Recruitment leaders share their biggest lessons
Fast-paced and ever-changing, the recruitment industry can at times be difficult to navigate. That's why we asked top recruiters to reveal the most important lesson they’ve learned in their careers, and the impact it has had on their success. 

First impressions count

Jacky Mason, principal consultant at Hudson, likes to remind candidates and recruiters alike that you can never make a first impression twice.   

“How you conduct yourself, your attire, how much time you have taken in your preparation, and the way you communicate and listen to your potential new employer are all crucial,” she says.  

“I’ve found that some of the most experienced candidates may be the most inexperienced in interviewing, so don’t assume.

“How you prepare candidates, and the tools you enable them with, will make a difference to the outcome for themselves, and for their future career prospects.”

Knowledge is power

‘Ask questions and don’t make assumptions’ is the mantra of Jane McNeill, managing director for Hays.

“When taking an in-depth job description from a client, or interviewing a candidate for a job, leave no questions unanswered. Knowledge is power, and if you don’t understand the job exactly, you can’t find the right person. And if you don’t find out what a candidate is looking for, and what they’re really looking to get out of a job, you can’t find the right job for them.”

The upside of getting this right, though, is that acceptance rates on offers become higher, candidates stay in jobs for longer – and organisations and candidates became repeat customers.

People-first approach

A nugget that Todd Pavlou, chief operations officer at Protech, learnt from his first boss is, ‘look after your people, and you are 90 per cent of the way there’.

“People, working together in a collaborative manner, with a clear and simple purpose, can do great things – far more than any one individual, no matter how talented. I’ve learnt to balance the measurable business outcomes with the often immeasurable personal impacts, to ensure that all actions are looked at through both lenses,” he says.

“This is especially important to remember when placed under pressure. People first.”

Skin in the game

Michael Simonyi, principal consultant at Davidson, has learned to only work with clients who are similarly committed to the process of securing a high-quality outcome.

“An MD and I genuinely collaborated to secure a national sales manager who made a profoundly positive impact on the business. Working closely with a client who truly had ‘skin in the game’ had a profound impact on me.”

“I’ve also learned when to say ‘no’ – from the HR and hiring managers I’ve talked to, who believe that recruiting should be a race to the bottom, with multiple recruiters engaging in a CV-flicking race, after delivering a scant brief, or just emailing a position description.”

Our product is our people

For Tom Moore, Manager, sales and marketing at Robert Walters, ‘the candidate is king’.

“Having the ability to build meaningful, trust-based relationships with candidates is a critical skill to a recruitment consultant. Our product is our people – our candidates. The very nature of humans, and what makes our job quite challenging, is that people change their mind, circumstances can change, and any number of outside factors can impact on their careers.”

“Without a strong relationship with your candidates, everything becomes harder, and you will find it difficult to align your candidates and your clients’ needs.”