bit".

Cold-calling the decision-making management tier above the level I was recruiting was almost impossible, because most of them have PAs to guard them against the likes of me, and HR were generally chilly and unhelpful.

I wasn't a total novice either - I had recruitment experience but at a much lower level.

It was incredibly stressful and I left after 11 awful months, having developed stress-related eczema.

I was mostly attracted by the money as people seem to think that it is a goldmine job. For those who can do it well, it is. However in my experience, senior level recruitment consultants are born not made and all those I have seen be successful in the industry at that level have been pretty much hard-faced, commercial, business people who work from dawn til dusk and then some. There is also a certain amount of "twisting the truth" ie bare faced lying to get candidates to spill about names and potential jobs/opportunites which didn't sit comfortably with me. On occasion I sat talking through a made-up job for 45 mins with a candidate just to get the name of his manager so I could poach him...

blinks Tue 16-Sep-08 23:26:44

oh god, OFD. Sounds like a bloody nightmare. Thanks though- he has no experience as a recruitment consultant so would be starting from the bottom and apparently it's a year long training, on the job... he's come from the financial sector as a consultant and the company's specialist sector is the finance industry.

It's obviously such a weird time to be looking for a job connected to the financial sector and we're trying to work out what would be riskier. The company is well known and established and the position is permanent.

Thanks for the advise so far...

Ewe Tue 16-Sep-08 23:36:30

In finance? No, I wouldn't take my chances tbh. I work in media rec and as a cash rich independent we will be ok but most teams aren't hitting targets as so many companies have total rec freezes on. Big nationals are making redundancies left right n centre.

I do freelance and it's going well because people are taking freelancers to cover essential work that would normally be covered by a perm person they haven't got.

My XP works in exec search for FS and even at that level things aren't looking great and he works for a top 5 firm.

He needs to ask lots of questions about the client base, what accounts will he get when he starts, if any? The main concern I would have is in such a flooded candidate market how do they justify there fees? With lots of desp candidates and not many companies recruiting a rec consultancy often becomes a luxury people can't and don't need to afford - how are they tackling this?

I would also be asking for figures vs targets etc. I love recruitment though and couldn't recommend it enough but the right company is so important.

Zebraa Wed 17-Sep-08 00:01:55

What is the typical day/week for a recruitment consultant? I'm only curious... it seems like such a fancy job, always intrigued me.

blinks Wed 17-Sep-08 00:05:55

I'm confused that they would be recruiting consultants if there was no work for them?

He would be a trainee essentially for a year so do you think that would make a difference or would he be first out the door? He's currently in finance anyway so both positions are potentially risky. Another job that he's going for is as an advisor for long term unemployed, working for a private company tied to government so the money is good but capped I think...

He has an interview for the recruitment agency though, hence the questions. We need more money that he is currently getting so a move is necessary and he's obviously only going to get employed doing something he has experience of...

Ewe Wed 17-Sep-08 09:56:03

If they are recruiting to cover a position someone left then I can understand, that's what I mean by find out what accounts he will get on joining. If he has to start from scratch, winning new business with no existing then I would be more concerned.

Being a trainee for a year seems awfully long, will he be on the same bonus structure etc as anyone else? It does tend to be worst performing first out, then the most recent recruits unless they are big billers.

I don't think recruitment is a bad move he just needs to look very carefully at the company. Even little things like whether or not they recruit cross functionally for finance companies or just for finance jobs? Many areas of finance will be doing ok, he just needs to get lots of info so he is making an informed choice.

Personally, I would look at executive search firms as they always fair better in economic downturn thanmore junior recruiters.

Zebraa - It's not terribly exciting, meet clients, meet candidates, makes lots of sales calls, a lunch or two with clients, networking events etc. I like it though!

Gobbledigook Wed 17-Sep-08 10:07:08

Dh works in recruitment but in the IT sector. He knows his job inside out and is doing well so he loves it!

He did say last night that the accounts he manages (and others) are sending less jobs out at the moment though.

Tbh - he tells me these things all the time but, touch wood, so far things are OK. I don't know if that's because he recruits IT contractors rather than permanent staff.

Is there anything you specifically want to know and I'll ask him?

I know it takes a while to get your numbers, and therefore commission, up so you might find salary is low for a while. Dh's company has different commission structures for different levels though - juniors get commission on everything they bill whereas more senior consultants 'give away' a chunk of theirs and only earn commission on part of what they bill.

I don't know anything about finance though.

squiffy Wed 17-Sep-08 13:31:25

I would be really careful about going for this at the moment - if it pays a very low base and commission on top I would only recommend he takes it if you are happy to accept that for first couple of years he might be on base only.

