How to become a Recruitment Consultant. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Recruitment Consultant do?
As a recruitment consultant, you would help employers to find suitable staff, and help people to find suitable jobs.
Your work may involve:
- taking vacancy details from employers
- ‘cold calling’ companies to generate new business
- interviewing and testing job seekers, to build a pool of people ready to fill vacancies
- matching candidates to suitable jobs
- screening and shortlisting candidates before employers interview them
- building good relationships with employers so that they keep using your agency
- keeping in touch with job seekers on your agency’s books
- meeting targets for the number of vacancies taken or the number of people placed into jobs
- keeping records of clients, employers and vacancies
- negotiating your agency’s fees
- ‘headhunting’ – finding and approaching candidates for executive or specialist jobs.
You could work for various kinds of employment agency, dealing with permanent or temporary work at all levels for many industry sectors.
You would typically work standard office hours, Monday to Friday, although some agencies may open later or on Saturday mornings.
The work is mainly office-based, but you would also spend some of your time visiting employers.
How much does a Recruitment Consultant earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Most recruitment consultants earn a basic salary plus commission.
- Basic starting salaries are usually between £16,000 and £18,000 a year.
- With experience, this can rise to between £20,000 and £40,000 plus commission.
Figures are a guideline only.
Employers will ask for a good standard of education, but your skills and attitude are often more important than your academic qualifications.
Good sales skills and an excellent telephone manner are important, so you will find it useful to have experience in customer service, sales or marketing.
You may need relevant experience and qualifications to work in an agency that specialises in a particular industry such as IT, engineering or nursing. Agencies that deal with high-level executive jobs may prefer you to be a graduate, although this is not always essential.
Training and Development
Once you are working for an agency, you will develop your skills mainly on the job. Some large agencies run their own structured in-house training programmes for new entrants.
Your training may include working towards the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Certificate in Recruitment and Selection (available until December 2010), or the following qualifications from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC):
- Certificate in Recruitment Practice – aimed at people new to the recruitment industry
- Diploma in Recruitment Practice – usually for recruitment consultants with at least a year’s experience
- BA (Hons) degree in Recruitment Practice
- Masters degree in Recruitment Practice.
You can study for all of these qualifications by distance learning. The REC Certificate in Recruitment Practice is also available by short fast-track courses at study centres around the UK.
The Recruitment and Employment Federation and CIPD both offer various short courses to help your professional development throughout your career. See websites for more details about each organisation’s qualifications and training.
Skills and Knowledge
- excellent communication and ‘people’ skills
- good sales and negotiation skills
- a confident and positive attitude
- the ability to work under pressure and meet targets
- a professional manner
- good organisational and administrative skills
- the ability to work well in a team.
You could work for recruitment companies ranging from branches of large national chains to small local agencies.
Jobs may be advertised in the local and national press, recruitment industry websites and on employers’ own websites.
With experience, larger companies with a defined promotion structure may offer opportunities to move into business development or management. Alternatively, you could choose to set up your own agency.