Recruitment careers in the UK
Serena Pook started her career at Robert Walters as a graduate in 2007. Since then she has worked her way up from consultant to manager and most recently was promoted to Head of Internal Hiring recruiting for the UK/EMEA regions.
She discusses what she looks for in a potential recruitment consultant and why Robert Walters is the perfect place for an ambitious, driven professional.
What do you look for in a potential consultant?
“Compared with other recruitment firms, we think outside the box when it comes to hiring. In terms of experience we of course look at people who’ve come from sales, HR and client facing roles, but what sets us apart is that we hire professionals from industry. Hiring from industry is one of our key differentiators and means that our people can offer in-depth industry knowledge.
We also hire graduates - I myself started as a grad - and we’ve been voted in the Job Crowd’s Top 100 Companies for Graduates in both 2015 and 2016. Recruitment is all about building relationships, so it’s not so much about a person’s background, but their personality, and how they deal with people, that really counts.
How should someone prepare for an interview?
To begin with I would recommend you update your CV, to demonstrate how your skills and experience relate to recruitment. After that, the basic things apply, make sure you’ve read the job spec, researched the company and know who our competitors are. I’m keen to understand why someone has an interest in getting into recruitment, particularly if they haven’t come from a recruitment background. Finally, always prepare some questions. This shows me that someone is genuinely interested in the role.
What sort of questions can you expect to be asked?
We may ask some sales-related questions if they’ve come from that background, but if they haven’t we will ask other competency based questions such as how they’ve demonstrated team work or supported clients in the past. We may ask them to give examples of how they are driven and self-motivated. We also want to know why they’ve chosen us over a competitor - what it is about our culture and values that attracted someone to us over another recruitment firm.
Culture at Robert Walters
We very much work in a collaborative environment, team work is one of our core values and this is evident in our team bonus structure. Unlike many of our competitors, we don’t pay individual commission, but instead focus on team based profit share. Everyone gets rewarded as a team and this is integral to our culture and success. It’s also a very meritocratic environment, hard work is rewarded with career progression and incentives.
We’re a business with lots of opportunities, in particular international placements. For those with a desire to work abroad Robert Walters is a great fit, and we actively encourage international moves. This is key to our strategy for growth - in the last four years we’ve had 100 staff move internationally.
What can you expect if you apply?
It will start with a call with either myself or one of the internal recruitment team. We will then meet with the candidate if we feel they may be a fit, and see what roles are currently available to discuss with them. If a role matches the candidate’s profile, we’ll connect them with the hiring manager in that team. Throughout the process we prepare the candidate, offering them CV and interview advice. Finally, if the person is successful, we will generally take them out for drinks so they can get to know the team.
Why choose recruitment?
Recruitment is hard work, but what it can offer over other careers is opportunity - the earnings are uncapped so if you work hard the potential is unlimited. It’s really up to you.”
Recruitment is all about building relationships, so it’s not so much about a person’s background, but their personality, that really counts.
Read how Lynley Hall made the career switch from the Big 4 into recruitment and find out about her international move from Adelaide to London.
Interested in a career with us? Please send an up-to-date CV to our Head of Internal Hiring, firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 20 7509 8482.