From sales to recruitment – Ben, employee in the spotlight

The beginning

Before I started working in recruitment I used to work in retail – it was mostly a sales job. A friend of mine was a recruiter and told me about the perks of the job and about Whitehall. I thought it could be a good opportunity so I applied.

When I joined Whitehall eight years ago, there was only around ten people in the team and we were in a small office with no air conditioning. As we have continued to grow we have outgrown multiple offices; we are now in a great building and also have an office in Germany. Part of our success is due to our ways of working or what we call “the Whitehall way”, as well as the great culture.

Life at Whitehall

During the first six months I had to learn a lot about the business and the processes to be successful. I found it challenging at the beginning, but once I completed my first placement it was a great feeling and I was determined to keep going.

I have recently been promoted to Team Lead. It is a role with more responsibilities and my team has therefore become one of my biggest motivations.  I guide and support them throughout their journey, so when they place a candidate, I share in the excitement. Whitehall is a great company to work for. As a Team Lead I manage a great group of people and although the role entails more responsibility, I have a good manager who provides knowledge and support. Watching my team learn and develop, as well as seeing the buzz they get when they place a candidate is really satisfying.

Progression and training

Development is a big part of the business and as the company grows it has also become a need. We require the junior and senior consultants to progress into team leads and managers, therefore we have a progression program in place with realistic and achievable targets.

Our training program is also unique in the industry. We introduce new starters to the world of recruitment through a boot camp where they learn the basics, gain confidence and also have the opportunity to make new friends from day one. There are also different courses and sessions available to help you complete your progression plan; for instance the Leadership Course which I recently completed.

As part of my progression plan I am now working towards becoming Senior Team Lead (which Ben has now achieved). I would like to become a Manager after that.

My biggest motivation is the team, the company and what they do for us; they really look after us. There is purpose, a lot of incentives and perks and I just like the culture in general.  We recently hit a company milestone for example, and were all treated to a hog roast in the garden to celebrate!

What do you need to be a successful recruiter?

You must have the right attitude and drive as well as the ability to work hard and keep going when things are challenging. Recruitment is a people business, and due to the unpredictable nature of people there will always be difficult days. Candidates can change their minds or might have different interests to your offer. You need to be able to sell the position to the candidate and to sell the candidate to the client. Sales skills are beneficial but it is not a must; in our team we have people from very different backgrounds including customer service, sports, events and call centres.

It also depends what team you are in, as you require slightly different skills for our different job roles.  In the Key Accounts team for instance we look after some of our biggest clients and handle a higher volume of roles – many of which can be niche, and therefore challenging to fill. The commission structure also varies in each division to allow everyone to have the opportunity to have really good earnings.

My advice to new starters would be to keep going, learn and listen to your mentors here; it might be hard at the beginning but it will get easier. Recruitment is definitely a great career.