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10 years in recruitment – 10 things I’ve learned!

This month marks my 10 year anniversary in recruitment.


It’s a major milestone, a big achievement, more than half my career and nearly a quarter of my life! I’ve placed thousands of people and recruited for hundreds of clients. I’m confident enough to say, I know what I’m doing. Recruitment was not a career publicised at school or higher education and there is often a false perception of what a typical day in recruitment looks like. I thought it would be insightful to impart a little bit of my knowledge on how commercially minded professionals in this line of work should know and what core skills and attributes are needed to be successful.

Below are 10 things no one ever told me about a career in recruitment. If you’re already a recruiter, you should be able to relate and if you are thinking about becoming a recruiter, these are good to know:

1. Surround yourself with like-minded people

It’s so important to surround yourself by colleagues who you respect and enjoying spending time with as well as those who will encourage and bring the best out in you. I’m guilty of staying in one of my earlier roles for much longer than I should have, mainly because I loved working with the team!

2. Building relationships is key

I have worked with some of the same clients and candidates over the years who have followed me as my career has progressed into HR recruitment. From a client perspective it’s about truly understanding their business & culture, and with candidates it’s about listening to what they are looking for from their next opportunity.

3. The only constant is change

I’ve always been apprehensive about change and often viewed it as negative however within recruitment things are always changing and you need to keep an open mind. I’ve learnt that not everything is within my control! I’ve started to embrace change and look at the positives in terms of new opportunities, pushing myself out my comfort zone and developing transferable skills.

4. Don’t be afraid to say no!

A big one for me! After coming from a smaller agency earlier in my career where I wasn’t always encouraged to push back, to then working for a national which was the complete opposite. It’s about being willing to challenge, doing so in a respectful way, not feeling pressured to be a ‘yes man/woman’ as well as knowing when to stop.

5. Innovate

I have been guilty of sticking to my safe ‘tried & tested’ methods however recruitment is always evolving and to succeed you need to be able to offer alternative options to your clients. I’ve learned to speak with colleagues and ask their opinion before moving forward in my decisions.

6. Be clear on your objectives

I now find business planning one of the most crucial tasks. I set out a target for the year then break it down into achievable quarterly/monthly goals. This could be a combination of financial and non-financial aims but it’s important to know what you are working towards and why.

7. Define your own metrics

Recruitment can be a real rollercoaster of highs and lows and previously I would compare myself to others in the business who seemed to be having real success at times when I wasn’t. Staying focused on your own success is key!

8. Trust your instincts

We’ve all been there, particularly when working on a temp desk where your gut instinct is telling you something’s not quite right and more often than not you are proven correct! Don’t take that job on and don’t sent that candidate forward if something is telling you not to.

9. Be genuine

Over the years I have adapted my ‘sales strategy’, quickly moving away from any scripted pitches and having genuine conversations with existing and prospect clients. Let people see the real you, determine common interests and make recruitment more enjoyable for all.

10. Believe in yourself

It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for 10 years now and I am absolutely still learning as I go. The reality is that I’m passionate about what I do and looking back I have learned so much from each of my roles which has shaped me as the HR Recruiter I am today. I find recruitment exceptionally rewarding and I am looking forward to the next 10 years…

I am excited to currently be working with a range of HR and Recruitment professionals across both Glasgow and Edinburgh so if you are a client looking to make your next HR hire, make it an Iconic one and contact me on 07734 960 876.

Likewise, I am always keen to speak with HR Advisors, HR Business Partners and fellow Recruiters who are considering their next career move! Feel free to get in touch via LinkedIn or email me at