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How to become a recruitment consultant

By Fi Darby

Over the last few decades, there have been vast changes in Australian employment. With declines in manufacturing and agriculture, technological advancement and an aging population, we are experiencing employment change on a massive scale. 

This has led to a rise in job availability for human resource professionals, including recruitment consultants. This is one of Australia’s very large occupation groups. 

Recruitment jobs in Australia

Over the next five years around 11,800 human resource job openings are expected per year (source: JobOutlook). Across Australia’s new key industries, competition to recruit the best employees is high and Australia’s businesses are turning to recruitment agencies to help them build their workforce.

Recruitment consultant questions

  1. What does a recruitment consultant do?
  2. What are the requirements for recruitment jobs?

1. What does a recruitment consultant do?

Recruitment consultants usually work within a recruitment agency but some larger organisations may have their own recruitment specialists. A recruitment consultant works closely with clients to understand their workforce and recruitment needs. 

Once these have been established, they will use their knowledge of recruitment processes and existing relationships with job seekers to build potential job matches. Once a shortlist of possible candidates has been established, a recruitment consultant will perform initial interviews and background checks as required by the client.

Day-to-day tasks for recruitment consultants include:
  • Attending meetings and networking opportunities with clients and potential job candidates
  • Taking steps to ensure a detailed understanding of organisations and industries
  • Creating advertising material for a wide range of media including online and social media
  • Updating and accessing candidate and client databases
  • Headhunting specific candidates to meet recruitment requirements
  • Meeting with candidates to establish their requirements and explain opportunities
  • Advising candidates on CV development and interview preparation
  • Advising clients and candidates with regard to career moves and salaries

2. What are the requirements for recruitment jobs?

HR professionals interviewing job applicant

Recruitment consultants are part of the wider human resource industry. Human resource skills and qualifications are useful for those considering recruitment jobs, for example working as a human resource assistant. Whether you want to move from another human resource role or change careers, the requirements for recruitment jobs are the same.

Recruitment consultants and other human resource professionals work full-time (81%) or part time (19%), based on a full-time average of 42 hours per week (source: JobOutlook).

Many recruitment consultants (52%) are qualified to Bachelor degree level or higher. Human resource qualifications at Certificate level and Diploma level can also lead to work in a recruitment role

Whilst some people do work in recruitment agencies without formal human resource qualifications, employers usually require evidence of study or training

For those looking for a sideways career step, previous experience in marketing, sales or other customer-facing roles can be useful. Familiarity with other jobs or hobbies that require good communication skills will also be recognised

5 skills you need to be a recruitment consultant

  1. Communication skills.
  2. Interpersonal skills.
  3. Discretion.
  4. Self-Motivation.
  5. Self-Confidence.
Recruitment consultants need to be flexible and develop a range of personal skills. These include:

1. Communication skills.

As a recruitment consultant you will be required to communicate clearly and accurately with people at all organisational levels. You might have a meeting with a top company executive in the morning followed by a school recruitment drive in the afternoon. We aren’t all natural extroverts but the key to great communication skills is practice. Take on people-based tasks at work and try sociable hobbies during your leisure time.

2. Interpersonal skills.

Interpersonal skills are the skills you use when you interact with other people. If you are a great team worker, happy to take the lead on projects and the person colleagues choose to work with, you probably have a good set of interpersonal skills. If these don’t apply to you don’t worry, interpersonal skills can be developed. Work on these five aspects:
  • Developing a positive outlook
  • Controlling your emotions
  • Appreciating other people
  • Listening carefully
  • Learning from others

3. Discretion.

recruitment concept

Recruitment is big business and getting it right can mean make or break for organisations. For both your clients and your candidates, the risks of leaked recruitment information are high. 

This means that, as a recruitment consultant, it will be up to you to work in discreet and confidential ways. Before you apply for jobs in this role, make sure your CV shows evidence of situations in which discretion has been important.

4. Self-motivation.

A successful recruitment consultant will always be a hard-working one. Make sure that you enjoy hard work and can motivate yourself when times seem tricky. 

If you are used to someone else directing your day, ask for projects with a bit more independence. Another way to build your self-motivation skills is to start a side-hustle. Being your own boss, even for part of your day is one of life’s most motivating experiences.

5. Self-Confidence.

You will need bags of self-confidence to succeed as a recruitment consultant. This can be tricky when you first start out in a career so takes steps to build your self-confidence before you apply for recruitment jobs. 

The good news is that you can do this gradually and without putting yourself into awkward situations. Tips for self-confidence building include:
  • Being positive: talk yourself up instead of putting yourself down
  • Building up your strengths: find out what you do well and do it even better
  • Getting some learning in the bag: enrol in a flexible online course
  • Watching other people: mimic the habits of confident people
  • Developing a problem-solving attitude: try to say, ‘How can I’ rather than, ‘I can’t’
  • Asking for help: see this as a strength rather than a weakness
Working as a recruitment consultant is a fast-moving and exciting job. This is a career that will see you grow as a person, developing skills you didn’t previously know you needed. You will need to be prepared for competition and be able to work to targets but the rewards for those who succeed are high. 

Recruitment consultants in Australia earn an average of $56,000 and the most successful receive generous bonuses and commission on top of this. Competition is high so, if you are looking for a slice of this lucrative and satisfying pie, start building your skills and qualifications today. 

Ready to build a career in HR?

Upskilled is one of Australia’s most popular Registered Training Organisations (RTO) and offers a range of flexible, online courses in human resources that can be easily fitted into a busy lifestyle. 

Most Upskilled courses only take 12-months and can bring you the qualifications you need to take your first steps into the world of recruitment. Talk to one of Upskilled’s education consultants today and find out more about how online study can benefit you and your career.
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