The theme for this years International Women’s Day is #BalanceForBetter.
This theme aims to promote gender balance as a driving factor in achieving a better working world. Recruitment is an industry in which females are closing the gap in terms of gender equity. As a female who has been in the recruitment industry for 15 years now, I thought I would share some insights from my career to date. Hopefully some of this will be relevant for both male recruiters as well as female, and will be of benefit to those already working within the industry, as well as those just starting out.
As with many recruiters, I kind of fell into the industry. I actually studied Politics and French at the University of Limerick before embarking on the EOP programme which was run by IBEC. I travelled to Paris on that before returning back to do a Postgraduate in Business at UL. Following on from this, the Graduate programme at IBEC was hiring for a Recruitment Coordinator. That was two years long and was fast-paced, involving a very high volume of recruitment. This gave me my first taste of recruitment and helped me to identify that it was most definitely for me. After 2 yrs I decided investigate the world of agency recruitment and that is where I came across the open day for Morgan McKinley. It struck me immediately as the kind of environment where if you were willing to work hard, get the head down and work in a sales environment, then the possibilities were endless, and I guess that’s what attracted me to the business in the first place.
Personally, I think it’s important to put in a hard days work while you are in the office, giving you room to relax when you are at home. If you let it slip or put things on the back burner then that’s where you could end up having to panic. It doesn’t matter what your role is you should make the hours which you do count. The attitude I like to have in mind is whether you want to be average at what you do or excel at it. Aiming to be good at what you do and working towards that definitely makes life easier. Going home and feeling like you gave it 120% during your day gives a sense of satisfaction and ensures you feel calm about the next day ahead.
On a daily basis, I try and do something which works on my personal brand. I try and get creative with how I go about this, for example I try and put up an innovative post on LinkedIn maybe not every day, but every other day at least. Every single day, I try and do something to benefit my personal brand - that could be meeting somebody from a relevant organisation, or going to an industry specific event. That means I’m reaching out about my brand externally as well. There should be time allocated to this kind of brand building each and every day.
Something you most definitely need to learn in this business is to not take rejection too personally. Within recruitment, you can build up a rapport and be in a process with someone for a very long time, for them to just turn around then and take a counter offer. Counter offers are a fact of life in recruitment and are going to happen, regardless of whether you are an excellent recruiter or not. Having lots going on and not concentrating all your efforts or resources in the one area is the ultimate solution to handling rejection. That way if all else fails, you will always have a back up plan. If you miss out on something, or in the recruitment world - somebody, you do think about it, but eventually you do just have to park it and move on, and take it as a lesson learned so that some good will come of it. You can do this by analyzing where you went wrong and seeing what tell-tale signs were there that perhaps the situation in question wasn’t going to work out.
Every candidate you send out for interview is a reflection of not only your company/agency, but also your personal brand. Preparing candidates for interview as and when they need it is a necessity in this business to stay on top of your game. The key to success is remembering that how the candidate performs in interview is coming back as a direct representation of you. This is why interview preparation is absolutely fundamental to what I do. You don’t want a candidate going for interview and coming across as totally unprepared and not suitable at all for the role. Therefore having control of how they portray themselves, and therefore you, is key to a positive reputation within the market. Going back to the personal branding as mentioned above, we are brand of ourselves. We are like intrepreneurs if you like. We have the support of the bigger brand (i.e. the company or organisation you are part of), but then we must use our own entrepreneurial skills to promote ourselves and what we can offer at the same time.
You should never stop expanding your network. Talking to the right people about something of value will mean that you’re consistently learning. That also means that they will be talking about you to their own network and spreading the word about what you are doing. I like to meet certain people within the industry because they are relevant to my market and I can promote them and use them for business development. Never underestimate the power of face to face contact and even phone contact as opposed to contacting people by email. The personal approach will stand to you in the long run.
This last part should make life in recruitment easier. I keep the above attitude in mind in regards to work and it has served me well through the years. Prioritizing your workload can be a helpful tip no matter what industry you’re in. This can mean not stopping until your work for the day is done, skipping that cup of tea until your next role is filled, etc. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a work/life balance. As mentioned above, by doing a hard days work, you are giving yourself room to relax when not in the office and can reap the rewards of your hard work - financial security, independence, etc.
I hope the above has given you some valuable insights into how I’ve gotten to where I am in my career to date. As a female in recruitment, I feel there is a good mix of gender equality within the industry, but more could be done to promote female leadership and in order to attract and retain female talent, particularly in regards to traditionally male dominated sectors like Technology. Hopefully my advice above can resonate with readers on some level, whether they be male, female, working in recruitment or otherwise, and if you have any questions or would like to hear more please don’t hesitate to contact myself at the below contact details.