In a candidate-short market with record job postings and industries back in urgent hiring mode following the pandemic, it’s never been a better time to throw your energies into advancing your recruitment career. Consultants are entering a boom of activity and client demand like no other – approaching these challenges with a positive attitude and a handful of smart strategies up your sleeve can prove the difference between a great professional 12 months and the year that changes your life.

With over 40,000 recruitment agencies operating in the UK alone, competition to rise to the top is fierce – meaning you need the right tactics to stand out and succeed. Generate’s contractor management specialists reveal three ways that recruitment consultants can fast-track their career success.

3 Ways to Become a Director in the Recruitment Industry

1. Create a Plan of Attack – For the Long-Term and for Every Day

Good things rarely happen by accident, and this is especially true with career paths. Top billers plan not only their daily activity, but their monthly and annual strategies to ensure they’re working as smartly as possible. Amongst the noise and distractions of daily office life, a correct plan focuses your attention on the most important things to ensure that every day, you remain aligned with your end goals, and that you do at least one thing daily that moves you closer to achieving these goals.

Ask yourself the following questions to inform the direction of your working strategy:

When you’ve got everything down in writing (or a visual representation like a mind map or mood board), what you need to do will become much clearer. Use this strategy to plan your diary for the week: work out how many client calls, meetings, CV sends and interviews you and your team need to complete each week to add up to the placement total for the month. With every day planned, you’ll stay firmly on the path to success.

2. Find your Niche

Successful recruitment consultants also plan their career paths around themselves as people, and what they want from both their professional and personal lives. Finding your niche is key to building your own personal brand amongst millions of recruiters and carving out a positive reputation.

To find your niche, ask yourself:

The last question is the most important. Career-wise, your answer will be something akin to recruiting, but digging deeper will highlight specific elements of your job that will uncover your unique selling point as a recruitment consultant. You can then incorporate this into your working strategy to align your skills and interests with your goals.

For example, are you brilliant at personally supporting candidates through each stage of the process? Relationship-building and candidate care will be core to your strategy for attracting and nurturing candidates, and therefore increasing success at offer stage and candidate retention for client businesses. Or do you outperform your colleagues in client retention and building on existing client agreements? Account expansion will be the foundation of your niche brand, your specific working style and the way to achieving your personal and professional goals.

3. Use Your Network

All recruiters know that when it comes to finding the right candidate, networks are everything. However, many consultants don’t take the same approach to their own career paths.

No one is better equipped to provide an insider view on a Recruitment Director title than someone who already works in this role. Tap into your network to seek out potential senior consultant and Director-level mentors, who can give you their honest, objective advice based on their experience in recruitment.

Ask individuals both inside and outside of your company about their careers: the trajectory of their career, mistakes they made and what they wished they’d done instead, and specifically what they did to achieve their current position. Those inside your agency will know which buttons to push to gain more training investment and management support, and those outside of your company can provide impartial, direct advice on your current challenges with managers and performance.

A sure-fired way to build your own profile – and therefore increase the opportunities that come your way – is becoming a true, committed ambassador of your recruitment agency. Get involved in everything you have time for, from initiatives and projects to councils and manager support groups: anything that includes you in the strategic direction of the company and its growth. Belonging to such groups will provide invaluable learning opportunities and strengthen your connection with your colleagues and the management team. Your continued presence at the heart of the company will highlight your positive attitude and dedication to the Board and Directors, who will increasingly see you as a worthwhile investment and will reward you with their coaching time and direct access to new opportunities.

Utilise networking to learn about what your company views as a successful recruitment consultant, build beneficial relationships with colleagues who will support you, and grab new opportunities as soon as they come up.

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