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Working in the Recruitment Industry: A Graduate Guide


A job within the Recruitment industry doesn’t require a specific degree, hence why it isn’t the most obvious career path for a lot of graduates. However the UK’s Recruitment industry is worth over £26 billion and offers a range of various roles to those looking for entry-level jobs in the sector.

For instance, I myself work within Marketing for STEM Graduates, whilst we have a dedicated Outreach Co-Ordinator whose tasks are closer to those typically found within the PR industry.

Building upon this, our team of Recruitment Consultants is made up of graduates from a mix of Technology, Psychology and Humanities backgrounds. Nearly all of which were recruited themselves at graduate-level and can attest to the challenging, fast-paced and rewarding nature of their respective jobs.

And testament to the resilience and rewards of the industry, the UK Recruitment sector has over 100,000 people employed within it and actually grew during the most recent recession.

What type of skills and personality traits are required?

If we concentrate purely on the role of a Recruitment Consultant we can explore how the nature of the job itself requires a blend of entrepreneurial spark, determination, interpersonal skills, research ability and an analytical approach:

A typical day’s work will involve a dynamic range of duties that will be both client and candidate orientated, so to give an outline it’s probably best to start where everything begins for a Recruitment Consultant: New Business.

First of all you’ll have to be on the ball with your research and interpersonal skills to source companies that would look to take on your services. After find the correct point of contact within an organisation, you’ll then have to make initial telephone contact to introduce yourself before potentially meeting clients to discuss their needs.

Many Recruitment companies will have dedicated New Business Developers who take initial responsibility for this process, though in a full 360 Consultant role you will be expected to develop and maintain your New Business individually.

After you’ve established your New Business you’re then onto the candidate side of the job. Many companies will have someone dedicated to attracting your job adverts and social media output to attract relevant candidate and others will also have Candidate Resourcers tasked with specifically searching for the right type of candidates for your roles, though within many Recruitment companies you will be expected to take ownership of these tasks yourself.

You’ll then have to initially screen candidates before usually interviewing the strongest in your pool with a view to introducing them to your client. This is where your interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and analytical approach will be most important as this process is time consuming and you’ll want the best chance of making a placement if you’re able to secure interviews for your candidates.

Moving on, Recruitment Consultants will then manage interview feedback on both the client and candidate sides of the coin before managing the offer process, assisting in any required salary negotiations whilst offering consultancy and advice throughout. Patience is an important asset to have at this point, as Consultants will have to remain composed whilst their hard work lies tantalisingly close to coming to fruition.

What are the biggest challenges of the role?

The ability to effectively manage a heavy workload is imperative to the role of a Recruitment Consultant. The Recruitment process is long and has a number of any given hurdles to clear and Consultants will have to manage a multitude of assignments whilst establishing New Business and keeping in regular contact with managed clients and candidates.

Remaining undeterred when you’re not able to make a placement is equally challenging, a lot of work goes into making a placement and there will be times when your work will come to nothing. The key is to learn from your disappoint and build upon it, analyse what you might have done differently and move onto the next assignment.

What are the rewards of the role?

The sky is the limit financially for a Recruitment Consultant who is dedicated to their job and enthusiastic about constantly improving within it. The commission on offer within Recruitment compares favourably in comparison to many entry-level routes on offer to graduates and if you’re able to consistently meet your set targets then the industry offers a high earning potential (with an average salary of £44k pa within Recruitment).

The job also offers graduates a chance to take ownership of a project and see it through from start to finish. This responsibility will enable graduates to thrive as they follow a steep learning trajectory which simply isn’t on offer within industries that required a specific degrees to secure an entry-level job in. Knowing that you’ve made the most of a blend of abilities to find the right person for an organisation is equally rewarding and graduates within the industry are given the chance to hit the ground running in this sense.

How to get into the recruitment industry?

Graduates looking to launch their career within the Recruitment industry have a number of options open to them.

