Generally speaking, how has your career developed since you graduated?
I am still very much at the beginning stages of my career and am still exploring potential avenues. I secured a placement on the Michael Page International Graduate scheme that commenced in Sept 2011. I joined a new division which is in its start up phase at Michael Page and am currently working to establish our presence in the insurance market. It has been a steep learning curve that has taught me invaluable lessons about industry, the business and myself. It has been a challenge breaking into such a difficult market in these economic times and I believe the raw business skills I have learnt are transferable to any industry.
In what ways did the School of Performance & Cultural Industries experience prepare you for your career?
- Business knowledge/ surrounding philosophies
- Effective research methods
- Practical modules that gave opportunity to explore creative skills
What influenced your decision to attend the School of Performance & Cultural Industries?
- I loved Leeds so very much wanted to study there
- I have a passion for the arts and business and the ‘Managing Performance’ BA was the only course I found that combined the two.
What sort of career services were available?
University of Leeds career centre is fantastic and offers many services to help students prepare for leaving University and finding work. The services I used and attended were:
- Company presentations on preparation for grad centres.
- How to write a CV and Interview tips.
- Many of my friends also got help with CV and Cover letter writing
How much time per week did you spend studying?
It varied dependant on workload at different stages through the term and progressively increased year on year. In my third year on average I spent 35-45 hours a week studying and working on assignments.
How much interaction did you have with other students?
The majority of my interaction was with other students throughout University and a few of my best friends were on my course. However it was only in third year that I spent more time with other PCI students due to the nature of assignments.
Can you share your thoughts on how a student might prepare themselves for a career in recruitment?
Two key factors:
- Choose and research a sector you’d like to recruit within. I believe if you have experience/ affiliation with a particular industry you’ll naturally be more passionate and in turn more successful. If you are like-minded and share similar interests to your clients/ candidates it will be easier to build rapport and consequently be more enjoyable. Recruitment is essentially all about building relationships so it is imperative to be able to communicate.
- Decide on a preference for the size and type of agency you’d like to work for i.e. Large corporate, SME’s or boutique agencies. This will have a significant impact on your working environment and the style in which you’ll recruit. It is important your working environment is suited to you, as this will affect you happiness in the workplace.
Suggestions and tips:
- There are so many recruitment agencies out there so it can be hard to know where to begin. If you are unsure I would initially follow the above points to scale it down and then set up interviews with a range of agencies. You can do this by either contacting them directly or by meeting with ‘recruitment to recruitment’ agent (known as a rec to rec) to do this for you. Once meeting a range of agencies you will soon get a steer on where you naturally feel more suited.
- In these interviews to help you with your decision ask about training (is this just initially when you start or do they offer this throughout your career), targets measured against (weekly, quarterly), commission structures, promotions and your decision making over planning your day. In line with any industry I would also ask questions such as level of turnover, growth, business strategy, social events etc…
- Recruitment is a sales job. Sales is fast paced, competitive and at times can be very stressful. The highs are high and the lows can be very low so it is essential you do thorough research and makes sure you choose the right agency for you to see you through the hard times.
- If you are not applying in line with a deadline DO NOT just take the first role offered to you if your not 100% certain. Due to the high turnover in recruitment some agencies will employ you quickly and ask you to start almost immediately. If you have not chosen the right one they will just as easily get rid of you after a few weeks/ months if your not performing.
- If an agency likes you and your not sure, be honest with them and just say you need some time to think it over. If they’re interested then most often than not they will wait for you.
- If you chose hastily, made a decision and chose the wrong agency/industry/team and did not succeed this would not mean you could not be a good recruiter.
In your experience, what are the attributes of individuals who are most successful in recruitment?
- Strong minded
Thinking back, what were the highlights of studying at the School of Performance & Cultural Industries ?
- Lecturers were friendly, approachable and knowledgeable of their field, particularly those teaching on my own degree course. Their passion and dedication in their field is very much evident in their lectures and as a result motivated me to do further reading in my own time. If I needed help, which I often did they would always respond to my e-mails and on many occasions met with me to go through things in further detail.
- I very much enjoyed the practical nature of the ‘Entrepreneurship’ module I chose in third year. It enabled me and my team to use our creativity and knowledge learned from our time at University and put it into practice.
- I also enjoyed attending many plays in the school’s building to support my fellow students.