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4 lessons from 10 years as a recruiter

Posted on 15/04/2021
by David Leadbitter

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I recently celebrated ten years with Client Server, which is also the sum of my experience in recruitment, so what have I learned in the past decade? A huge amount, too much to write here, but let me share a few lessons learnt:

  • 1 - Consistency is key

The Consistent Recruiter. It sounds like the title of the latest Benedict Cumberbatch spy thriller, with Gary Oldman as the slightly sinister-looking colleague, or is he the enemy? The key to a career in recruitment is a consistency of activity and emotion. Suppose you can maintain high activity levels and an even temperament. In that case, you can ride the waves of not billing, erratic clients and candidates, starting new desks, starting a business in a foreign country and a global pandemic!

  • 2 - Evolve

Consistency is crucial but don’t get stuck in your ways. If you have a growth mindset, you will naturally tweak your approach here and alter your day format there to work as smart and efficiently as possible.  Don’t over-think, but you mustn’t be just going through the motions. Otherwise, those wheels will eventually fall off.

  • 3 - Adapt to the ways of your client, and quickly!

The sooner you know your client, the better! Urgency, prodding and probing are some of the tools of the trade but remember that not every client responds as quickly as you would like, no matter what the situation, and sometimes you have to pick your battles. Not everyone cares as much as you do. They might have different priorities. Work out what they are, and your relationship with your client will develop in leaps and bounds.

  • 4 - Listen

And I mean, really listen.  I still remember one of the first things I was told when I joined Client Server - “You have two ears and one mouth.”  A bit corny I know, but it’s true.  It’s essential that you truly listen to what’s said (and not said), to ask open questions, to hear tone, to recognise a reaction to what you say, to be comfortable with pauses and silences – that way you will give the person the opportunity to properly express themselves, which means you have a better chance of understanding them and ultimately help them develop their career, and therefore their life.