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Why being a recruitment consultant means you never stop learning

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Driven, competitive, organised, pushy, salesy…what attributes would you associate with being a recruitment consultant? Many people, from both within and outside of recruitment, have preconceived ideas of the traits one would need to be successful in this industry.

Having worked in recruitment for several years, my own experience has taught me that a career in recruitment can push you to grow and develop in ways you would never have expected.   

Learning curves

There are also cases where you think you know better, don’t tell a candidate about a role because you’re adamant "they won’t like that position, that’s not what they want, last week they told me they want X title and X money". Two weeks later you then find out that through another agency that the candidate has been offered the role, is delighted and has accepted the offer straight-away…

Your manager will call these frustrating situations ‘learning curves’ and you will scorn yourself for making such a daft mistake. However, (and don’t remind me of this when I’m having my own ‘learning curve’) it is this recognition of your error that will serve you well in the future.

Never assume!

Most of the time, the misjudgements mentioned above arise because of the pre-conceived ideas you have about what a candidate wants, what you think they would be good at, or what they said they wanted last week when you last spoke to them….and more often than not you haven’t stayed updated or open minded, and your initial assumption is wrong.

One thing that's great about this job is that it teaches you to stop making assumptions, but instead to be open-minded and to always ask questions – this is a lesson that can be applied not only to recruitment but indeed to any profession, activity or person. Having pre-conceived ideas of what something “should be like”, ultimately results in disappointment when things don’t go to plan and we can feel like we have let ourselves down.

Yet by recognising that your assumptions may be wrong, you begin to think "what if.." or "next time I will do x,y,z…"; meaning that when the situation arises again, assuming you remember your lesson, you will open up possibilities of not only experience and growth, but also opportunity and pleasant surprise.

Fellow recruiters will hopefully agree with me in saying that this job encourages you to become pragmatic, personable, driven and hopefully, successful. But it does this by testing your patience, testing your drive and testing your ability to adapt.  As I have been frequently told since starting my career, you never stop learning.  Staying open-minded, regardless of your experience, status or skill, will ensure you continue to learn and grow not just as a consultant but also as a person.

What makes a good consultant?

Ultimately, being a good recruitment consultant means being a good professional.  Open minded, genuine and advisory…these are the attributes I would now associate with a good recruitment consultant.  Sharing your knowledge with clients, candidates and colleagues as best you can to aid them is rewarding, and when all finally goes to plan and your candidate accepts a job offer, or your client gives you positive feedback, suddenly all the challenges and hard work feel worthwhile!

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