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Nick Boulton: Why recruitment isn’t a cop-out career

Posted on 20/08/2019
by Nick Boulton

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It was fascinating to watch this post go viral on LinkedIn last week:

There’s your choice, kids: A lifetime of opportunity at uni, or slumming it in recruitment. Gee whiz, thanks.

I realise this was posted with tongue firmly in cheek, but it got me thinking. Why does recruitment get such a bum rap? We’re an industry that’s perennially on the back foot, despite being worth more than £35.7 billion to the UK economy.

I’ve even heard hiring managers describe us as a “grudge purchase”. Well, I’ve got a grudge with that. More than an industry of ‘cowboys’ and ‘clowns’, recruitment has taught me more about life and given me more pleasure than any other job.

I should know – my working life has been about as eclectic as you can get. Before recruitment, I was both a professional cricketer and a game ranger at Kruger Park in South Africa, near the border with Mozambique. Whether it was dodging wild elephants (or wild bouncers), both jobs set me up perfectly for the challenges of recruitment.

And here’s why I’m proud to push it as a career of choice. Recruitment is a career that will teach you:

  • How to help companies evolve and grow to scale
  • How to build out amazing teams delivering world class technology solutions
  • How to find someone their dream job
  • How to change people’s lives, both financially and personally

And all of this while learning about a variety of people, cultures, companies and environments. I’ve been in this for more than 14 years and no one day has been the same.

For anyone contemplating a job in recruitment, here are some things I promise you will learn in abundance:

  • Relationship building.

The recruitment business is a people business. You will get to know people on a more personal level—their family lives, motivations, and what makes them tick.  

You learn about their struggles and the stress of responsibilities they hold, whether it’s a founding partner of a start-up, a CEO of a FTSE 250 company or a graduate engineer looking for their first job. Building that trust and relationship is a key skill to develop if you are wanting to succeed in any business.

  • Empathy and patience

Humans can be incredibly impatient. Ask my family, friends or colleagues – patience is not one of my virtues!

But in this time of immediate gratification, next day delivery and everything at the touch of a button, patience and empathy will make you stand out from the crowd and build the strongest relationships.

Recruitment teaches you to be patient as you are dealing with more than just a commodity, you are dealing with people, their family lives, careers and futures.

  • Determination

Candidates, clients even team mates will let you down along the way, causing anxiety, loss of commission and earnings, frustration and possibly even a few grey hairs.

BUT success doesn’t fall into your lap. The highest achievers don’t do it by luck and everyone encounters bumps along the way. The key is to dust yourself off, find the inspiration and motivation you need and get yourself back in the game.

Recruitment is like a booster shot of resilience and determination. You will learn to take the rough with the smooth and not take everything to heart. You’re not going to satisfy everyone all the time, least of all yourself.

  • Your job is your career not your life, but make sure you live your best career

I came into recruitment with the preconceived idea that it was going to be a ”boiler room” style sales pit of shouting, sweating over enthusiastic, suit wearing, Jordan Belfort types battling it out for salesman/woman of the year.

I think these environments do exist, but one of the biggest shifts I have seen in recruitment over the last 10 years has been people seeing recruitment as a genuine career and not just a stop gap between jobs.

It can still be one of the most lucrative industries out there, but what we have focused on changing at Client Server is getting the best out of people by creating the right work life balance and environment.

It is still a sales-driven environment, with targets, KPIs and pressure, but working in recruitment is incredibly rewarding from both a professional and personal point of view.

You will learn a lot about yourself, work alongside some of the most driven people in any business, and facilitate life-changing hires while helping businesses evolve and grow. That’s worth a degree in anyone’s book.

Picture credit: https://www.freepik.com/katemangostar


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