Following on from the success of our initial First Year in Recruitment article, we are back with the second in the series. This time, we caught up with Jodene White, Software Development Consultant at our Melbourne office, about her journey so far in recruitment and her time at SThree. Jodene has recently been promoted from Associate Consultant to Consultant, so we thought it was a great time to chat through her experience to date and some of her key takeaways from the past year.
Like many others, I sort of ''just fell into’’ recruitment. Prior to joining SThree I had no previous recruitment experience, or even any sales experience, and had majored in Marketing and HR. However, I was drawn towards the fast-paced environment of the industry and the desire to work in a people-focused role. I believe I have strong people and communication skills, and so it seemed like a natural fit. The following are some of what I have learned so far during my initial 12 months within the business…
• Honesty is the best policy
In recruitment, you are not just working for an employment agency, but as a consultant. Therefore people value your opinion and advice in getting where they want to be in their careers. Being as honest as possible is something that l learned can get you far early on. This is mainly because unfortunately, some recruiters are not honest and therefore if they aren’t impressed by a candidate, they will simply offer them no feedback or just not get back to them at all, rather than enlightening them about where they’re going wrong and pointing them in the right direction. My advice would be to always under promise and over-deliver, rather than promise somebody the world and then drastically disappoint them. Being realistic about what you can offer someone will ensure they trust in your capabilities and would be more likely to enlist your services in the future or indeed recommend you to a friend.
• Perseverance means progress
It’s common to hit a wall in recruitment, and therefore it’s also very easy to just give up. Over the course of the year, I think I learned to work smarter not harder which only came through the practice of trying and trying again. I think it’s important to keep in mind that with recruitment, all you need is 3 or 4 good clients, and not 50, which may be contrary to popular belief. Through targeted Business Development and essentially narrowing down the focus of my market, I managed to build up a really strong network of people who will come back to me as they have received a good service. I think a huge factor in this is having a strong work ethic, and that’s what the motivation to persevere comes back to, time and time again.
• Avoid being too transactional
Yes, you are providing a service to a customer, but going back to the job title itself, you are also a consultant – and this shouldn’t be taken lightly. This is actually a two-way street, so while you should be willing to consult with clients and offer advice to job seekers, you also shouldn’t be afraid of asking them for help either. Maybe this could be by way of quizzing them on market trends, or simply utilizing their experience, most clients and candidates are usually happy to help. Be willing to learn and ask them a lot of questions. This will show you’re interested and ensure the conversation is not just a one-sided chat.
• Certain qualities will get you far
It’s true that everybody’s different, but I think if you are a recruiter then there are certain common attributes that shine through. For example, as you’re very rarely perceived as a good guy in a bad situation, having thick skin is essential. Your first year is most likely to be the toughest, so as mentioned above perseverance is the only thing that will get you through! Many say confidence is key, but it’s also worthwhile to mention that this is something that can be built up over time. I personally believe that if you have a really strong work ethic and a willingness to learn, then the rest will come naturally. I also think that particularly if you were to join a company like SThree, then being a team player and open to collaboration are two of the main qualities you would need. While you are focused on your own market, you will get nowhere if you are not welcoming of and contributing to creating a supportive environment within your workplace. Last but not least, keeping a consistent flow of honest and open communication with your manager will help you get through the difficult periods, and there will be difficult periods!
• Career Goals for 2020
I joined SThree because I felt I would get more help and support there than in a larger agency, and I was definitely right. I feel the training and development I have received so far have really contributed to my recent promotion to a Recruitment Consultant, and I am looking forward to receiving more of that in 2020. I think it’s really important as a recruiter to have a constant goal in mind, whether that be a promotion, money, or even just your weekly GP. Personally, I want to build on the success I achieved in 2019 by consistently sealing 1 or 2 deals each month. I also want to continue to build my own market and hopefully take on a mentor role for new starters who join our business. I feel I learned a lot quite quickly last year, as is the fast-paced nature of recruitment, but that I have a lot more to learn in the year to come!
• Why SThree?
As mentioned above, I chose SThree because I felt there would be more guidance and support and therefore further career progression at a rapid pace in a smaller company. Before applying for the role, I hadn’t even heard of the business, which shows I had no bias upon interviewing, but I just got a really good feeling from the manager and throughout the interview process overall. While our Melbourne office is relatively small, we are looking to rapidly grow, and we are also part of a much larger global enterprise, which means the possibility of global mobility down the line, I feel the recognition you get at SThree is really motivational and definitely encourages you to work harder. It is also undeniably social, with various events and CSR initiatives taking place throughout the year. This year I was given the chance to build up my own market essentially from nothing, and while this was challenging, it was also exciting and something which I am really proud of. I don’t think I could have done this as efficiently without the help of Simon and the rest of the Melbourne team, and so I’m really excited to see what we can achieve together in 2020!
Interested in a career in recruitment or hearing more about what SThree has to offer? Please visit our SThree Careers page for more information on our current opportunities.