From retail to recruitment – Nicola, employee spotlight

Nicola joined the Oracle Middle East & North Africa team just over two years ago. Nicola had never worked in recruitment before and was not sure this career was for her, but she is now proof that hard work and determination pays off.

Joining Whitehall

Before working in recruitment, I used to work in retail. I did not have a social life as I had to work long hours and weekends so I decided I needed a career change.

I applied for several recruitment jobs, and a few recruitment agencies from London called me, but most of them would only ask me things like: “How much would you like to earn?”, and if I gave the wrong answer they would hang up.

When Whitehall called me they treated me very differently, they were interested in me as a person, my plans and what I want to get out of working in recruitment.  They were also very straightforward and clear in regards to what the role involved and the expectations I should have, rather than telling me that I would be a millionaire within a year, which other agencies would do just to get you through the door.  I appreciated Whitehall’s honesty.

When I arrived for my interview, I recognised an acquaintance – a person I had heard was doing really well in life and who I considered both smart and successful. Seeing that person working here reassured me that I was in the right place and that I should take the job. So I did.

My life in the MENA team

When I first started, I joined the brand new MENA team, therefore I had the opportunity to learn how to develop a new market and to become an Oracle specialist recruiter.

Working with the MENA market can be challenging due to language barriers and cultural differences, but at the same time it makes my job very interesting. There are also some things you cannot control, like the time that takes a client to reply or if a candidate drops out last minute, but I have learnt to deal with the challenges as I gain more experience.

I work as a ‘360 recruiter’ – someone who finds new business as well as resourcing roles – this allows me to use my skills and to constantly learn about the industry. It is like having your own business, as you organise your work and you are in control. I enjoy speaking with people and networking, and to have the ability to help other people to find the job they are looking for. Candidates really appreciate it and it is very rewarding.

My goals

At the start of the year I set myself the goal of making at least one deal (placing a candidate in a role) every month, which I am achieving – and I just met my billing target as well, which means I gave myself a raise! I am now focusing in hitting my next target and become a Senior Consultant.

What I like about Whitehall

At Whitehall, I like the people and the team atmosphere. We support and help each other out and we enjoy doing activities together. I like coming to work every day. There is also lots of opportunity for career progression and to be successful, not to mention the great earning potential.

My advice for the people starting in recruitment

A lot of people give up too quickly because they have unrealistic expectations. Success won’t happen overnight, you have to focus and be persistent, and you will see the results. It takes time to find your feet, to learn your market, make connections and build your network. You learn what approach is best for you and can then put it into practice.

We are always on the lookout for new and experienced recruiters to join our UK and international teams. If you think you have what it takes to thrive in a challenging but rewarding industry, we’d love to hear from you! Take a look at our live vacancies or download our careers brochure here.