If they have this kind of payment structure then it will make sense for them to get loads of people in to hit the phones and leave no stone unturned in search of business, because it is cheap to do so. Then if leads are discovered the 'senior' agents might nick the business.... that of course is worst case scenario and it does depend on the professionalism of the firm itself and also on why it is recruiting...

Finance industry is not in great shape at the mo - I am in investment banking which is really going down the pan (a headhunter called me to invite me to dinner because she was about to be made redundant..), but I hear also that the big 4 are quietly letting a lot of people go.... lots of agents with lots of candidates chasing not many jobs....

Advising the unemployed sounds like a bloody good cast iron alternative and is what I would be tempted to go for. BUT it would depend entirely on his character because IMHO I think there is no way an empathetic counsellor could ever be a hard-nosed recruitment agent, and vice versa....

squiffy Wed 17-Sep-08 13:34:16

sorry - that was a bit rude. Not all agents are hard nosed at all - I rather crassly was trying to put across that I think you do need to be quite robust <stands and waits to be flamed by all the nice, gentle, sensitive MN headhunters...>

blinks Wed 17-Sep-08 14:28:00

thanks everyone- some good points have been raise by all of you...

we're ok to get by on base rate for a year or too as I am about to start earning again after second child and it's teaching which is a bit more reliable than finance hopefully.

squiffy, i think he would prefer the advising for long term unemployed as he is very empathetic but is very willing to be a hard nosed/robust (very diplomatic of you)agent if it means he sees the results financially...

i'll be back to press you all for more details later tonight...

Ewe Wed 17-Sep-08 18:35:01

Hard-nosed is one of the politer things we get called squiffy, don't worry!

TequilaMockinBird Wed 17-Sep-08 18:42:22

I worked for one of the big Global High-Street Agencies for about 5/6 years and I loved it!

However, I agree with the others that it can be really stressful. The targets are typically very high and even though at the time I did it the economy was stable, there were still some lulls - Christmas, Summer etc.

He will be on quite a low base rate probably but the commission/bonus is usually good. I earned quite good money during my time doing it but would be very hesitant about going back to that industry in the current economic climate. Especially recruiting in the financial sector.

dannyb Wed 17-Sep-08 21:59:57

Unless he likes cold calling using a fake name and making up jobs to get names of people who he talks to for non existant jobs I'd give it a miss. I worked in executive search for years and loved it but it was done all above board searching and looking for good candidates for credible jobs. We had a very good name and the secretaries were generally pretty friendly and put us through to the candidates without too much trouble. I'd seriously consider executive search over general recruitment not least because they pay good basics and generally have excellent knowledge of their market.

lalalonglegs Wed 17-Sep-08 22:31:20

ewe - hijack alert. What sort of media jobs do you recruit for?

blinks Wed 17-Sep-08 23:10:18

right so general consensus is good job generally if you're willing to bend your morals a tad but maybe a bad time to enter the industry just now...

he's definitely going to go to the interview and ask questions about how the financial climate is affecting things and take it from there. he's also trying to make his application for the advising job as good as possible as that seems a safer position.

do you think that the location of the company (Edinburgh) would mean that working within financial recruiting would be safer as it's a financial capital? many of the bank's headquarters are here etc

could someone define 'executive search' and explain how it differs from general recruitment?

Ewe Wed 17-Sep-08 23:27:41

lalalonglegs - Media Sales, Media Agency, Editorial, Conferences and Events and Digital/New Media are our core sectors.

You have various levels of recruitment, the basic level is hight street contingency and is companies like Adecco, Reed etc. They will have preferred supplier agreements with national companies as well as deal with local clients. They tend to recruit for roles below 30k (occasionally up to 50k) and tend to be fairly generalist recruiters.

Then you have specialist high street recruiters, people like Reed Accountancy, Michael Page etc. They are similar to the above but only working in certain markets.

Then you have search and selection companies, these can be large or boutique (I work for a independent). We specialise in a specific sector (in my case media) and work on a retained search basis, this is where a client will give us a brief and pay us a retained fee, so for example they pay a third of the fee on briefing us, pay again when they receive a shortlist and then pay the final third when the candidate is appointed. This is a more targeted, headhunting led method of recruiting. We also do the contingency stuff so where we do lots of outbound calls, to generate business but tend to have a candidate base that we can call upon at any time. So no headhunting needed. We recruit up to 100/150k.

Executive search firms only recruit for roles above 120/150k, they work purely on a search basis, so they will research the market for candidates or map the sector. Then they will approach/headhunt suitable candidates. They will pitch for business but in a consultative face to face environment as opposed to over the phone. In exec search you typically start as a researcher, then become an associate/recruiter. They pay higher basics but it takes longer to progress to the bigger money.

Long but should explain it all!!

blinks Wed 17-Sep-08 23:53:24

thanks ewe- very enlightening!

the company in question is by your definition a specialist high street recruiter i think...

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