Back in 1999, when I was finishing my computer science and business management degree, I never thought I would be working in a recruitment and staffing business. Hiring someone was something that never crossed my mind I would be doing only 12 months after.
How did I switch my career into recruitment? I’ve always had interest in business and during my initial IT consultant role I started tossing and discussing ideas with colleagues and my direct managers. Somehow I was invited to leave the “technical consultant” path I was in and shift it to a brand new “staffing, business development and people management” path. Even though it was a complete change and something I never thought of, I went for it and became a junior business unit manager at my company’s Staffing and Recruitment Business.
I’ve always been, and I believe I still am, someone quite introvert when confronted with new environments, people and situations. When I started the new role, the simple fact of picking the phone to call someone, conduct a screening call or setup an interview was enough to let me nervous at the point of messing up dialing the number. I had no idea how to decide if a candidate was any good, to what position propose a candidate and whether the candidate was a fit or hiring material.
Had to learn so much new stuff. How to source for candidates and selected the ones I should interview. Pick up the phone to have a conversation about someone else career interests. Interview and formulate an opinion about a candidate. Present and negotiate hiring offers. Onboard new employees and manage their careers across the multiple projects.
Here are some quick tips for those who recently embarked the recruitment journey, coming from a not so obvious previous role:
1. Watch and learn – Hopefully you’ll have someone who will onboard you and teach you the basics. Watch, ask, take notes and re-ask everything.
2. Read and learn – Always enrich your skills with external sources. Research, be alert for what’s new and create your own knowledge base. Here's my Twitter List of awesome sites and blogs dedicated to Talent Acquisition and Human Capital to give you a good jump start.
3. Trial and error – Just do it. Learn from mistakes and success. Incorporate feedback.
4. Repeat – Go 1, 2, 3!
5. Don’t be afraid – You’re not the only one going thru this. If you like what you’re doing and commit to it, you’ll succeed.
I’ve lost count of how many calls, interviews, decision, offers and hires I’ve made since 2000. Some mistakes were made, I had crappy interviews, misjudged candidates and made bad hires. Each experience, good or bad, was important towards developing my skills and career.
Today, all these activities seem natural for me.