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Guest Comment: I worked for a bank. Now I'm a recruiter. I don't regret my choice

Eight years ago I graduated from university in Sydney and arrived in London eager to make my career in the City. I was driven, networked like crazy, and loved a good chat. I thought I was a no-brainer for an investment banking sales desk.

Funnily enough, while I pursued this career goal fervently, the recruiters I was working with thought these skills made me an ideal candidate for a role in recruitment. Although their offers were flattering, they weren't right for me at the time.

Misconceptions

Seven years later - with no regrets, one GFC down and a serious Blackberry-dependency syndrome - I needed a change. Back in Sydney, when I was looking for roles within financial services, the topic of exploring a career in recruitment came up again.

Meeting the MD at my current firm changed some of my misconceptions about the sector and what the role actually entailed. I also took the time to network with others in the industry.

I discovered that a number of skills I had learnt in my career to date were actually transferable to the recruitment world. Relationship management, commercial awareness, and financial markets knowledge are all requirements to be successful as a recruiter. They also help you gain credibility in the eyes of clients and colleagues.

The reality

Any concerns I had about recruitment being the right career step for me were overshadowed by the following factors that made it increasingly appealing:

· Staying close to the financial services sector

· Applying transferable skills and knowledge

· A focus on developing relationships

· Having measurable targets

· A good work-life balance

But the most rewarding aspect of this role has certainly been making a first-hand difference to professionals' careers and also to my clients' performance by assisting them to build their teams.

For me, moving into recruitment has been the best decision I could have made. For those who haven't thought about it, perhaps it's time that you did. Consider the following:

Timing

You need to be at a point in your life where you are 100 per cent ready to dedicate yourself to a career change. There is still a steep learning curve which should not be underestimated.

Misconceptions

Address any misconceptions you have about the job and industry through research and education. Check your ego at the door. Although confidence is crucial to this role, there is no point assuming that because you did X, Y and Z in your old career, recruitment will be a piece of cake. Your prior work experience will certainly enhance your performance down the line, but learn from your colleagues who have been recruiting for longer than you, and be humble.

Transferable skills

What can you bring to the position? What is your unique selling point?

The company

Join a company which reflects your values and goals. Look at the business model and meet the team. Be clear about what the expectations are of you. Discuss these with your new management and map out how you will achieve your goals and in what timescale.

So, are you interested in becoming a recruiter?

Desiree Hemberger is a consultant, risk and compliance, at Morgan McKinley in Sydney.

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AUTHORDesiree Hemberger Insider Comment
  • Ph
    Phil
    26 November 2011

    So you sold your soul? Good luck with that! lol

  • Ch
    Chris
    24 November 2011

    Well done changing careers into recruitment! I changed from a career in Stockbroking during the GFC and into IT working as a Test Analyst.

    Stockbroking was becoming too cut-throat and I was losing clients to Brokers who had the "gift of the gab" but who knew nothing about investing, so I made the decision to shift to the IT industry where there is greater consistency of incomes.

    I picked up a few University subjects on IT, then a certification on Testing computing systems and now I am a Senior Test Analyst testing Trading Platforms.

    I'm happy with my decision however there is one thing I will say to anyone looking to make a change in career is: "You must put a lid on your ego and become humble for two years following the change", this is essential.

    You're no longer a pro. Do this and you'll do fine!

  • Sp
    SpecsAddict
    24 November 2011

    Wow, it takes so much courage to change career and it inspired me to think that people do it...and succeed!

    There is so much value added from a recruiter who knows the industry, the conditions and the pressures. This is worth a premium - you should ask for a pay rise!

    A great article and surely a great recruiter with industry know-how...how about finding me a new job?

  • .l
    .lll
    22 November 2011

    The way things are going, my guess is more and more recruiters are going to need the services of recuriters themselves.

  • Ge
    Gee
    21 November 2011

    We do actually need more ex-bankers to become recruiters as they bring knowledge of the industry...the main criticism of recruiters seems to be that they lack industry knowledge, so this would go a long way to solving the problem. of course easier said than done...

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