My first step would be to establish whether my temperament is suited to the role. Most people in recruitment display extrovert characteristics. But there are positive and negative sides to
extroversion that can make or break careers.
There is often a large gap between the external perception of recruitment consultants and the reality of the role day-to-day, so, after discovering more about myself, I would match my strengths and weaknesses to the characteristics that define the “ideal recruitment consultant”.
I would study job descriptions and scour newspaper columns for classified advertisements to discover the desirable traits most typically required. The Institute of Recruitment Professionals also helpfully publishes a guide on the qualities that make a good recruitment consultant.
Ideal qualities for recruitment roles usually include ambition, confidence, tenacity and being goal-orientated.
Strong interpersonal skills, and being a good communicator and team player are also valuable, so I would assess my strengths in all of these – but I would be careful not to be domineering. I would need to be sensitive enough to other people, listen to them and understand their concerns and requirements.
I would ask around, talk to several people in the industry and seek work experience. I would also assess how industry bodies might help and support me.
Equipped with a list of competencies I would match my own characteristics against it. I would not expect a perfect fit, but I would be looking for some degree of overlap. We can all work around our natural inclinations to some degree but I would not want to work in a role that is not a natural fit with my temperament – it would place demands on me that would be draining and exhausting.
If I felt it was a close enough fit, I would then consider my ideal working environment. I would need to fit in with the culture of the recruitment world –
so would its values sit comfortably with my own?
It’s fine to be extrovert enough to pick up the phone and talk to people but I would be happier if I was also interested in the business issues and motivated by financial success.
As most recruitment consultants flourish in high-pressure environments and enjoy working in cultures where success is both publicly and financially rewarded and where people are driven by achievement and financial success, I would make sure this suits me.