A Beginner’s Guide to Recruitment

guide to recruitment


I didn’t have a clue what to expect when I joined the recruitment industry. I excitedly told people about my new job and their faces would drop, or they’d look at me and wince. As someone who does care about other people’s opinions, it somewhat squashed the excitement I initially felt for my new adventure. I was warned that this industry probably wasn’t the right one for me…

My four week notice period passed and I was ready for my next chapter to begin. I pull up outside my new office on Day One and *CRASH*. Literally. I crash into the parked car of a new colleague. Not a good start. At this point I’m thinking ‘Maybe this isn’t for me’, ‘Should I just drive away and pretend I never turned up?’. I decided to pull myself together and face this (now particularly terrifying) new place.

With so many new faces, lingo being flung around that I didn’t understand and two buggered-up cars to worry about, my head and heart were racing at about 100mph, filled with excitement and dread in equal measures.

Six months later, I can honestly say I love my job. I was asked in a recent 1-2-1 if there was anything the company could’ve changed to help the ‘on-boarding’ process, and the simple answer was no. The training and support has been brilliant, and I like to think I’m doing alright so far (for a newbie).

If there was one thing I’d have asked for (okay, two things if we include the whole not-crashing-into-a-new-colleague’s-car thing), it would be an A-Z of the world of the recruitment. A whistle-stop guide to recruitment and what to expect. Something like this…

guide to recruitment

A – Angry. People will be angry with you sometimes. Companies. Candidates. Clients. Yourself. Simple answer: you won’t please everybody all the time.

B – Businesses and Brands. Get to know the business/brand you are recruiting for so you can represent them to your candidates. You’ll be ready to answer questions and it’ll save you a lot of back-and-forth time.

C – CVs. So many CVs. Well written CVs. Badly written CVs. Around 200 CVs a day. Just get used to it.

D – Drop outs. Don’t be disheartened when you have a candidate at final stage, have asked if they are interviewing elsewhere and are assured no, then they drop out because they’ve been offered another role. Annoying, but it happens.

E – Emotions. We have them too, contrary to popular belief.

F – Frustration. You’ll feel a lot of it. Sometimes at yourself, sometimes at other people. Accept that you can’t always control the process and move on.

G – Greed. Don’t be greedy. Yes, we work on commission. No, that’s not a reason to “mis-sell” a job to a candidate or vice-versa if they’re not right for each other.

H – Honesty. It’s the best policy. Blaming is draining.

I – Interviews. Taking the time to help a candidate prepare for an interview and then hearing that they’ve done well in the ‘board room’ is such a great feeling.

J – Jobs. Sounds silly, but I had no idea how many different roles there were out there (and that’s only in Marketing & PR!). Do your homework and get to know every role you’re recruiting for. Job titles can be ambiguous, so always take a full brief from the client.

K – Kick yourself. Naturally when you’re passionate about what you do, you’re going to kick yourself when things don’t go right, but try not to beat yourself up about it for too long.

L – Laugh or cry dilemma? Always laugh. It’s less awkward for your co-workers.

M – Manners. Your mood should not dictate them and they cost nothing.

N – Never say never. That client you thought you’d never get the chance to work with? That job you thought you’d never fill? That target you thought you’d never hit? That call you thought would never be returned? Recruitment is about balancing emotional variables. Things change. Quickly.

O – Observe. I was fortunate enough to be given intensive training about recruitment before being let into the wild, but observing colleagues who’ve been doing this for years is hugely beneficial in learning how to be a good consultant.

P – PLACEMENTS! It’s a glorious feeling when you make your first placement. You don’t even consider the commission at this point, because you’re in a state of shock and disbelief that after weeks and weeks and weeks of calling clients and building a desk, getting jobs to work on, having candidates drop out and having clients choose someone else… you have a job offer and the candidate accepts! Big smiles all round for everyone involved J

Q – Quelle surprise. The only thing more frustrating that someone asking for advice, ignoring it and then complaining about the outcome, is someone doing it time and time and time again.

R – Ring-ring. It never stops. Have you ever noticed how much us recruiters love the sound of our own voice? If you’re not confident on the phone, this isn’t the job for you I’m afraid.

S – Stigma. I see so many ‘recruiter bashing’ posts on LinkedIn and made the fatal mistake of reading through them when I was still very, very new. You will sometimes get stigma for being a recruiter, but don’t you get an element of that in any profession? If you’re good at what you do and you enjoy it, don’t let it get you down.

T – Timing. It’s so important and no, you can’t always control it. But when you have feedback, pass it on. Make sure you know when your candidates are going to an interview and give them a call to see how things went. If you don’t know what’s going on and when, you’re setting yourself up to fail.

U – U.S Election. A prime example that sometimes the best person for the job isn’t the one who is hired.

V – Vacancy. We live for this word! I wonder why…

W – Write everything down. No matter how organised you think you are! Keep a to-do list nearby and your life will be much less stressful.

X – X-Rated. Social media is used for recruiting far more than you’d think, so be careful what you share!

Y – Yes. You never understand how sweet-a-sounding word ‘yes’ is until you work in recruitment. Yes, you may speak with the hiring manager. Yes, we’d love for you to help us with this role. Yes, we’d like to interview your candidate. Yes, we’d like to make an offer. Yes is a great word. It should be used more.

Z – Zzz. Original I know, but after 15 coffees throughout the day, you need to be able to recharge the batteries before facing this all again tomorrow…


Interested in a career in recruitment? Find out what it’s like to work for Brand Recruitment

Share this:

One Comment

Robin Anderson

Great guide for recruitment. I also read the good article about how to improve the work of your
business. This article was very useful for me. I advise it to everyone.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *