My first month in recruitment….by John Barker

It was an interesting experience applying for a recruitment firm through another recruitment firm. It gave me a unique opportunity to encounter the process from the outside. The initial get-to-know; the overview of the job market; the interview process, and thankfully, the offer!

Therefore, when I started here at BLT, I came with some understanding of the wants and expectations of a jobseeker. What I had yet to experience was everything else. My new colleagues were more than willing to help with this. Over the past month they have guided me through the full process, from the initial client call to the formal job acceptance. One thing became very clear: I had a lot to learn.

The recruitment industry relies on large networks – ones that need tools to manage. Equally it deals with a lot of personal information, so good practice is essential. My first few weeks involved dissecting these tools (i.e., the company database & LinkedIn) – learning how to use them properly and keep on track. It may not be the first thing that comes to mind with recruitment, but I have come to appreciate how good admin is one of the key foundations of a great recruiter.

Next came the client calls. What surprised me was that they are just as much an opportunity for open dialogue as a chance to hear a more detailed job spec. The client outlines what they want and we – as the recruiters – highlight how to make this possible. Most clients welcome constructive feedback. When I was looking for my first job, I’d thought that it was all about me trying the impress the employer. That’s only half the picture, as companies are also competing….to attract the best talent.

As my ability to use the recruitment tools developed, my shortlists grew. From here, I became more active in the process and began to approach candidates. It felt like a full circle moment, being on the other side of the process not too long ago. Much of what I have learnt has been through following up these job searches – with plenty of assistance from my team of course.

I am now at the stage where I am starting to prepare for calls with candidates. I have found the instinct to rigidly follow my checklist to be tempting. It is good to prepare and have the right questions/answers, but chances are you won’t know everything – that’s okay. What is more important is your ability to listen and understand who you are talking to. The most valuable function of these conversations is to build relationships. After all, you may not have a role for someone now but may have something perfect tomorrow.

I am aware I have only scratched the surface. There is still lots to learn and I am grateful I have a team who is willing to support me on my journey. It will be interesting to see where I am a month from now – hopefully landing some people their next jobs.

JHB Blog


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