3 Lies They Tell You About Being a Recruiter


I admit, when I started in recruitment I was expecting money, Moët and Manolos. But I realised quickly that in order to make that a reality, I was going to have to adjust my expectations.

Chatting with some of my recruiter friends, I found that we got into the industry for similar reasons. The girls thought they’d be prancing about in fancy clothes and going for fabulous lunches, and the boys....well, they thought the same! If I could step back in time, here’s the advice I’d give us about our top three misconceptions:

"Working in recruitment is easy money"

how to spot if a candidate is lying to you - feature-minAfter a couple of weeks, you’ll probably start wondering when all that extra cash is going to hit your bank account. In reality, recruitment is rarely the place to be if you want to make a quick buck. It takes time to know your sector, build your reputation, and grow your pipeline. But the quicker you know your stuff, the quicker you’ll see that commission.

Easier said than done though, I know! Here’s how to make it happen: know your figures. What are your ratios like: call to vacancy, CV to interview, interview to placement? What’s your average invoice value? How much do you need to bill to make the commission you want? How many placements will that take? Knowing this will help you understand the process and make more money; and your manager will love you!

It’s hard to keep yourself motivated if you’re having a tough week (or month). I stuck a list of things I wanted on my fridge, and at the end of every month I’d tick off the treats that I could buy from my commission. Having something visual gave me that push if I found my motivation wavering.

"Recruitment is an office job with office hours"

arm holing scale with money and clock

Recruitment is not a 9-5 job, you need to be flexible. Sometimes you’ll have to interview out-with office hours. If you want to be recognised as an expert in your specialist sector, you’ll need to get out there and attend events. However, if you find that you’re working 20 hour days, 7 days a week, something’s gone wrong.

You’ve got loads to do: sales calls, reviewing applications, meeting clients, interviewing candidates....and that’s not even half of it!

Set yourself a time management plan and stick to it. Now and again something will crop up that needs urgent attention, but before you rush in, think whether that task is going to make you money. It won’t? Do it later. Get the best out of your software – if you can view potentially suitable candidates or search for possible clients, step away from the spreadsheets!

If you’re strict from the start, you’ll be amazed at how often you get away on time compared to your less organised colleagues.

"Everyone loves recruiters"

Business man with big nose shadow Many people don’t understand what recruiters do. I bet within your first month at least one client proclaims that you just “fling over random CVs and charge a fortune”. Don’t be disheartened: this is your chance to educate them! Now, I don’t mean you should rant at them about how they just don’t get it, but a friendly “what’s your understanding of the service I offer?” will lead to really honest communication.

In order for a client to grasp the complexity of your role, and so that you both know exactly where you stand, why not put a service agreement in place for each position you work on? They’ll see the number of tasks that you carry out on their behalf, and it’s a great negotiation tool – if there are certain aspects of the service they don’t want, take them out and review your rate accordingly.

So, were my expectations realistic? Yes and no. It wasn’t immediate. It took learning, organising and educating, but I got there. Was it worth it? Absolutely!

Download our eBook below to get more tips on how to build your desk and and climb the recruitment ladder! 

Recruitment KPIs

Vicki Moir

After spending almost a decade in recruitment, Vicki joined Firefish in 2013. As Head of Happiness, she's responsible for all things talent and culture.

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