An interview with Cooper Knox and Ned O’Neill.
Counsellor. Advisor. Negotiator. Researcher. Advocate.
A Recruitment Consultant’s job spec is diverse. No two days are the same. Each day brings new opportunity to change someone’s life. And there’s a fair degree of resilience required.
But arguably, being a Recruitment Consultant (at a reputable agency) could potentially be among the most rewarding professional careers - personally, professionally and financially too!
To get the lowdown, we caught up with two of our team members, Cooper Knox and Ned O’Neill, to share their insights on a career as a Recruiter.
Q. What does a ‘typical’ day look like for you as a Recruiter - if there is such a thing?
Cooper: A day in our shoes would start by 8 am and that's when we all come together (virtually, for the foreseeable future) and discuss all current tech and sales job roles across our desk. We all converse about our daily plans, helping us be cohesive with one another and also to stay accountable. Then from 9-12 pm, we work on our most critical roles, followed by more time allocation to other roles after lunch until the day’s end. These chunks of time consist of primarily calling candidates, scouring LinkedIn and SEEK, while attending to ad hoc admin tasks that need to be actioned. Finally setting up your next day plan is critical for keeping the momentum flowing through the week.
Ned: We start a little bit earlier than most, trying to get a jump start on the day at 8 am. The key to sorting out your day is having a solid plan of attack set out. I set the morning up to focus on working on the critical role(s). The afternoon is more spread out working on other opportunities on my desk that may be a little further down the pipeline. Finishing the day, I plan for the following day’s activity.
Q: What skills prepared you for your role as a Recruiter?
Cooper: Having worked in retail since I was 15, customer service and time management have become second nature to me. These two skills are critical to succeed in the recruitment world. Because much like retail stores, competition (in recruitment) is fierce, so it is critical to make sure that you are going over and above with candidates/ clients, and making sure you are adhering to timelines and have strong organisational skills.
Ned: I come from a hospitality background and I think the customer service, clear communication and teamwork skills I learnt certainly translate into recruitment. You’re always trying to put the customer - your clients and candidates - first. Bouncing off the team at Kaliba really helps me navigate any challenging roles or situations that can arise.
Q: What attracted you to working in Recruitment?
Cooper: After finishing my degree in Finance and Marketing, I was still sitting on the fence about what career I wanted to pursue. At the time I had a good friend in agency recruitment and it sounded like a path that played to my strengths and had an abundance of opportunity. I soon met up with the Kaliba team and, to be honest, the rest was history. Their value proposition of having a role where your success is purely a result of your own input and effort was something that was extremely enticing to me as a young professional.
Ned: In all honesty, I fell into it. The thing that kept me in recruitment was the challenge and career opportunities that come with the role. There aren’t many roles that allow you to learn such a diverse range of skills at such a young age.
Q: What’s the best part about working in recruitment?
Cooper: The enjoyment that I get from recruitment is the sense of satisfaction that you get from successfully placing a technology professional into a job role. Knowing you have helped someone land a great career opportunity in tech, and that your hard work and effort played a role in that, is something that will never get stale to me.
Ned: Certainly making a placement is an amazing feeling, especially that first placement you make - you get addicted to that winning feeling. Though the best part is when you turn a loss into a win. A role may seem impossible to fill, nobody seems like they can fill the opportunity, then you finally find the perfect person and they are being offered the role. That’s really the best and most satisfying part of my job as a Recruiter.
Q. …. And the worst part?
Cooper: Understanding certain things fall out of your control and coming to grips with that. You have days and weeks where it seems like you would be doing all the right work but things seem to keep falling over for reasons that are beyond your control. The quicker you come to terms with this, the quicker you can bounce back for the next opportunity.
Ned: A missed opportunity. Not everyone is going to get the role and that is just part of recruitment, though when a role is closed and you haven’t filled the opportunity, that is a tough pill to swallow.
Q. There’s a fair bit of resilience required working in Recruitment. How do you bounce back when things don’t go as planned?
Cooper: Do not dwell on it. Taking emotion out of outcomes has allowed me to quickly assess why an opportunity may (not) have eventuated. Taking a brief window of time to reflect on what learnings you can take from each outcome, will allow you to bounce back quicker next time around.
Ned: Go get a coffee and get back to work. You have to be ready for anything in this role. At the end of the day you are dealing with human beings, you never know what is going to happen. You just have to keep working hard and persevering, and the results will come.
Q. What do you enjoy most about working at Kaliba?
Cooper: There are so many great things about the company. Two things that stand out to me the most are; the people and the Kaliba system. Working with like-minded, motivated people who want to see everyone win as much as themselves, always keeps the spark alive. Also, the system we have internally is one that allows you to attack all roles in the most efficient way and you will always be trusted by your peers.
Ned: You’ve got to love working with the team. Even though we have been separated this past 12 months, we always seem to find time to catch up, have a laugh and get stuck in to our work. If one person wins, we all win.
Q. What level of support do you receive working at Kaliba?
Cooper: If there is one thing that separates Kaliba and our competitors, it is the training and support. That is what attracted me in the first place. The first week involved a rather formal, structured induction program. Thereafter there is constant training and upskilling via online recruitment courses, one-on-ones, training workshops and general coaching. The company offers a great mix of support and coaching, whilst at the same time encouraging autonomy.
Ned: Since starting with Kaliba I have undertaken a couple online recruitment courses which have provided a formal education on recruitment and sales-related principles and best practices. Applying that in a practical capacity when working with Greg, James and John has been extremely beneficial. We also receive a lot of one-on-one mentoring with the senior team members.
Q. What did you find most surprising when you started working in recruitment?
Cooper: The number of different people you converse with on a daily basis was one aspect that I was surprised about. You will be speaking to people who are from all walks of life; be different culture, age, personality, beliefs, etc. This makes for variety in your conversations and you learn something new from each person.
Ned: Certainly the quality relationships that you make along the way, internally and externally - you could talk to fifty people in a single day. Internally I thought it would be fairly cutthroat, though the team at Kaliba completely changed that perception, everyone is supportive and wants you to succeed.
Q. What are three skills you can’t live without for a career in Recruitment?
Cooper: The three skills I would say that are mandatory are; resilience, time management and communication. As you are dealing with people, being able to stay level-headed and bounce back when times are tough are crucial in this role. Also, as the recruitment industry is highly competitive, being time-critical and working with urgency will be a key part of your success. Lastly, having transparent and consistent communication with candidates and clients alike is also very important; you need to make sure you are always transparent and are across all communication touchpoints - text, call, emails, LinkedIn/Seek.
Ned: Time Management is critical, you need to use your time effectively and always be time sensitive whether it is finding candidates or replying to emails, calls and texts. Clear communication when speaking with clients and candidates alike, aiming to gain as much information from them as possible so that there are no surprises, as well as giving as much information as possible so everyone is on the same page. Resilience, you need to be able to get back up and keep pushing through any obstacles that get in the way of you achieving your goals.
Q. What’s your advice for anyone wanting to kickstart a career in Recruitment?
Cooper: The biggest advice I would give is to be open-minded and find a company that will invest in you. Joining Kaliba, I knew little about the recruitment industry yet I found a company that wanted to invest in me and it has been a great journey since. A willingness to be coached and open mindedness will expedite your progress immensely.
Ned: Give it a go. As long as you give it 100% of your effort, you will have the capacity to do well. The skills and experience you will gain are universal in business, plus it is a pretty rewarding job at the end of the day.
Interested in a career in Recruitment?