Coming Full Circle - From Candidate to Consultant
When I graduated from university back in 2007 (almost five years ago, eeek) I had no idea what I wanted to do really, let alone how a recruitment agency could possibly help. Ironic really that I now find myself working for the organisation who helped me decide on my future career path, got me my first job and now the shoe is on the other foot – it’s me giving the advice and providing assistance to fresh grads trying to make sense of an expansive job market!
I remember my first contact with the GRC like it was yesterday – I was in my university library tearing my hair out over my dissertation but also filled with nervousness about what life after uni would hold…what was I going to do next? In preparation for this, I’d put my CV on a job site to see if any would-be employers might come knocking. Only a couple of days later a consultant from the GRC called to talk to me about what I might want to do and how they could help.
They asked me lots of questions about what I wanted from a career and what I felt my strengths were, and after about 5 minutes suggested that sales might be a suited profession – after all what would a money-driven, English & Drama graduate with a passion for sports enjoy more than talking to people all day and working in a competitive environment with the opportunity to earn more than just my basic salary? Why yes, I thought, that sounds great!
As I was still studying at that point, the consultant on the phone suggested I call them back when I was ready to start work as the recruitment process could move quite quickly so I would need to have my time free for interviews instead of dashing up to London in between exams. So that was exactly what I did. Once my exams were completed and my four dissertations (!) handed in, I called the GRC to talk more about how they could help and was duly invited down to a group sales workshop which would give me more insight into what a career in business-to-business sales could offer me and what I could, in turn, offer to companies.
Despite my lack of prior work-experience, I was buoyed by the thought that just my dazzling personality alone was all I would need for a wildly successful career in sales. Over the next few days, I have various consultants calling me to brief me on an assortment of different roles and I was put forward for those I was keen on. The following week I went along to interviews and even managed to get through to a couple of second stages. Within 2 weeks I interviewed for an opportunity I really loved and, joy of joys, got the job! It was an amazing feeling, knowing that I had secured myself a role so quickly after university and was moving up to the Big Smoke of London to start my career and Life After University.
The GRC couldn’t have made the transition easier for me – they made sure I settled into my new roles, was happy and getting to grips with everything and my first ‘proper’ job. It was tricky at first but I soon got the hang of how to sell my product and got the taste of success as I hit my targets and was rewarded with that lovely thing called commission!
Over the next two years I continued to love my job, the team, living in London, exploring at the weekend, joining a sports team, meeting loads of new people and even a pay rise and promotion! By the time it came round to 2010 I couldn’t believe I’d been with the same company for 2.5 years and felt it was perhaps time for a change. My feet were increasingly itchy after having travelled a bit before uni so I decided to take off with two good friends and go travelling. It was a big decision to make, leaving a company where I knew the job and the people but it was the right time for me to move on.
I spent the next year having the time of my life, travelling through 27 different countries and had some of the best times of my life – seeing sights and meeting a huge range of people. Believe it or not though, by the time I got back I was ready to get cracking with my career and eager to start work again and continue to be successful.
It just so happened that one of my good friends had come out to visit us when we were in Cape Town, South Africa – our very last stop before home – who was working in recruitment and incredibly successful at it. She said that it was something I should really consider on my return as she thought I had the right personality for it so, when I got back, I got in touch with the very recruitment agency who got me my initial job.
After two tough interviews and a brief phone call to confirm my interest in the opportunity and company, I was offered the job as Consultant for the Graduate Recruitment Company which I gleefully accepted. Starting work was great because I felt like I already had a fantastic insight into the business and industry, having been a candidate previously. It’s amazing to see recruitment from an insider perspective when you’ve been a candidate – to see the effort that goes into matching candidates up with the right opportunities, and sometimes opening graduates up about careers they are suited to but might not have considered previously.