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Recruitment Graduate Jobs - Careers Guide

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The recruitment sector is focused on matching good candidates with the companies and jobs that suit them. Working on behalf of your business clients, you will source potential employees for the job roles that they require and help to organise their applications and interviews, with the aim of making a successful placement.

There are four types of recruitment agency:
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Headhunters
  • Specialist recruitment agencies
  • Job/ recruitment websites
Recruitment agencies may be general and cover a wide variety of areas, such as hospitality or retail. At a higher level, recruiters may look to source potential candidates for top roles, such as management.

Specialist recruitment agencies will be specifically targeted to a particular area, for example the health and beauty industry or women’s fashion. People generally move into this specialised area of work after gaining a number of contacts in their particular specialism.

After gaining a significant amount of experience in the recruitment sector, you may decide to move into headhunting. Headhunters actively seek out people for high level or professional roles and pursue them with the aim of placing them in a sought-after position within a company.

The general hierarchy of those working in recruitment is:
  • Resourcer: sourcing the most appropriate people for client’s vacancies
  • Recruitment consultant/ account manager: looking after the accounts of various clients and managing all their vacancies
  • Headhunter: sourcing candidates for top roles and cold calling/ pursuing them in order to make a placement
All sectors of recruitment are largely sales-based, meaning that you have to be extremely personable in order to land a job in recruitment. Earning a large amount of commission after making a successful placement is one of the many reasons why people choose to get into the recruitment industry.

What degree do I need? TOP ^

Graduates with a wide variety of degrees work in the recruitment sector. You will usually be expected to have a 2:1.

Specialist recruitment companies may prefer their employees to have degrees that are in some way related to the sector they are in - for example, in order to work in recruitment for a company that specialises in finance it would obviously be beneficial to have a strong knowledge of the financial world. If you are to work in a general recruitment agency the subject of your degree will be less important.

As with all competitive sectors, work experience is vital if you are to successfully land a job in recruitment.

What skills do I need? TOP ^

Working in recruitment means that you will have to have a good head for sales, which requires confidence, good diction and a thick skin – calling clients will inevitably involve knock-banks, and this is something that those in recruitment jobs must be prepared for. Being able to speak confidently and easily to people on the phone is also an essential part of the job.

Other skills that are important for those working in recruitment include:
  • Diplomacy
  • Persuasiveness
  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • The ability to work to deadlines
Being successful in recruitment is largely down to your personality, but many degrees with also equip you with the skills required. Communication, presentation and organisation are all skills that degrees provide and that are important in recruitment.

What graduate recruitment job can I do? TOP ^

The range of opportunities available within the recruitment sector is growing all the time, as companies continue to see the value of using experts to assist in the hiring of their staff. The majority of recruitment companies are based in large cities, such as London and Manchester.

As a graduate you are likely to begin your career in recruitment as a resourcer, meaning you will be responsible for researching suitable candidates on behalf of clients and putting them forward for positions. You may also be tasked with bringing new client companies on board in order to build up your agency’s portfolio.

Graduate and entry level jobs are only the beginning of a career in recruitment - they pave the way for successful employees to move to specialist recruitment companies, or into headhunting.

Average recruitment salaries TOP ^

Pay in the recruitment sector varies a great deal. As a resourcer, you may begin on around £16,000, while more experienced recruitment consultants may be on around £27,000. Headhunters or those employed in specialised recruitment consultancies may earn much as £70,000.

The opportunity to earn a lot of commission is one of the top reasons for graduates to get into recruitment. As with any sales-based job, if you hit and exceed your target as a recruitment consultant you can take home thousands of pounds in commission each month. Excelling as a resource, even at the lowest level of the industry, could mean that you see your basic wage almost double, and this is the case at all levels.
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