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Recruitment Survey, 8 out of 10 recruiters say?

Permanent People have recently been conducting a survey of recruitment professionals who have worked in the industry in the past and present, in which we asked six pretty simple questions and we were lucky enough to have a good response as 44 recruiters gave us their thoughts from across the UK.

It came about in order for us to try and get a better understanding of what drives us to achieve results every day, why we choose to work in recruitment and what annoys us the most!

Some of the results are predictable but others are quite surprising. Below we’ll outline what we asked and a bit of analysis.

Firstly we asked:

How did you first get into recruitment?

Not sure if this is a surprise or not but out of the 44 people, a staggering 96% answered that they had fallen into the industry. Only 2% said that they had always wanted to, and the other 2% said they had known someone in the industry.

96What does this say about recruitment that the majority of people that have worked in the role in some form or another haven’t really chosen it? Is it a compliment? I think it is. If you think about it, people don’t need qualifications or to pass exams to get a role within an agency however once they are given a chance they tend to enjoy the role and stay in it for a healthy number of years, so as much as we sometimes moan about it, we got lucky to get the job in the first place and mostly, we stay in it in one form or another. Which leads us on to question two…

How long have you worked in the industry?

The answers to this one, were of course, more spread out.

45% have spent 10 years plus, 27% accumulated 5-10 years, a further 20% served 2-5 years and lastly 8% of people who took the survey have worked just 0-1 years!

It does seem to indicate that even though we may of fallen into recruitment, a lot of us stay in the environment for a quite a long period of time, career-wise. Obviously these figures are completely dependant on the stage you’re at in your work-life, but it does suggest that recruitment does have it’s rewards.

So question three!

What do you enjoy most about the job?


Can you guess?

It isn’t quite a clear cut as you would think, as it’s not all about the money for us recruiters, I know, it surprised us!!

33% answered that they enjoy the earning potential part of the role, and why not, for good recruiters, it can be a lucrative job affording you to get paid well. And why not, we go to work to pay the bills don’t we, and it seems that recruitment can offer you the sort of lifestyle and rewards we seek. The second most popular answer (this sounds a bit like family fortunes) was the variety of daily work with 30%, which shows that we like the challenge of no day being the same and keeping our grey matter turning over, perhaps outlining why recruitment attracts bright, intelligent people who need this kind of stimulation. Next was helping find people a new job at 27%. So we aren’t all heartless, money-hungry, ruthless individuals who would sell there own grandmother for a decent fee, it seems we actually enjoy the good-will part of the job and helping change good candidates lives. At 10%, career opportunities was the lowest choice percentage. Is this a negative? Out of all the options, it appears that we aren’t in the job necessarily for career advancement as money, variety and helping others came in as more popular answers.

Question four asked What’s the biggest negative?


Come on, no job is perfect, and recruitment is certainly no different. We deal in an uncertain commodity, people. The answers were quite spread out though but top of the list was people letting you down at 33%. I think we all could of guessed this one but the reputation of the industry, stress and the hours were all joint after this on 22%.

So obviously there are negatives, I think this is a fair reflection as unreliability tends to lead to the other three, and I don’t suppose this will ever change and the positives must outweigh these as we all seem to be coming back for more!

The last two questions had open answers, rather than multiple choice, giving the opportunity to let us know what you think.

What would you change about the industry?

Everything? Nothing? We had some interesting responses to this question and we thought it would be best to give you a selection below:-

Make it more professional

Poor standards of competitors


The reputation of the industry

Candidates quality

Lack of candidates


Other recruiters!

If you think about some of these, and most of them came up often, it’s clear we all want to improve recruitment, which is a positive. Some are more frustrations on the daily job, gatekeepers, targets etc… but others are more of a wish on the bigger picture on wanting the recruitment industry to be seen for what it is, a necessary, valuable and sector that gives a lot of people an excellent career, and we want this to be reflected to the outside world.

Lastly, What advice would you give someone new to recruitment?

Some of the responses have come from those now in internal recruitment, talent acquisition and hiring managers. Also, from those who have taken the leap into doing it for themselves, so they have contact on a daily basis with people who are looking for a way into our world, so the answers have been interesting and they aren’t really false ways of convincing people to take the job because you need to find X amount of new recruits, more advice from those best placed to do so, people who have enjoyed and continue to enjoy, success in recruitment.

Here’s a few pearls of wisdom:-

Be honest and thorough

Treat people like you would want to be treated

Believe in what you’re doing

Don’t give up…

Enjoy the ride

Be prepared to be let down

Work for others like its your own business

No matter what, don’t lose sight of your morals

All good advice from those who have been there and done it.

In summation, the survey was a useful way of hearing from experienced professionals at different stages of their careers and it held up a mirror in a small way to what’s happening every day in agencies and recruitment businesses up and down the country, in all sectors from education, commercial, industrial, financial and from global businesses with high-street branches to small independents. It is clear that recruitment is a good career-choice for people, you can earn the money you want to, it’s stressful at times, but we enjoy it, most of the time.

Thank you to everyone who took time out to answer the questions and we would love to hear people’s thoughts on the results!

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