Fewer Barriers in Meritocratic World of Recruitment

67% of you believe your management and leadership skills make recruitment a suitable career choice. Despite this, there are still a low number of officers choosing to go into this industry. Former infantry officer James Wakefield shares what he finds rewarding about the work, both professionally and financially, and how the world of recruitment can benefit from your skills.

Quick progression

Essentially, recruitment is a meritocratic business and one that James believes you can get the hang of quickly, within three to nine months.

James says: “If you’re good at it there is the opportunity for rapid career progression and development. This means your leadership skills can be utilised quickly too.”

He adds: “There are fewer barriers to success in this industry, which means that your leadership and management skills can come to the fore before they start to fade.”

Culture of the industry

Some people can be put off by perceptions of the industry being ‘aggressive’ or ‘cutthroat’, with recruiters working long hours on low salaries.

James agrees there is some truth in this but is quick to point out there is a lot of differentiation in the industry. In areas where salaries are lower and hours are longer, the atmosphere tends to be more sales-focused and intense.

However, the culture varies a lot, depending on the sort of recruitment you’re working in. He says: “In a volume-driven recruitment ‘agency’ environment longer hours and lower fixed pay may be the norm. However, as a general rule, officers tend to suit more specialist, low volume recruitment where the hours, salary-to-commission ratio and typical environment are quite a lot more reasonable.”

He adds: “People may also be put off by what they perceived to be a ‘lower’ salary but this also depends on your time in the Services and what you’ve become accustomed to. For an officer in their ’20s the salary can be similar to what they’ve left behind, the difference is they can make twice that in commission. There is the opportunity to earn as much as you deliver.”

Less emphasis on qualifications

There may be some qualifications that are useful if you’re going into a specific sector, finance for example, but the reality is, in order to be successful, you need to be:

  • Organised.
  • Good at managing multiple projects.
  • Persuasive and confident.
  • Able to sell and interact professionally at all levels.
  • Able to negotiate

James adds: “With our background, we’re typically used to operating at all levels and aren’t afraid of anybody, add that intuitive gauge of character that many develop while serving, and the mixture is a formidable one in the recruitment industry.”

Who you know

There is another common misconception regarding the industry that it’s all about ‘who you know’. James says: “That has its place but is not as important as building relationships and being able to read people well.”

He adds: “Also, there are no age restrictions on when you enter recruitment but, those at more senior levels tend to have more specialist knowledge and are therefore more suited to working on senior roles. They’re often viewed with a significant amount of credibility because of the seniority they held in the military.”

James advises contacting the industry directly if you’re interested in a career in recruitment, utilising the contacts you have, yet ensuring it’s you who makes the impact. James says: “Don’t be embarrassed or expect to be contacted. People don’t wait in the world outside the Services.”