It’s worth doing your research on companies that specialise in a particular area of work you find interesting or an area that relates to your degree and introduce yourself with a speculative cover letter. Additionally, most of the large Recruitment companies will advertise dedicated graduate schemes – so find out what you can about the culture of a given organisation and take time to decide if they’re right for you.

Ultimately however, if you’re looking at a career in Recruitment it’s a case of getting your name out there and introducing yourself – if you can demonstrate the skills required to succeed in the industry then you’ll find that Recruitment companies will be keen to give you a chance.


Mark Bradford, Marketing Executive, Graduates Logo


Julie joins Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) team as SIE Intern for UWS

SIE logoJulie McElroy has been appointed as an intern with Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) at the University of the West of Scotland, (UWS) for the academic session of 2015/2016. Julie will join Angela Castellano in the role, as SIE seeks to expand its services to more students across the university’s campuses

Julie is currently a final year PhD student based within the School of Computing and Engineering at UWS. Julie from Glasgow, was born both profoundly deaf and with Cerebral Palsy, which affects the messages sent between the brain and the muscles, which affects her movements and coordination. Angela is a second year undergraduate studying ‘Web and Mobile Development’ in the School of Computing and will be reprising her role having started with SIE in a voluntary Ambassador position last year before becoming an SIE intern in full.

The Scottish Institute for Enterprise exists to help Scotland’s Higher Education students to develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and skill-set through encouragement and support structures designed to assist them in launching new for-profit and non-profit ventures. The SIE Intern Programme is one of the key ways this is achieved.

Julie and Angela’s remit with the Scottish Institute of Enterprise (SIE) will be to complement the current activities of the SIE team – working closely to support initiatives which stimulate entrepreneurship within the student population at their institution. The key requirement will be to support SIE activities and initiatives, but also to support locally based projects, for the benefit of UWS.

The main goal of the SIE Intern is to use peer-to-peer communication to raise awareness of and engagement with entrepreneurship and enterprise through SIE and other programmes, events and services.

Speaking of this appointment, Julie says ‘I am delighted to be joining the Scottish Institute for Enterprise to promote entrepreneurial and innovation for the University of the West of Scotland. I am looking forward to engaging with the students and staff communities at the University to ensure they are aware of resources available to consider entrepreneurship. Working closely with Scottish Institute for Enterprise will ensure we can set out together, across Higher Education achieving a collective-impact approach through unleashing the entrepreneurial spirits, wealth of knowledge, talent and creativity that will economically benefit our nation in the future.”

Kieran Smyth, Regional Intern Coordinator and Intern Trainer who recruited Julie as an Intern this year says “It is really great to have Julie on board as part of the SIE team. She has an impressive knowledge of the entrepreneurial landscape and has so much to bring, not just to the role of intern at UWS but to the intern programme as a whole. I am sure that between her and Angela, we are on the verge of an explosion of entrepreneurial activity at UWS.”

The Careers & Employability Team wish Julie every success in her new role and we look forward to working with both of our SIE interns in the coming year.

Make the most of your time at university

As we say welcome to our new students and welcome back to our returning students, it’s a good opportunity to remind you that university life isn’t just about studying and partying, but also about developing your skills for your future career.

Welcome phrase words cloud concept

Employers are looking to recruit graduates with a broad range of  employability skills and global competencies that have been developed through academic study, work experience, and extra-curricular activities.

Understanding your skills and strengths and having the ability to identify opportunities to develop your potential will help you find the right fit in terms of your chosen career and your role in society.

Check out our Developing Your Skills & International Options sections on our website for more on this.

What’s it like to be part of the HP Graduate Development Programme?

HPlogoI am currently working for Hewlett Packard (HP) in the Erskine campus as part of the UK&I ITO Graduate Development Programme. I am working as part of HP Enterprise Services which is focused on providing IT, business and outsourcing services to major and minor companies across the globe, with the ITO (Infrastructure Technology Outsourcing) part of the business running the IT infrastructure for major companies such as Rolls-Royce, Ministry of Defence (MoD), Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and more.

