I think most of us would agree, it is very feasible to sit on the same warm IT perm desk for many years and earn a decent living. You will develop close and hopefully profitable relationships with both clients and candidates, your boss will love your dependable commission stream. Hitting your targets every month is an undeniable sign of success, (even when it rises over the years!) but is it enough to guarantee you an on-going career in recruitment? Not necessarily.
There are all sorts of events which could “shake” the status quo. The market may change significantly – world events that we can’t control - take 9/11 as an example… You might chose to move abroad with your partner - but not settle in that region or market and then find it hard to return. Maybe you want to take some time off for maternity or paternity leave – kids can change everything – I took 2 maternity leaves (in those days, very brief) in my 20’s when I worked at Select (pre-Randstad) and when I returned my area offices had changed. Or you could fall victim to the inevitable economic downturn – there is nothing like a recession to disrupt comfortable relationships.
Pardon the gloom. But in every case, you know that you want to stay within recruitment after every disruption, but you also know that you definitely need to adapt your success formula if you want to remain successful and relevant – and top of your game. Look at Madonna! The best recruiters are surely those who absolutely spot when it is time to change - and can genuinely be a chameleon. The point is, in the world we live in, if you do what you always have done - you will almost certainly not get the same outcome. Yet this still comes as a shock to some recruiters, who seem to only be able to work with one style – comfort zone perhaps?
There comes a point when some successful billing recruiters might look to get into management and often (but it shouldn’t be always) this is a natural progression – however it is a whole new skillset to learn. Truly successful billers really don’t always make the best managers. Others might want to go it alone and launch in a niche or emerging market that isn’t well served by the big boys – this can be tougher than first imagined. I have introduced and got backing to launch many recruitment joint ventures – I sometimes see that those from a brand often find it harder than they think – to balance the day job, do the back office, hire without a big banner behind them, find the time to do all the necessary workload… .
If you have the drive, the opportunities for change are there, but not always in abundance. Some clients want the skillset less important is the sector knowledge, there are agencies abroad (in many pleasant locations) who love to hire from the UK and get the experience and training on board that we enjoy here - that’s why we have offices in Singapore and Sydney, there are good careers to be had by working in high demand sectors (some of which weren’t even heard of just a few years ago – our market moves so fast!) or growing and building high performing, strong teams. By working through an acquisition the options can broaden hugely, by being fortune enough to have shares the financial benefits can be significant, occasionally life changing.
Why, therefore do some recruiters stay so long in the same role? It just doesn’t happen much anymore. The old career path of trainee/resource, consultant, team leader, manager, area/associate in the same agency, is rare. Often our skillsets are broadened faster outside – also the mind set of the next generation is to have more jobs than the previous – job for life isn’t the culture in 2017!
As Rec to Rec providers, we spend much of our time helping recruitment personnel work out their next move, plus advising clients on how to attract the right key hires. We know not all candidates move straight away, often they want to really look at the market, or wait for their dream role – similarly a client doesn’t always have an immediate need it can be an ‘as and when’ opportunity. We realise that a successful recruitment career will more often than not mean a varied recruitment career. Planning ahead and gaining experience before it is required is a key part of the learning process. By all means sit at your desk and enjoy the commission rolling in (that, in itself, is not always an easy task) - but it certainly pays to have an eye on what the future might bring.
When we strive to change, we encourage those around us to change with us.
What is your next reinvention going to bring?