Recruitment consultant: job description

Last updated: 29 Feb 2024, 12:31

Recruitment consultants work with employers and individuals to place people looking for work into suitable roles.

Supported by:

Vivid Resourcing

Recruitment consultant wearing a suit and tie

What does a recruitment consultant do? Salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Skills

Recruitment consultants help employers identify and select people for jobs, and work with individuals to help them find suitable work for their skills. Much of a recruitment consultant’s work involves selling the services of their agency to potential clients, normally by ‘cold-calling’.

Typical duties include:

  • negotiating contracts with clients
  • advising clients on selecting suitable candidates for their vacancies
  • interviewing and assessing prospective applicants and matching them with vacancies at client companies
  • screening candidates and drawing up shortlists of candidates for clients to interview
  • organising interviews and selection events
  • making arrangements for the advertisement of vacancies
  • helping applicants to prepare for interviews
  • building and maintaining relationships with clients
  • maintaining records of candidates and clients
  • identifying potential new clients and acquiring their business.

The nature of recruitment means that recruitment consultants need to attract new clients regularly. This can involve an element of sales and cold calling to meet new client targets. For enthusiastic individuals this can be a very rewarding employment with a direct link between efforts made and financial bonuses.

You’re likely to work standard office hours (nine-to-five), although you may need work late from time to time – for example, to attend evening events).

Read our article on a graduate career in recruitment consulting to find out more about what life is like in recruitment and find out what to expect from your first recruitment consulting job.

Note that you could also as an in-house recruiter for an employer, specialising in filling their vacancies.

Graduate salaries

Salaries for recruitment consultants can vary depending on the sector of work and location. Based on individual job listings we’ve looked at, graduate and trainee starting salaries can range from £16,000 to £25,000. Senior consultants typically earn between £28,000 and £35,000 – salaries are higher for those in management positions, for example. On top of this, you’ll receive commission (known as ‘target earnings’) for any new clients you bring in, increasing the annual salary.

Typical employers of recruitment consultants

  • Regional and national recruitment agencies.
  • Local independent agencies.
  • Specialist agencies that recruit in specific areas such as engineering and accountancy.

Vacancies are advertised on targetjobs and by careers services. You’ll also find them advertised by recruitment agencies themselves and by specialist jobs boards.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into this career for both graduates and school leavers. For graduates, a degree in any discipline is acceptable for entry into the profession, although a qualification in a relevant subject such as human resources, marketing, psychology, business studies or management can be advantageous. For specialist recruitment agencies, a degree related to its specialism such as law, accountancy or engineering may also be helpful.

Administrative, commercial, sales or HR work experience will help your job applications stand out as many of the skills involved are also used in recruitment. Customer relations experience – for example, bar or retail work – will also be valuable for the same reason.

Once you’re employed, you’re likely to receive on the job training and opportunities to progress – often quickly.

You can also enter this profession without a degree or a higher national diploma (HND) if you have the right skills. You could also consider an apprenticeship, in which you study on day release and work in a related role. To find out more about apprenticeships and how you can get into recruitment via a school leaver route, see targetapprenticeships .

Key skills for recruitment consultants

  • Sales skills.
  • The ability to build and maintain client relationships.
  • Commercial awareness.
  • Excellent presentation skills.
  • Verbal communication skills.
  • Organisational skills.
  • Teamworking skills.
  • The ability to continue to learn about the profession – for example, about how the law affects recruitment.

Next: search graduate jobs and internships

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