The good, the bad and the hilarious! A career in recruitment.
This is the fourth in a series of articles of recruitment tips for company leaders, particularly those new to hiring. The full series can be found at monarchpersonnel.com.
How better to get an exclusive insight into the world of recruitment than an interview with Pamela Steed, Director and Founder of Monarch Personnel? Pam has more than thirty years’ experience in the industry and has a tale or two to tell. Buckle up!
What attracted you to recruitment?
A friend saw a job advert in the Lancashire Evening Post, many years ago and said, "I think you would be good in recruitment, Pam". I got that job! Thirty four years later …!
What skills do you need to be successful in recruitment?
A thick skin and a sense of humour! On a more serious note I’d say…
- people skills – at all levels
- listening skills – these are probably the most important
- problem-solving skills – clients like creative solutions rather than stock answers
- communication skills – these are essential in an interview to encourage a candidate to express themselves fully
- a good memory – for faces and names. You come across a lot of faces and names!
What do you enjoy most about the recruitment industry?
The list is endless, otherwise I’d have jumped ship many years ago! The first thing that comes to mind is the people that I get to meet. They cover such a broad spectrum of society. I meet people at client meetings, networking, exhibitions and when I’m presenting at an event. I also love to meet new candidates and see where they want to go with their lives, and people who come on training courses with a thirst for knowledge.
I’m fascinated by different characters. This is part of the reason why Monarch Personnel recruit on mindset – I love analysing all the different personalities. Remember – ‘mindset matters’!
Another aspect of my job that I truly value is the friendships and relationships that I have built over the years. I also love having my own business and being able to see continuous improvement in the methodology that we use, to offer new ideas and services.
What is the most unusual role that you have recruited?
Many years ago, one of my clients (a large insurance company) asked me whether I could help them to find a secretary who could use a Palantype machine. Stenographers use Palantype devices in court. The secretary would be working for a senior manager who was deaf, and a Palantype machine could be linked to a braille machine, so he would be able to read all the meeting notes.
Finding an experienced senior secretary who could also use this machine was a tough job. I had a lot of help from a school for the deaf in Cheshire. Nowadays, we have computers linked to presentation equipment and phonetic keyboards that produce written messages displayed on a screen or monitor. Yes, this was before the general use of computers! And yes, I am that old!
The whole exercise was a great experience for me. I was determined to find a suitable person and so many people helped me in one way or another to succeed.
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you during your career in recruitment?
Recruitment has always been full of fun and laughter for me. However, there is one day that particularly stands out in my memory.
On my first day with a new employer, I was asked by my Operations Director to visit a client where there had been an issue the previous week with a temporary staff member. It was recommended that, after that appointment, I also call in to see our largest client and introduce myself.
During my first meeting, I had to overcome some real problems, but eventually, I managed to resolve things, and the meeting was very amicable and jovial towards the end. Before leaving, I asked could I use the ‘ladies’’. When I returned to the office, I picked up my briefcase, thanked the two guys for their time, and when shaking hands, the more senior of the two said, "I hope your next meeting goes well, but I can't believe that you are carrying such a ‘rubbish bag’! They both laughed, the comment threw me a little, but I went on my way.
When I arrived at my next appointment with our largest client, the receptionist advised me that my colleagues had phoned ahead and it was agreed that I could meet with the General Manager. When I arrived in his office, I opened my briefcase only to discover that the clients from my previous appointment had filled my briefcase with wastepaper while I was in the ladies'. It went everywhere! I instantly knew what the reference to the "rubbish bag" was about!
The General Manager found it hilarious when I explained what had happened. It became a real talking point amongst both sites and our office for a considerable amount of time!
What is the most challenging thing you have had to deal with during your career in recruitment?
Sadly, during my career, I have had to deal with the deaths of three of my temporary staff. One committed suicide, another died at the wheel while on shift, and a third colleague died of a terminal illness.
On each occasion, it was like losing a friend and extremely difficult to deal with. We took care to do whatever we could to support the families.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in recruitment?
Mmm… how long have you got?
They must be prepared for a challenge and to work hard.
Many come into recruitment without fully understanding what the job is about. It is important to understand that the emphasis is on building relationships with customers and candidates, not giving careers advice.
If you are truthful to both the candidate and the client, success will come, but you must be prepared to think outside the box at all times.
A huge thank you to Pam for sharing her recruitment experiences and advice. We’re sure company leaders new to recruiting will find her guidance really helpful; always check your bag before your next meeting!
Look out for the next article
Our fifth article in this series will be published next Wednesday 23rd June. We will be giving you tips for putting candidates at ease in an interview.
In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about Monarch Personnel, you can read our latest articles by signing up for our newsletter. You can also follow us on our social media channels: LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook, or visit our website www.monarchpersonnel.com.