Recruitment consultant: job description

Recruitment consultants assist employers to identify, select and recruit staff for their vacancies, and help individuals find and gain appropriate employment.

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Good marketing, sales and persuasion skills are critical to a job as a recruitment consultant.

What does a recruitment consultant do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Much of a recruitment consultant’s work involves selling the services of their agency to potential clients, normally by ‘cold-calling’.

Recruitment consultants are also responsible for:

  • negotiating contracts
  • headhunting
  • 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 relationships with clients.

You could even find yourself working in graduate recruitment , hiring the best university graduates for an organisation's graduate training schemes.

Career progression and salaries (often quoted as ‘target earnings’) are dependent on employees meeting targets. For enthusiastic individuals this can be a very rewarding employment with a direct link between efforts made and financial bonuses.

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 .

Typical employers of recruitment consultants

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

Large employers, particularly in sectors such as banking and law, also employ in-house recruitment specialists.

Vacancies are advertised by recruitment agencies themselves, in local and national newspapers, and in relevant publications including People Management and Personnel Today . Directories such as The Recruitment Employment Confederation ’s member directory may be useful for speculative applications .

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 be required.

There is strong competition for vacancies at graduate level, so relevant administrative, commercial, sales or HR work experience is normally beneficial. Experience appropriate to the recruitment area may be necessary in some fields such as law, accountancy and engineering.

Entry without a degree or a higher national diploma (HND) is possible if the candidate has enough experience and can demonstrate the necessary skills. To find out more about how you can get into this career via a school leaver route (eg a school leaver training programme), see the business section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for recruitment consultants

  • Good sales skills
  • Confidence
  • Energy
  • Commercial awareness
  • Excellent presentation skills
  • Verbal communication skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Teamworking skills.

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