“What’s it like working as a recruiter?” or more perhaps more directly “What does a recruiter actually do?”
These are two questions commonly asked about recruitment agencies. Although their main aim is the same, many agencies approach things differently. Here’s a day in the life of Scott Caithness, our Marketing and Comms Consultant, going behind the scenes to share the details of how we spend our time.
Scott has worked as a recruitment consultant for eight years, providing clients with support in sourcing candidates and filling roles across marketing and communication functions. Prior to that, he worked for over seven years in advertising and comms, so it’s a sector he knows well:
My day starts pretty early, travelling to our Edinburgh office from Fife for around 7.30am to miss the traffic. Having grabbed some porridge and a coffee, I’ll start to make up my to-do list, to help me focus on my priorities for the day, and work through my emails. When I’m finishing up each evening, I try to clear the inbox so I know the items in my inbox first thing in the morning are the ones I need to respond to.
I live my life by my outlook calendar – both to plan my meetings and to allocate time to work on different roles. Working in recruitment and meeting with candidates quite often means you have to work around their work schedule; a lot of my meetings can be early mornings, lunch meetings or even some in the evening if that’s the only time a candidate has free.
At the moment, I’m working on around 20 live roles across nine clients, each at a different stage of the recruitment process and with different closing dates. I need to be careful to prioritise based on what stage each role is at as this can be quite a lot of roles to be managing at the same time. How busy I am can depend on the variability of the roles as well. For example, if clients are looking for different experience/skillsets, this naturally means I’m likely to be looking at a different pool of candidates.
I may then work my way through some candidate prep, organise interview guidance or review CVs. Every candidate’s CV is checked by at least two members of the team for content, style and formatting before it’s sent to a client, so we’re comfortable we’re sending quality CVs they’ll want to see. It’s part of my role to make sure that the candidate is really presenting themselves in the best possible light, but also in making it clear and straightforward for clients to assess the candidate’s suitability for each role.
I take the opportunity to meet with candidates/clients most days, so I am not always sat at my desk all day. This could involve interviewing candidates, providing interview preparation, meeting clients to run through role briefing or to catch up on any business changes. I think one of the key parts of my job is about networking and meeting people; a good candidate quite often isn’t looking to move role, but it’s really important to keep building your network. That’s something I really think we offer to clients - we aim to find the best candidate out there, not just the best candidate who happened to spot an advert in a 2-week window!
A 10-minute walk around the block at lunch helps clear my head to refocus for an afternoon of client catch-ups, and potentially more candidate meetings or sessions to prepare for. I like to check-in regularly with clients to help plan for any upcoming requirements or provide them with some market information they might find useful.
My previous experience in the industry has definitely helped in my current role. Take graphic design/creative positions for example. This is a growth area for a lot of clients as organisations look to reduce their dependency on agencies and bring these functions in-house. When clients are looking for an in-house graphic designer, not only do I know exactly where to look to find suitable candidates but I can offer the client advice on the best way to evaluate them. Rather than a fully formal competency-based interview, candidates like this may be better evaluated through an in-depth chat through their portfolio and perhaps a short design exercise – tips like these can help clients make sure they’re getting the best candidate.
At the end of the day, I usually aim to leave around 5.30-6pm to head to the gym and can often log on at home in the evening which might involve further candidate prep or catching up with anyone unable to talk during work hours. It also gives me a chance to clear the inbox before the next morning so I can hit the ground running when I’m in the office.
We all work hard to do the best for our clients and candidates but I really feel the team here are working to change the perception of recruitment agencies - We don’t just send you a pile of CVs in the hope one will stick and we’ll get the commission! We really spend time with each candidate to make sure they are a good fit for the role and the organisation. Likewise on the candidate side, I like to meet everyone I work with wherever possible and communication is a big thing for me. We’ve all been looking for a new role at some point in our life and it can be tough out there, so I aim to keep candidates in the loop at every stage of the process.
If you’re looking for help recruiting for your marketing and comms team get in touch with Scott today.
0131 297 2715