What you need to become a recruitment consultant

The recruitment industry is highly competitive. So how do you go about joining the ranks of this fast-growing profession? Here are some points to consider.

The recruitment consultant skillset

There are a few key skills that recruitment consultants need to have to be successful. Before thinking about how your skillset matches up to what's required, ask yourself "what makes a great recruitment consultant?"

You'll need to sell yourself and the benefits of your business to potential clients to convince them that you're the ideal partner for sourcing their new talent. You will also typically find yourself selling individual candidates to your clients as well as selling employers and their businesses to prospective employees.

Networking in recruitment

The first skill you'll need is the ability to build relationships and connect with people. Success in recruitment isn't built on one-off transactions, it's all about networking, so you’ll need to be confident meeting new people and establishing trust. You'll also need to get to know your clients and understand their needs, so you can offer appropriate advice.

Part of your value to clients is also your network of potential candidates. If you already work in a professional field, you may already have a ready-made list of potential recruits that you can tap into when you make the switch into recruitment.

Recruitment market and industry knowledge

Along with getting to know your clients, you'll also need to gain an understanding of the markets you recruit into. A recruitment consultant needs to be able to quickly understand and assess a company’s needs, as well as the skills and experience of potential employees. You'll need to keep up to date with industry news and changes so you can provide relevant advice to clients and candidates. You'll need to know about salary expectations, common complaints from employees and employers in your chosen industries, and trends that could impact the job market.

Businesses are looking for expert insight and you can build your knowledge using Twitter and LinkedIn to review news and commentary to provide your own views on issues affecting relevant industries. You can also join in with online discussions and draw on your own experiences. If you can identify failures in the way things are currently done, it could help you design ways to deliver a better service and fill a gap in the recruitment market. This will all help you to increase your standing and establish yourself as someone worth listening to.

In theory, employers can use their own connections, social media for example and platforms like LinkedIn, to recruit for themselves, but they are still struggling to fill skilled, specialist positions. The most recent Employer Skills Survey1 for example, shows that roughly 24% of job vacancies were down to skill shortages. So businesses still require niche recruiters, who understand their industries and can reach the best candidates. So when considering your skillset against these ideals, have a look at your CV and identify situations where you have demonstrated these skills and flesh them out.

Recruitment consultant insurance

Advising clients naturally comes with risk - should a client feel advice you've provided has impacted them negatively they could take legal action. You may also hold large quantities of commercially sensitive and personal data, so you'll need to make sure you're protected against a data breach. To protect your business against these risks you'll want to take out recruitment insurance that can help with reputation management and cover the costs of legal defence and claims.


1. ESS_2019_Summary_Report_Nov2020.pdf