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Recruitment is a type of sales, where instead of selling a product or service, you are selling 'people'. In basic terms, it requires selling people to companies and companies to people. The industry itself is very diverse and covers a variety of different sectors and levels so each role within recruitment can differ. However, one thing is consistent and that is the fast-paced and demanding nature of the industry. A recruitment graduate career is challenging, but also very exciting where no two days are the same.

Generally, recruitment roles involve attracting business from potential clients by using sales, business development and marketing techniques. This includes building relationships with clients and taking the time to understand their companies culture, how they operate and there business needs. Recruitment consultants are also required to proactively attract candidates through networking and advertising, using a wide range of media. Once you have found suitable candidates by interviewing them and assessing their ability to meet your client needs, you might be involved in negotiate pay and then make the final arrangement between the client and candidate. The sense of achievement you get from placing the right candidate in the right role can be overwhelming.

In recent years the recruitment sector has seen substantial growth, as companies seek the expertise of recruitment consultancies to supplement their employment requirements and outsource their hiring functions.

Aside from "high street" companies, the recruitment landscape consists of two strands:

Niche consultancies focusing on specific industry sectors such as IT, HR, engineering, marketing, sales, accountancy and banking 

Head-hunting / executive search consultancies concentrating on high level management and board positions. Each search takes a significant amount of time and dedication and has a team of researchers, consultants and partners working together to achieve the best results for their exclusive clients

Both areas offer successful graduates a fast track career path which is unrivalled in many business sectors. Graduates can progress to be managing teams of consultants within just 18 months. Financial rewards can also be extremely high with potential earnings being as high as 40k in your first year. The Graduate Recruitment Bureau works with recruitment consultancies throughout the UK and across a variety of industry sectors.

Average Recruitment Graduate Salary

Recruitment Graduate Career Path

Many graduates are surprised at the varied content a recruitment graduate career has to offer. The core skill of selling is paramount to being a successful consultant. Furthermore, the managing of relationships and the three-way sales technique required between client, consultant and candidate ensures a varied and engaging workload. Today, a recruiter needs to be much more than a salesperson, they need to be a tenacious operator capable of building long standing relationships and providing a value added consultancy service. The most successful consultants will be industry-specific experts in much the same way as an industry analyst.

Today, the major recruitment consultancies offer successful graduates a real career path. The recruitment industry offers graduates both responsibility and management opportunities. Typical roles within recruitment include:

Resourcer/Researcher: generally, graduates are primarily employed as a resourcer/researcher. This involves working closely with a consultant and helping them with job specifications and candidate liaison. During this time, a graduate can expect to benefit from a sophisticated training program, learning about all aspects of recruitment and the specialised industry in which they have chosen to work.

Consultant: a successful resourcer can expect to be promoted to the role of consultant within 3 - 12 months, managing the requirements of a number of established clients, and increasing the client roster with new business.

Senior Consultant/Team Leader: unlike more traditional graduate industries, it is possible for a successful candidate to progress to the role of senior consultant/team leader within 18 months, managing not only a client portfolio but a team of consultants as well. 

Management: further responsibilities that follow include management of a department, office or region.

There is no doubt that the recruitment industry is competitive, and consultants need to achieve their targets on a regular basis to guarantee career advancement. However, reputable companies understand the need to support their graduates and have implemented both classroom and on the job training schemes to provide graduates with the skills set and experience to succeed.

Check out these case studies to see why you should work in recruitment:

Qualifications and Skills Needed

What proportion of candidates as a percent we place into Recruitment graduate careers and the typical qualities graduate employers look for.

GRB Placements for Recruitment by Degree

Typical Candidate Attributes

The recruitment industry is extremely competitive and organisations seek strong candidates who can thrive in such an environment. Consultancies are keen to secure graduates who: 

  • Have achieved a degree from a leading university 
  • Ideally attained a 2.1 or above
  • Are able to demonstrate leadership potential and/or extra-curricular achievements  
  • Demonstrate gravitas and market expertise
  • Demonstrate confidence and strong presentation skills 
  • Have a commercial understanding/experience in a corporate environment, ideally in a sales-based or target-driven role.

Graduates who meet such criteria can thrive in graduate recruitment jobs.

Source for Further Information

Institute of Student Employers
The Recruitment Society
Recruitment and Employment Confederation
Association of Professional Recruitment Consultants
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development