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6 Lessons You'll Learn in Your First 6 Months as a Recruiter

Date: 08 November 2018

Your first few months as a recruiter are going to be tough. There’s lots to take in, from mastering IT systems to getting to grips with how recruitment processes actually work. And you’ll almost certainly feel out of your depth at some points.
Don’t worry, this is normal. 
It’s a steep learning curve, but one that will stand you in great stead for the rest of your recruitment career, so embrace it. Here are 6 lessons you’ll learn in your first 6 months, as told by Phaidon International recruiters.

How to Manage People's Expectations

Tiffany Wan from our Selby Jennings brand in Hong Kong says the biggest lesson learned from her first 6 months was how “to manage people’s expectations”.
As a recruiter you act as a consultant to your clients. This means you need to give them an idea of what the market looks like at that moment in time. You need to make sure they’re aware of how long it may take to fill their position. And you have to advise on sensitive issues like whether their budget is big enough. 
But you also need a good relationship with your candidates, which you can only gain through building an authentic connection. You need to be completely open about what they will get from you and be ready to address any doubts or concerns they have.
Being a good recruiter involves walking everyone involved through what could otherwise be a complicated and drawn out process. It means ensuring they’re in the picture at every stage, keeping things moving along, and also pushing back where necessary.

Money Isn’t Everything

The financial rewards on offer in recruitment are one of the main reasons people choose to join the profession. But while a hefty commission payment at the end of each month is a great motivator, you’ll soon learn to get enjoyment from other aspects of the role. 
Hanna Ito from our LVI Associates office in Boston has learned that “you need to care about more than the money to pull out true value in this job”. 
“Not to argue that money and uncapped commission in this job isn't great - it's a huge incentive/reward - but money isn't everything. The impact I can have on someone's professional and personal life by finding them a dream job is amazingly rewarding".

Knowledge is King

One of the hardest lessons for new recruiters is not to start a recruitment process without all of the necessary information. Doing this can lead to all sorts of problems later down the line. 
‘It’s vital to never stop asking questions’, rather than making assumptions or taking details for granted, shares Carlos Martinez from our Glocomms brand in San Francisco.
“Sometimes they are difficult questions, especially when you know it might not be a positive answer”. But it’s far better to know all of the answers upfront than risk a deal being scuppered by details you should have confirmed in the beginning.

Every Day is a New Challenge

“No day will be the same” says Jason Newby from our DSJ Global office in Dallas. Some weeks you’ll feel on top of the world, others will seem as though nothing else could possibly go wrong. 
You’ll learn that in recruitment, everyday brings its own unique challenges, but these are what keeps the role interesting. 
According to Jason, ‘there are certainly highs and lows to the job. But it’s so dynamic that it keeps you motivated and coming back, despite the lows.”

Listen First

Many people think that the sales aspect of recruitment is about having the gift of the gab. Sure, you definitely need to be able to charm and influence people. But it’s often your ears and not your mouth that are key to doing that. 
As Guy Burch from our Glocomms brand in Berlin puts it, “the best salespeople are good listeners. Instead of trying to push square pegs into round holes, understanding candidate and client needs allows for an easy sell.

Perseverance Pays Off

One thing that every recruiter comes to realise in their first few months is that perseverance is key. You need to learn to pick yourself up every day and start again, regardless of how the previous day went. 
And if that means knocking on the same doors repeatedly until they open, then so be it. “persistence beats resistance” says Guy Burch, “one no now doesn’t mean no forever”.