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How are ConSol Partners making the recruitment industry a career of choice?

I have shared stories with many colleagues in the past which often start with ‘I fell into recruitment’, ‘it was a stop gap’ and ‘nobody grows up hoping to be a Recruitment Consultant’. It made me think; why does this have to be the case? Having joined the recruitment industry straight after graduation I have witnessed first-hand all the benefits this career can offer, yet often find myself justifying the profession to friends and family.

Ben WallinAt ConSol Partners we have attempted to address this and continue to strive to make the industry an attractive one, or at a minimum, compete with sought-after sectors such as banking, law and media. Our philosophy is that in order to make recruitment a ‘career of choice’ you have to start with the next generation. Yes recruitment is known as a profession that does not necessarily require employees with a degree, but why should the industry not attract top intellectual talent post-University? For the last seven years, ConSol Partners have continued to hire graduates for our development programme. In an era where intakes have dwindled, ConSol Partners is bucking the trend by offering aspiring individuals their chance to join the corporate ladder.

At a basic level, recruitment can offer a vibrant and entrepreneurial environment; an alternative to the traditional stuffy, corporate vibe. However to truly appeal to ‘Generation Y’ and to push recruitment into the ‘career of choice’ category you need to offer clear, and defined professional development programme, an attractive and inclusive culture and above all transparency from the top down.

Professional Development
The ConSol Partners’ graduate scheme consists of a 3-week blended learning process known as ‘Perform’ where the selected candidates, typically between six and eight individuals, are given expert training by the award-winning and former Pareto Law training consultant, Russell Beswick, and his team. Russell says of Perform: “The scheme ConSol Partners has developed over the last seven years is arguably the most comprehensive I have seen in the recruitment industry, and it gives graduates all the tools and structure to succeed rather than throw them in at the deep end. I joined ConSol Partners because of its overwhelming commitment to learning & development, and the graduate scheme is a major part of this strategy.”

Furthermore, as part of the scheme, we offer an Institute of Sales & Marketing (ISMM) diploma to our fee earning employees, which is one of the first initiatives in the industry to make recruitment employees ‘qualified’. This complements our learning & development strategy, which endeavours to deliver bespoke training programmes to consultants at all levels. A common misconception about recruitment is ‘being thrown in at the deep end’. ConSol Partners are trying to dispel this myth and rival grad schemes of other sectors. An internal value proposition of this kind can improve your reputation with clients and candidates and it is a selling point that truly is unique when every other executive search firm is saying the same things.

Nick Gilbert, Managing Director of saleslearn.com, who facilitate ConSol Partners’ ISMM assessments said: “It has been a pleasure to work with ConSol Partners over the past year, and I am delighted to see such a significant number of their consultants gaining Level 3 ISMM qualifications. It is not often that we see such investment into best practice skills training and I am confident that ConSol Partners employees will be much better equipped to offer added value to their client services. We look forward to continuing our relationship with ConSol Partners and Russell in the future.”

Culture and Environment
When attracting more experienced staff and competing against other businesses for sought-after recruitment professionals, we have developed a multifaceted approach. We have been listed for the last two consecutive years by The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For and were named as the 2015 Best Staffing Firm to Work For by Staffing Industry Analysts. This, together with a solid social presence adds credibility and sense of reassurance to future talent. We have found this to be even more pertinent in 2015 and have invested in building out our marketing function to cover multiple advertising channels. Promote your culture in addition to your environment, and your future talent will engage with you and your workforce.

Transparency
We believe being open and honest about business decisions, processes and change is key in order to attract every level of employee to the industry. A clearly defined career path together with documented commission bandings that are achievable and understood help to embed this, which in turn wipe out favouritism and the unfair promotions that I have witnessed all too often in my recruitment career. The succession planning process at ConSol is known as ‘Progress’.

Progress is a step-by-step career guide which details the billings, soft-skills and competencies required to move up a level. This in-turn sets out a clear path which we know from employee feedback and candidate interviews are so important to the workforce today. Progress operates at all levels where employees will control their own earnings and wider development potential and must demonstrate competency as well as commercial success, meaning we can nurture future leaders and also identify principle leaders easily.

Summary
Recruitment as a sector is a barometer of the economy. It is one of the first measures analysts look to for economic forecasting. Its impact is wide ranging and can define a recession or boom period. In my opinion, this elevates the recruitment industry. We make a difference, and surely this is what people want from their career of choice?

Ben Wallin, VP East Coast, ConSol Partners

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