What is your role?
I am on the 2-year ITO Graduate Development Programme as a Technical Graduate. Within these 2 years every Graduate rotates assignments every 6-9 months in order to build a good range of skills and to allow each of us to experience multiple roles within the business. I am currently on my 2nd rotation which has me sitting within the Core Services team. The objective of this team is to manage and maintain all of the environments and users within the MoD account, which can involve anything from resetting passwords to troubleshooting and repairing hardware and software. I am learning new things every day so I am enjoying the experience so far!

How long have you been in this role?
I have only been in my second rotation for a few weeks. I had a great experience within my first role as it allowed me to work with staff members from various teams which has helped to establish a good network of people within the office. It was also a good stepping stone for learning how the MoD account is structured, which has set me up well for my second rotation which heavily relies on having good working knowledge of the account. I am looking forward to getting properly started within my second role as it is shaping up to be much more varied and work intensive than my first role. I have no doubts I will be learning a lot in the next 6-9 months!

What are the three most important skills you use at work?
As a Technical Graduate the three most important skills I use in work are teamwork, communication and time management. You will always find yourself as part of some form of team within HP. Being able to work and communicate well as a member of that team is vital. Communication in general is an important skill, speaking to anyone, be that other Graduates, managers or even staff members from other teams. Building a network within the workplace can be very beneficial for both the immediate and distant future. And finally time management, it’s not uncommon to find yourself working on a number of different tasks simultaneously whilst working in HP, and being able to effectively manage your time in order to get the most out of your day is a great skill to have.

What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day involves communicating with team members and managers to establish what checks need to be done for each day. Once that has been done our job is to keep an eye out for any problems or requests that are raised. There is a lot of employees working within the MoD account not only here in Erskine but all across the UK so there is never a shortage of tasks for our team to work on. And being part of a maintenance team means the ability to be able to pick up and react to these issues quickly is vital to ensure everyone can continue to do their work. It can be stressful at times but it certainly keeps you busy!

How has your job changed since you started?
The first couple of months were a huge learning curve for me as working within a company as big as HP was different to anything I have done before. It took a few months to learn not only how HP as a business operates, I also had to learn how the account I was working in operated also, as well as learning the software and processes required for my new role. Due to this I spent a lot of time training and shadowing colleagues in order to gain an understanding of how everything works. Since then I have gained a lot more confidence in my ability, and have become more familiar with the various aspects of the work. This has allowed me to take on a lot more responsibility and have a much higher workload than I did in the first few months, which can only improve the more I continue to learn.

What are the best and worst things about your job?
Coming into HP there was a lot of new software and technology I had never worked with as a student in university. Since joining I have had to learn how to use a great number of systems in order to perform my day-to-day job. On top of this I have also had to learn the processes and regulations within the MoD account so there has been a lot of things I have had to learn. Luckily everyone has been so nice, and everyone from my Graduate and Work Managers down to the other Graduates have always been happy to answer any questions I have had. No matter how trivial the question is it is always best to ask. I have quickly learned that more often than not someone else has been sitting wondering the exact same thing as well!
The worst thing about the job so far is moving to a new rotation has meant having to leave a great team of people behind. Working with a new group of people is an exciting prospect though, and I am looking forward to my time within my new role. But it is important to maintain good working relationships with my previous team also.


What one key piece of advice would you give to a student wishing to get into your line of work?
Be proactive! Working within the technical field is a constant learning process and it is vital to keep as educated as possible in order to stay relevant. This can be as big as learning to work with a new piece of technology or software, or as small as learning a new shortcut or process within an existing piece of software. There is never a shortage of things to learn, and working with HP on the ITO Graduate Development Programme will provide plenty of opportunities for you to learn new things!

A guest blog by Scott Lang – BEng (Hons) Networked Systems Engineering at GCU– Graduated in 2014

Interview Presentation Tips For Success

As if going for interview wasn’t stressful enough… sometimes we are asked to give a presentation as part of the process! If the thought of this fills you with dread, read our top five tips to help:

Preparation is key!

