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A day in the life of a recruitment consultant

We are often asked about what recruiters do day-to-day, so we asked one of our best. Rich Cobbold, Manager at Michael Page Digital has been with us for five years and knows recruitment like the back of his hand. He has placed hundreds of candidates and seen most of the things which recruitment throws up. Here is a typical day in Rich’s working life.
A day in the life of a recruitment consultant


– Get to the office, log on and grab some breakfast.


– Start writing a to-do list for the day and am interrupted by a candidate calling me to pull out of an interview at 09:30. He has cold feet, but I give him prep and convince him to attend the interview. I have two other candidates who are interviewing for jobs today. I text them to wish them luck.


– Sit down with my team to come up with a plan of action for the day and make sure we are all on the same page. One of my team is off today so I make sure I have their workload covered.


– I’ve had three important emails overnight that require action. One is a new job, one is a candidate asking to be put forward for a role I briefed him on yesterday and the third is from a placed candidate from last year requesting a catch-up lunch, which probably means she is looking again. I Spend 45 minutes getting a brief on the new role, which needs candidates ASAP. I’m keen to book a meeting with the client to get a full brief but the client is hesitant – instead I will visit them in two days to present my shortlist of candidates. After writing up my notes, and loading the new job on the system, I call the placed candidate and arrange a lunch next week.


– A candidate calls in to enquire about a senior level role. After a 20 minute conversation, we both agree that he’s not right for the role, but the conversation moves onto his team and some vacancies that should be coming up next month. We agree to meet up and discuss the roles.


– I get a call from a line manager about a job I am recruiting that is at final stage. There were two candidates in the running but yesterday one dropped out last minute. The client tells me that he’s nervous about making a decision based on just one profile, but I point out that he’s seen six candidates at first stage, needs the role filled immediately and should make a decision. He tells me to leave it with him and he’ll come back to me.


– First candidate meeting of the day. We spend an hour together, half of it learning about her, the other half me giving her advice about her CV and career direction. I may not place her, but hopefully she’ll remember me next time she is in the market.


– Come back to my desk to find an email from a client asking to book five interviews for a role my absent colleague is working on. I know one of those candidates is off the market, but the other four are suitable and I have a backup I could put forward as well. I spend the next half hour calling around to book them all in.


– One of my candidates interviewing today calls in and I have to give him directions to the client – I then inform the client that he is going to be late.


– I write an advert for the new role I was passed this morning, investing time to make it as attractive as possible. I then start searching for suitable candidates. Fortunately the role is very similar to one being recruited by one of my team, so I start linking the candidates he’s identified to the role. I identify seven or eight profiles that could work, call the first four, leave messages for two and have conversations with two. One has accepted a new role, so I update our system to show where she’s moved to. I ask her if she knows anybody else she could refer to me, if there are any more vacancies at her new business and what other processes she rejected; perhaps we can assist with them. The other candidate is still actively looking and keen on the role. I email those candidates I’ve not been able to speak to.


– Lunch. I take a stroll into town with one of my team and use it as an opportunity to see how their day is going and how I can help. Through the day there have been multiple questions passed around the team but now I have an opportunity to review properly.


– We return to the office where I find a missed call from my client with the role at final stage. He’s worked some magic and has come up with an offer. Unfortunately the base salary is below what the candidate needs so I ask is there is any way to improve the offer or add any other benefits. It still comes back lower than the candidate wants but with a travel allowance and healthcare the offer is accepted. I now have some compliance to do and emails go out to both client and candidate confirming acceptance. I arrange to take the candidate out for a celebratory lunch next week, and a meeting with the client to catch up in three months. I also discover that the client may have another role on for one of my colleagues in another discipline. I tell my colleague and make an introduction, then log the referral – if they make a placement then Michael Page will reward me for it.


– Both of my two interviews have occurred now and I take half an hour to get some feedback from both candidates. Both are keen and the interviews sound like they went well, however one is awaiting another offer that they prefer. I email the client to inform them and suggest moving to second phase quickly so they don’t lose out.


– My colleague and I have a meeting with a client. He has a role to discuss and it sounds like there may be a role for me as well. We leave to meet the client at their offices.


– The meeting goes well and they do have a job for me, although it’s going to be an extremely tough search, probably requiring a headhunting approach. We suggest the best way to go forward is to work on a retained basis which the client likes the sound of, particularly because it is a replacement for someone currently in post and must remain confidential. We leave the client with a proposal and I diarise time to chase it tomorrow.


– Back at the office I catch up with my team to see what’s happened today and how I can help. There’s a minor crisis occurring with one of their roles so rather than going through it this late in the day we come up with a plan together and diarise some time for training around the subject for tomorrow.


– I look over my to-do list from the start of the day and it’s been a good one; I’ve got loads done. I write a new to-do list ready for tomorrow. Inevitably it will have changed by the time I get in, but at least I’ll start with a clear head.


– The last thing I do is write my fee from the candidate i placed today on the board, before packing up and heading home satisfied with a good day's work.
If you are interested in a career in recruitment have a look at our JoinPage careers site where you will find loads more information about working in recruitment and how to apply for a job with us.