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6 months in recruitment, 6 lessons learnt ...

by Hannah Cottam | 29 November 2016

I joined Sellick Partnership as a Resourcing Consultant for the Legal Public Sector team just over six months ago, having never worked in recruitment before. It's been a massive learning curve for me and the environment is unlike any I've ever worked in before. With that in mind, I wanted to shed some light on the key things I have learnt which have taken me by surprise since my time in the sector. 

The consultants are extremely knowledgeable on current legal matters
The legal recruitment team has a combined 50+ years' experience of legal recruitment, which ensures our clients and candidates will receive a professional, knowledgeable yet personable service every time we interact. The team educate themselves on topical issues that may affect our clients or candidates, and one of our consultants even has a degree in law! I had no prior knowledge before joining the team, but training is provided during the induction regarding routes into a legal career, the structure of organisations and different areas of law. 

You need to retain information
I've always prided myself on having a good memory, but the amount of information you need to retain to thrive in this role was a real eye-opener! To ensure efficiency, accuracy and most importantly, a good fit between a candidate and their new role, we need to ensure we contact the most suitable people for the job when a new opportunity comes available. I could name a candidate to anybody in our team and they would be able to instantly recall their location, availability, previous employment history and desired rate of pay. This flabbergasted me when I first started! However it's true that the more you train your memory, the easier you retain information, and I'm confident that as time goes on, my memory skills will improve to the same level.

The importance of building relationships

Relationship building is a crucial aspect of this job, as we need to really understand our clients and their needs in order to find them the perfect candidate. Staff retention is excellent at Sellick Partnership, resulting in many of the recruitment consultants having worked with the same clients for years. They trust in the professional, efficient service they will receive when they come to us, and are aware of the great relationships we have with candidates. Our recruitment consultants regularly go on client visits, which improves their understanding of that particular local authority. They get familiar with the set-up and employees working there, resulting in them knowing which candidates would be well-suited to the teams and the environment.

How invested you become in candidates
Although most jobs that involve customer service result in forming professional relationships and rapport with regular customers, I think I underestimated how personally involved I would become in this job. As you are speaking with candidates on a regular basis, you find yourself really rooting for them. There is no better feeling than when you help somebody to secure their dream job, knowing that you’ve almost been on a journey together. They may have had to overcome obstacles such as unsuccessful interviews, but you know they will thrive in their new job.
How fast-paced recruitment is
Situations change, candidates are unable to start their placement meaning that a replacement is required on short notice, or an urgent role may arise that requires a candidate to start immediately. These are just a few examples of weekly issues that may crop up. Being able to embrace change and move quickly are massively important within legal recruitment. Your priorities are constantly changing in order to best suit business needs, which I initially struggled to adapt to although I am improving!
The importance of teamwork
Everyone clubs together in this company and teamwork is vital! One thing that surprised me is that there is such a buzz in the office and a great energy, and I believe a large part of that is due to the close relationships amongst the teams. If a client requires a new locum, all of the consultants work together to call suitable candidates, and if a consultant is on annual leave, their work is split between the team to ensure the work gets done. There is a huge degree of trust and respect between the team, which leads to more efficient work and had increased our success. We have regular team events and there is even an annual teambuilding residential, which enables you to forge close relationships with colleagues from other offices.
Of course these are only six key points I've picked up on during my career with Sellick Partnership so far. So much more work goes in to recruitment than I ever could have imagined, and at the moment our team is performing the best we ever have in terms of the number of locums we have working for us, and long may it continue! 

If you think that you would enjoy working in such a fast-paced, exciting atmosphere then please check out our current vacancies on our Work for Us section of the website.