How to start your recruitment career at Robert Walters
With over 13 years’ experience working in the recruitment industry, Liz Boston joined Robert Walters in 2016 as talent acquisition manager.
Liz previously managed our UK, Middle East & Africa Talent Acquisition team, and has recently transferred to the San Francisco office, managing Talent Acquisition for our North America region.
We caught up with her to find out what life at Robert Walters is like, what you can expect from the interview process and why you should consider a career with us.
What qualities are essential to succeeding in recruitment?
A strong work ethic, natural sales ability, and self-motivation are all common traits that you’ll see in the most successful consultants who work for our business. You’ll need to be able to handle the pressures of targets whilst working collaboratively as part of a wider team. Excellent communication skills and the ability to build long-term relationships both internally and externally is paramount. Being driven to succeed whilst maintaining a certain level of humility will see you go far in the Robert Walters business. We all work very closely together towards a common goal and this is a huge contributor as to why we have such a fantastic culture that everyone enjoys being a part of.
What makes Robert Walters different from other recruitment agencies?
The culture is the biggest difference here, the emphasis is on output rather than input. Our consultants are 360 (or full cycle) recruiters, meaning they handle the entire process from start to finish, identifying new businesses, managing account relationships, and sourcing candidates.
Unlike other recruitment companies we avoid setting our consultants weekly KPI’s. Instead, we give quarterly revenue targets which gives our consultants more time and encourages more of a consultative approach towards their relationships with their clients and candidates.
The events that we hold for clients and candidates are also a huge differentiator for us. The chance to network by offering something different to our clients and the freedom you’re given to build relationships is unprecedented.
Describe the working environment at Robert Walters
Fun, collaborative and encouraging. We work on a team-based profit share bonus model that ensures the sharing of information from both a candidate and client perspective is there from day one. This way of working gives everyone who joins the business a strong and supportive start to building their own success, leveraging existing relationships and working from an up-to-date and relevant candidate pool.
What types of businesses do recruiters in the US offices work with?
California (San Francisco and Los Angeles) works with high growth startups, venture capitalist firms, and small to medium enterprises focusing on leadership roles within design, marketing, finance and operations, engineering, product, and sales. On the East Coast we have offices in Toronto and New York. The teams over there focus on Finance & Accounting, Risk, Legal & Compliance, and Sales. Due to the larger presence of Financial Services businesses they service these clients as well as commerce and tech organizations. As mentioned before, many of our candidates are in leadership positions and frequently turn into clients, which in turn develops further opportunity for business development and growth.
What can a candidate expect from the Robert Walters’ interview process?
We keep things pretty fluid to ensure each candidate is given the best opportunity to meet the people that will be relevant to them in their role. I like to ensure that we get to the bottom of a candidate’s motivation to do this job as well as understand their career aspirations. This approach helps me to ensure that we’re as good a fit for them as they are for us. Successful candidates will also be invited back to meet the wider team so that they’re already integrated before their first day.
What are some of the misconceptions people have of the recruitment industry and how does Robert Walters help dispel these?
Traditionally, recruitment can be long hours but we respect that flexibility is needed. All of our consultants have Microsoft Surface Pros, which enables remote working when needed.
People sometimes say that it’s quite a cut-throat industry but our long-term relationship strategy means that we take our time doing things the right way, rather than focusing on quick wins. This is supported by our discretionary bonus model, which means that our consultants are genuinely focused on doing the right thing for our clients and candidates rather than just chasing money. We found this approach has helped us to foster a really positive work culture that encourages teamwork and collaboration.
There’s also a belief that all recruitment consultants work to strict KPI’s. We respect that every market is different and so a ‘one size fits all’ approach isn’t the most effective way to win business. We encourage autonomy, so it’s up to you to win business and build relationships with your clients and candidates how you feel is best.
Describe a typical day for a recruitment consultant at Robert Walters.
No two days are the same so it’s hard to say what a single day would be like. What you can expect is for it to be varied and busy. There’s always someone to call, someone to meet or a vacancy to help find a niche skill for. Variety is key to keeping our consultants engaged and everyone’s style and approach is different, which is refreshing for the industry.
What’s the progression like at Robert Walters?
Robert Walters is a meritocratic company so your progression is down to you and how successful you are - it’s not time bound. People have been known to receive promotions from a researcher to an associate within three months. A successful consultant can expect to see themselves progress quickly with promotions coming every 12-18 months or so. We promote from within and 90% of our senior management team have progressed from junior positions.
Why should someone make the move into recruitment?
You’ll constantly be learning and developing. After 12 years in the recruitment industry, I still find myself learning something new because the industry and market conditions are forever changing, which consistently provides new challenges without having to change careers.
If your aspirations are to work in an environment that encourages entrepreneurialism and gives you the opportunity to meet and work with industry leaders, then you should make the move.
Interested in a career at Robert Walters? Search and apply for our latest opportunities.
Alternatively, please contact Liz Boston at Liz.Boston@robertwalters.com or for a confidential discussion call +1 415 549 2035.