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My first year as a legal recruiter

by Sara Robinson | 9 January 2019

I have just come to the end of my first year at Sellick Partnership and my first year in the recruitment industry. In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect when I accepted the job and I was a little apprehensive as to what the recruitment industry as a whole would be like. I had heard the horror stories about recruitment, the long hours, the targets, the competitiveness and I had heard about all the positives too, never really knowing how much to believe.

After completing my first year in the industry, I wanted to give the low down on what I’ve learnt and any tips I can give to anyone thinking about starting a career in recruitment.

Myth busting

When I first told my friends that I was thinking about going into recruitment, I was barraged with horror stories and I was very sceptical about pursuing it. My first year has changed that perception completely. Working in recruitment is by no means easy, but it is an industry where you can get back as much as you give. If you work hard, you will be rewarded.

One of my first concerns was about the working hours, I was worried that I would be in the office every day until 8pm at night and have no work/life balance. I was moving from a job that was your standard 37 ½ hours a week and as soon as it turned 5pm you were out of the door, to a job where if the work isn’t done, you aren’t going on time. This turned out to be something I really didn’t need to worry about as recruitment forces you to manage your time and it’s a skill you can keep and take into any industry. It is an incredibly fast paced environment but it is one that allows you to learn how to use your time effectively. One thing I would definitely recommend when working in recruitment is to make a plan of what you would like to achieve each day but remember to not beat yourself up if you can’t always complete it! Things crop up all the time and the key is to prioritise what’s most important.

One of my biggest fears about going into recruitment was the targets. I was worried that they would be unrealistic and unachievable and that if I didn’t reach them I would be shown the door. In reality the targets are there to push you not to make you feel like you are fighting a losing battle. One of the best bits of advice I can give is to look at your budget for each month and figure out how many placements  you need to make to reach it. Breaking it up into weekly targets or little milestones such as reaching 10 people working for you makes it all seem more achievable.

Ask questions about everything!

This applies to any industry you are looking to join but I have found it is particularly important when joining recruitment. No matter how stupid, small or insignificant the question seems, it is always better to ask it than to find yourself 6 months down the line and still unsure of the basics. Recruitment is so fast paced, your colleagues, candidates and clients can all end up rushing through things and using abbreviations because they won’t always be aware that you don’t know what they mean. Never be afraid to ask for some clarification on what something means, even when speaking with a client – if anything it will show initiative and readiness to learn.

Even after a year I think it is important to still be asking questions on anything you don’t understand or that you want to know more about. Having a clear and in-depth understanding of the sector you work in and the recruitment processes as a whole will only help you progress.

Picking your agency

If you have decided that recruitment is the path that you would like to go down, making sure you pick the right agency is key. When I first decided it was the direction I wanted to go in, I applied for a lot of different roles and had a range of informal telephone discussions to third stage interviews.

I can’t encourage you enough to have as many conversations with as many different agencies as you can. My first interview at a recruitment agency was horrible, I was walked through the offices and I was introduced to the “team”, where they all sat  with their headsets on and their eyes glued to the screen. I was made to feel like I would be someone else they had to compete against rather than a future colleague. It really made me take a step back and think twice about whether it was something I wanted to do.

My next interview was at Sellick Partnership and I had much more of an opportunity to be able to ask any questions about the organisation, the role and what they could offer me. I was invited to meet the team for coffee before accepting the position and the whole experience made me feel very welcome.

The interview process should not only be an opportunity for you to sell yourself and your skillset but also an opportunity for a business to sell itself to you, and to separate themselves from every other agency out there.

If you are interested in a career in recruitment, get in touch with our Internal Talent Manager, Simon Briffa today. Alternatively, check out our internal vacancies here.