Bored of his former job, one morning Alex accepted a lift to Colchester to see what Whitehall was about. The trip was not long but took him far… Alex is now a recruitment consultant in Germany and a key member of the international team.
Joining the international team
I used to work as an administrator in a car retailer, it was not a very exciting job and I was getting bored. My dad is an SAP consultant and told me about Whitehall and how I could earn good money in recruitment. I have always been interested in IT, technology and sales so it sounded ideal. I came to visit, found out what I had to do to apply and eventually received a job offer. I liked the people at Whitehall and the prospect of working in a new office – which was being built at the time – so I accepted.
I originally joined the IT Permanent team, where I learned and worked for a year and a half. Around that time, Whitehall announced we were opening a new office in Frankfurt and asked if anyone would be interested in moving. I thought this could be a great opportunity because I had previously visited Germany and I really liked the country, plus I wanted to try something new, so I expressed my interest. I trained for a month with the International Team and I then moved to Frankfurt.
What is it like to be an international recruiter?
I like networking and building good relationships with people. My job is very interesting because I get to speak with people from lots of different cultures and I learn a lot, not just about them but also about the market. International consultants seem to know what is happening everywhere and can get you really good leads to make new business – and making money is obviously an attractive part of the job as well. Candidates also always tell me where I can find the best food!
The working culture is different in each country and there are different mannerisms, ways of communicating and getting your point across, which makes it an interesting challenge. My job makes me an international person myself, I only lack the language skills…but I am slowly working on it.
What is a day like in the German office?
It is great fun. The company has given us the opportunity and trust to manage the business from here. We have regular visits from our UK managers, but really we are responsible for our results and we have lots of independence. We also support each other a lot, it is not every day that a company trusts you to do something like this.
On the other hand, as a small team, it is quite difficult to get a sense of how big the company really is as we don’t see the rest of the team often, but we balance that with self-motivation and doing activities together. We live in a city so we mainly use public transport which means it is easy to arrange activities after work if we fancy doing something together, like going for a drink or to watch a football match.
What I find difficult
I found the job difficult at the beginning because there were things I could not control, for example, the decisions taken by the candidates. You can guide them, but not control them. The key is to do the best you can and learn to evaluate the candidates better to be able to anticipate their decisions.
My best achievement
My best achievement is that I overcome many challenges at once. I moved from the Permanent team to the International team to focus mainly in contract work. I trained in a new team, learned about a new market, moved to a new country with a new language, and still managed to make a few job placements! I am very proud to have managed to perform to a good level. I would like to have more runners (jobs placements under contract work) and close more deals but that’s what every recruiter would say.
What motivates you to come to work every day?
To keep making money, keep progressing through the company and work my way up. I like the idea of becoming the one who helps other recruiters to achieve their goals.
I like the people I work with and the job I do. It is not difficult to come to work on Monday morning!
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to get all the knowledge I can and become a master in the market I work on, which would make it easier to place more candidates. I have colleagues who are senior consultants and have been working in the German market for more than 3 years and who I look up to, so I try to learn from them.
I also would like to become Senior Consultant myself and mentor people at some point, like my manager does. You can tell he enjoys what he does and I think I could be good at that too. I do know that in this business I need to learn to walk before I can run, but I think I am doing pretty well.
Why should people join Whitehall and the International team?
We have a good team, we are really close and very friendly. Also, there are lots of good opportunities in the company, I did not expect to have this international experience myself, for example, but I am glad that the company offered it and trusted me to do it well. What I would say is, the more you put in, the better you do in recruitment. It is no coincidence that the people at the top of the phone and activity stats day after day are the best performers. The more you do, the better the results you will have. In Whitehall, if you want to work hard, you will earn good money and you will progress.