Thinking about becoming an education recruitment consultant? Want to know more about it? Here is my top 5 tips on what it takes to be great at the job.
1. You have to want to do it
Being an education recruitment consultant is hard work. In the past, I’ve spoken to people who have applied for consultant jobs because “they need a job” – which is fair enough, but if they don’t know what they are getting themselves into, recruitment can be a bit of a baptism of fire. The skill set required is extensive and some days can be very tough. Hours can be long, candidates and clients can be difficult and pressure to perform can make some people crumble. But if you have done your research, know what to expect and are prepared to put in the work, it can be a fantastic career choice. In short, you have to want to do it.
2. You have to be prepared to be a sales person
Let’s make no bones about it – there is a sales element to being a successful recruitment consultant. You need to be able to sell the service you provide in an appropriate way, whether it’s to a candidate thinking about registering with you or a new client you’d love to work with. Depending on the company you choose, your tone needs to be suitable too. At Axcis, we do our best not to be “pushy” sales people. It’s more about spreading the word about what we can offer and being there when a candidate or client needs our service. If you are a shrinking violet and would feel awkward selling the service you can offer you should think twice about whether recruitment is the right industry for you.
3. You have to be resilient
Recruitment consultants are essentially match makers. The job is about finding the right person for the right job/school and ensuring that the match goes ahead in the best interests of all parties. However, people are fickle beasts and can be unpredictable. There will be times when your client calls up because your teacher turned up late on their first day of work and yells down the phone at you. There will be times when a candidate who has been hounding you for work for ages finally gets a job offer and then decides they don’t want to work after all. The trick to being a successful recruitment consultant is looking for solutions rather than dwelling on problems. If you are a naturally negative person and struggle when the going gets tough, you should think twice about whether recruitment is the right industry for you.
4. You need a broad set of skills and attributes
The skills and attributes required to be a successful recruiter are surprisingly broad. You’ll be writing job adverts, as well as endless emails – so your written English needs to be spot on. I’ve already mentioned sales skills – being an excellent verbal communicator is of huge importance. You also need to be able to juggle your workload and re-prioritise your day at the drop of a hat – you might have a nice, neat to-do list which ends up in the bin when a client calls and needs a member of staff sent to them within 10 minutes. I’ve already mentioned resilience, since things won’t always go your way, and an ability to negotiate is up there with the skills you will be using every day too. Add to that the fact that the most successful recruiters I know are prepared to take calls from their candidates and clients at all hours and on all days, it’s not a 9-5, Monday to Friday kind of job (if you want to be really good at it!) At times you’ll be a councilor for your candidates when things go wrong and at other times you need to know when to stand your ground when someone is pushing for more than is fair. The list doesn’t end there – you’ll need to be punctual, professional, adaptable but also friendly, good at listening and reading body language and an excellent relationship manager too! Oh – and knowing your industry helps, too – if you don’t know anything about schools or the education system you’ll need to do a lot of research before you can consider becoming an education recruitment consultant – let alone a specialist special needs education recruitment consultant (as we are at Axcis).
5. You need to be prepared to give it time
I’ve met some people who say they want to get into recruitment for a year or two to put some money in the bank before they follow their real dream career. These people should think twice because it doesn’t happen overnight. When you are new to the job, it takes months – sometimes years – to establish trust with your candidates and clients, and to build up a good base of relationships. I’ve told potential employees who are new to the industry that they can’t expect much in the way of dividends until at least 6 months into the job, but realistically they’ll have to graft at it for 1-2 years before they will start to see real results. To me it seems crazy to do all that hard work and then leave just as your relationships start to blossom – after all, that’s when it really starts to be fun, too!
Does this sound like you?
If you’ve read this blog post and are thinking that recruitment sounds perfect for you, feel free to send us your CV (or contact details are on the bottom of our web pages). Axcis has offices in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and Newport – and even though we are not currently recruiting, we are always willing to receive the details of those who are keen to show us what they can do! As a company, Axcis is growing rapidly – we are proud to be one of the fastest growing education recruitment companies in the UK – and as such we are always on the lookout for new talent to help us continue to expand.