Ever wondered what working in recruitment in Malta really consists of? Lara Camilleri, who manages the Finance & Legal Recruitment Team at KONNEKT, answers a few burning questions.
What does your typical day consist of?
It’s really difficult to sum up a day in the life of a recruiter, primarily because no day is the same! We all have a to-do list which usually consists of “call client A, pass on feedback to candidate B, run a search for client C”. Our to-do list is not always followed due to constant changes that happen on a day to day basis, be it with clients, candidates or industry specific changes. As a result, we are constantly shifting from working on one thing to another, depending on priorities.
That being said, we would typically start the day by checking whether we have any new candidate applications on the roles we would be handling. We review CVs and set interviews with potential hopefuls. Most days we have team meetings to discuss candidates, clients, share challenges to get help from the team, and celebrate successes (we also at times share some industry gossip!!).
We usually have a few interviews scheduled every day, which require preparation and research on questions to ask during the meeting. We also have to run searches through our database, for particular roles we might be handling, and call potential candidates to see whether they are interested in the opportunity. Once we’ve compiled a shortlist, we then put the candidates forward to the client for consideration. At this point we would communicate with the client and obtain feedback on the applications. Here we can better gauge the company's requirements, improve on our shortlisting whilst also supporting candidate’s applications by putting forward additional verbal recommendations. Once the shortlisting phase is complete we help in the setting up of interviews and sometimes also sit on interviews with the client too.
What is the best, most rewarding part of the job?
I would say the one of the most rewarding part of the job is when you know you’ve made the right match between a candidate and the client. The initial ‘kick’ from having a candidate being selected for a role is very rewarding but I personally feel most successful when I speak to candidates who I may have placed a few years back and they tell me how much they have developed in the role we had initially placed them in. Seeing how grateful they are and the impact you’ve made on their career, and ultimately their life, is truly rewarding. On the other hand, from a client’s perspective, although getting there is not easy, once you’ve built a good relationship with them, they start to come to you for advice that spills over from recruitment. Ultimately, that is the goal - to become somewhat of an adviser to the client, that you are their go-to person when it comes to HR related support.
What are some of the challenges faced on the job?
One of the hardest parts of the role is truly understanding the requirements of the candidates and the clients. The reality is that we are dealing with people who are not always as clear on what they are looking for as we would hope. As a result, if we do not ask the right questions to elicit the underlying needs of the candidate/client, the repercussions can be quite unpleasant. We could end up with having a candidate making a wrong career turn because we did not unravel his or her real motivations for wanting to change jobs. Alternatively, we could have a client frustrated with us because we are not putting forward enough candidates or the candidates he/she he really needs.
Usually, not understanding the candidate/client ties in with us not having gained their trust. If they do not trust you, the probability is that they will not be as forthcoming with information as you would like. This is much easier said than done as trust is earned by being open and honest with clients whilst also showing that we know what we are talking about. We must show that we are abreast of what’s going on in the industry and what may result through certain actions and decisions. Setting candidate and client expectations is a crucial part of the role, we need to be realistic and let them know when we feel they are going astray. This goes hand in hand with dealing with disappointments, both from a candidate and client perspective and also having to handle your own disappointments. For every position filled there are a number of disappointed candidates that need to be given feedback as to why they were not successful. It is not easy, but it is a daily part of the job.
All in all, I genuinely feel that the challenges we face on a day to day basis are very much character building in that learning how to deal with difficult candidates/clients is a skill that can be implemented across various other circumstances outside of work. Apart from that, you learn so much just from interviewing candidates and meeting different people, it is a growth process in and of itself.
How did you enter this field?
We have a running joke internally where we say that no one ‘chooses’ to work in recruitment, but you fall into it ‘by accident’. In my case I was in my final year at university and applying for internships within the HR industry, I happened to send an email inquiring about whether I could meet someone to discuss possible internship opportunities. It just so happened that KONNEKT were looking to recruit at the time, for me it was a no brainer. I fell in love with the company and what it stood for immediately.
What are some personal qualities someone who wants to work in recruitment should have?
I would say that due to the nature of the work you would really have to be a team player, we work very closely together so people who prefer to work alone will not do well at all. Since we are constantly on the go and working on multiple things at a time, you really need to be comfortable with dealing with loose ends well, multitasking is really at the crux of it all. Furthermore, because we are in constant contact with people, be they candidates or clients, it is important the we are articulate in the way that we communicate information as in this line, things can easily be misunderstood or misconstrued. As I mentioned earlier, having to deal with disappointment is part and parcel of the role, so being resilient and able to bounce back, not letting it get the best of you is really crucial to success here.Ultimately we look at people who are proactive in nature, who have affable characters and are ready to work hard to reap the benefits of a truly rewarding job.