My life in recruitment – Chris in the spotlight

I have been working in resourcing and recruitment for 10 years. In my previous recruitment roles it was difficult to progress as I felt as if I was putting a lot of effort and not getting rewarded. We were micromanaged, we had specific KPIs and SLAs on a daily basis and we had to hit certain thresholds before we got paid our commissions. I was working in a very small market with not much candidate choice, therefore I was also very restricted to what I was able to do.

When I came to Whitehall for my first interview, I noticed straight away that the culture was very different and it was quite clear for me as soon as I walked in… so I never looked back. It offered me everything that I was looking for in terms of career, progression and financial rewards. I don’t think there is any company out there like us. It is very different in terms of culture; you manage your own time and your own desk; you really get out what you put in.

I have been working at Whitehall for five years now. I started as a Senior Consultant, and have had three promotions in the last three years: I got promoted to Team Lead, then to Senior Team Lead and two months ago I was promoted to Manager of the UK SAP Permanent team, my current role.

What do you like the most about working in recruitment?

I am a money driven individual, so I would say it is probably the financial rewards that the company offers. It has definitely allowed me to hit some personal targets in terms of holidays I wanted to go on and buying a new house which I have done very recently. If I wasn’t working here I wouldn’t had been able to do that. As in any commission-based role, it can be hard at the start – I had to take a substantial pay drop to be able to start over again. But that’s a short-term challenge for a long-term advantage. There is definitely plenty of opportunity to earn really good money.

 What do you like about working at Whitehall?

I like that everyone works together and for each other, you are not really in a standalone role. If a client gives us a new position to fill, there is people providing you with recommendations, referrals or potential candidates that may be a good fit. It is a real teamwork environment. That is across the business, not just in SAP Perm specifically but across the board.

What is the hardest thing about recruitment?

It is a real low when your candidate does not get the job or when they get a counter offer. A counter offer is when your candidate’s current employer makes an offer to your candidate to get them to stay where they are currently working, meaning your candidate withdraws from accepting the job you are offering. As a consequence, the commission you were counting on is no longer billable. This is one of the challenges we deal with in the SAP Permanent Team as the process from start to finish, from getting a job role to fill in, to sending CVs and arranging interviews could take a couple of months. On top of that, many candidates have notice periods of up to three months meaning you have been putting a lot of effort in this candidate.  That is probably a big challenge for anyone in this business, it is very difficult to take because it is out of your control. On the other hand, when you do make a successful placement and you get paid your commission, you have a real high, there is no feeling like it.

What motivates you to keep going?

I have always been a hardworking individual, I want to improve and keep moving forwards. In this industry, you need to be very tenacious, so if you get knocked down, you will need to be able to get back up again. I have always been tenacious and therefore I feel this is the right industry for me.

What would be a top tip for anyone who is starting in recruitment?

Listen to the advice and information provided by your peers and experienced team members. We are here to help, not to hinder you. Take the information and fully utilise the tools you are given, if you learn the “Whitehall way”, you will not struggle.

What are your plans for the future?

The next step would be to work towards becoming a Senior Manager. I am always looking upwards and onwards for the next promotions. My goal is to manage a different and larger team next year and promoting people within my team. I would like to see other people succeed and grow professionally as the company grows.

Since I joined Whitehall, I have never looked back. It has offered me lots of opportunities, everything I was looking for in a career in terms of promotion, a feel good factor and the financial rewards. It has ticked all the boxes for me. The business is still growing and expanding; so if that is what you are looking for, this is the place to be.