You will be given a topic and a time limit for your presentation. You should research the topic and how it relates to the company. Be creative about sourcing information. Decide which information is relevant and collate your ideas, grouping them in themes as they emerge. Think about your audience, in order to ensure you pitch your presentation at the right level.

Get the structure right

Developing a clear structure for your presentation will help you stay focused and help your audience follow you. Have a clear message that runs through the presentation.

You should make sure you have a powerful introduction and memorable close, as these are the times when your audience will be most attentive. Ensure that your ideas are clear and come in a logical sequence.

When calculating how much time to spend on each section you should allow 10-15% for your opening, and the same for your conclusion, then the remainder of time should be spent on the main content.

Prepare visual aids

It’s important that you use a mode of presentation that you can operate with ease. There are several alternatives to the traditional PowerPoint presentation that can reflect different skills, however be cautious about being flashy in order to emphasise technical expertise as this can cause problems with audience distraction.

Do not subject your audience to “death by PowerPoint” – keep your visual aids simple and use to emphasise what you are saying rather than taking the focus away from you.

Also consider providing hand-outs for the audience to keep as a reminder of you and your presentation.

Practice, practice, practice

Rehearsing is essential to feeling confident on the day. As well as familiarising yourself with the content, you should check your timings are right.

Find what works best for you: speaking out loud to yourself in the shower, picking up presentation tactics from the Internet (TED talks are a great resource for this), or familiarising yourself with your presentation over and over.

If possible, do a dummy run in front of a friend or family member and ask for constructive feedback. Alternatively, take a video of yourself and observe what worked well and what you need to improve.

Body language

The way you deliver your presentation and how you appear to your audience is just as important as what you say. If your message, tone of delivery and body language are consistent, you will present powerfully and with impact. Nerves are natural, but you can channel a feeling of confidence simply by changing your posture. Remember to smile and to have eye contact with your audience.


Finally… remember that the audience wants you to succeed! You were invited to interview because they think you have something to offer and they want to see more. Follow these tips and show them that you are the right candidate for the job.



By Carol Vaughan, Careers & Employability Service Information Services Co-ordinator

British Science Week – #BSW15


It’s British Science Week this week (previously known as Science & Engineering Week) – a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths, featuring fascinating, entertaining and engaging events and activities across the UK for people of all ages.

We thought we’d start the week off with some fun science facts…

  • It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open
  • A medium-sized cumulus cloud weighs about the same as 80 elephants
  • A single bolt of lightning contains enough energy to cook 100,000 pieces of toast
  • In an average lifetime, human skin completely replaces itself 900 times
  • A red blood cell can make a complete circuit of your body in 20 seconds
  • An electric eel can produce a shock of up to 650 volts
  • If the Sun were the size of a beach ball then Jupiter would be the size of a golf ball and the Earth would be as small as a pea
  • Women blink nearly twice as often as men
  • The amount of carbon in the human body is enough to fill about 9,000 ‘lead’ pencils
  • Hot water freezes faster than cold water


For more on British Science Week visit the website or check them out on Twitter and Facebook:

Thinking about STEM careers? Check out these links:

By Carol Vaughan, Information Services Co-ordinator, UWS Careers & Employability Service

Boost your commercial awareness with professional magazines and newsletters

Most work sectors have professional magazine publications both in printed and/or digital formats with news and discussion about what’s going on in the sector. Many also have free digital newsletters that you can sign up to receive.

These are a great way for you to build your knowledge and commercial awareness of the sector you want to work in.

The best way to find these publications is to search by sector, for example “teaching”, “human resource management” or “science”. Some examples:

  • Times Higher Education Supplement
  • PlanetEarth
  • International Accountant
  • PR Week
  • HR Magazine
  • The Scientist

Don’t forget that many of these also have Social Media accounts where they publish up to date news and information.

Get on the list, get connected, and stand out from the crowd during the job application process with your up to date knowledge and commercial awareness!


By Carol Vaughan, Information Services Co-ordinator, UWS Careers & Employability Service

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