I started my recruitment career before iPhones were invented.
I'll just let you ponder that for a moment.
Smartphones were new to the scene; looking back, they weren't particularly "smart" either, with basic email, calendar, and fax function the height of "cutting-edge" technology. Yes, you read that correctly, fax function. In fact my first few deals were faxed through.
I remember standing expectantly by the Samsung SF531P fax machine with a built-in inkjet printer, waiting for that ridiculous high-pitched screeching and pinging as it connected to the internet to begin. Then painfully, slowly, it would spit out a barely legible offer letter with just enough room for your candidate's signature. Oh, the excitement.
With our latest cohort of trainees starting this week, I thought I'd answer a question I regularly get asked by people new to the industry.
"Is there something you know now that you'd wished you'd known back then?"
If someone had told me to put every penny of my commission into Apple, Netflix or Amazon, that would have been handy. But sadly, that's not how it works, and at the time spanking my hard-earned cash on beers, luxury items and all those things that seemed a great idea at the time, were far more important. If only Doc and Marty had got that time machine working.
In reality, it's a much more straightforward answer than you would expect. Despite the advances in technology within the recruitment industry and the vast number of tools; lead generators, automated email campaigns, advertising options, CRMs, CMSs, ATSs, the list goes on, the one biggest foundation of our industry is still relationships.
It's the cornerstone of what we do and is the main reason why there will always be a need for recruitment businesses and quality recruiters. The relationships you make and build over your career as a recruitment consultant will define whether you are successful or not. Candidates who turn into clients who turn into investors and maybe back to candidates again. Recruitment colleagues who go onsite turn internal cross-train into HR. It all forms an endless cycle in the recruitment world, and the better you are at building, maintaining and growing these relationships, the better you'll be at your job.
The one key bit of advice I would give anyone starting their career in recruitment would be to build those relationships from day one! Never burn any bridges and remember the IT world is a far smaller environment than you think.
It might seem a mile off when you first start your recruitment journey, but very quickly, your success will be defined by many of those relationships built right at the start of your career.
And if I could borrow the Delorean time machine and go back and talk to that fresh faced eager recruitment consultant, I would implore him to make the most of every relationship, stay close to those exceptional candidates, as you never know when one will start the next Starling bank, Deliveroo, Zoopla, Zopa, Cazoo etc.
Suppose you had delivered exceptional service throughout their career, been more than just a recruiter, and offered advice when they needed it most. In that case, you will be their first port of call when they are looking to scale their engineering teams, and those relationships will snowball. You can't phone or fax that in.