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How to set up your own recruitment desk

Michael Snow
Some of the best recruiters are those with the passion and drive to go above and beyond the norm for the job. These individuals obviously want to excel in their role, but many also want greater control of their career, particularly if they have a few years’ experience behind them.

The reason I say this is that I have been one of these individuals. I joined Capita IT Resourcing back in 2012 for many reasons. Perhaps the biggest appeal was the fact that within this large corporate environment there was the opportunity to set up a recruitment desk of your own, something that isn’t commonly heard of in many big organisations. Indeed, the company is highly supportive of any professionals looking to do this.

The opportunity has been hugely beneficial for me and has propelled me into the senior position I am in today. So if you’re looking to set up your own recruitment desk at a large corporate as I did, here’s what you should bear in mind:

Know your market

It might seem like an obvious statement but it really is one that I would urge anyone to consider. There is simply no point starting a desk with zero knowledge in the area so consider your strengths and play to these. Remember, the company’s directors want you to prove that you have the contacts and experience to really excel, otherwise they are unlikely to fully back the new desk.

Have your black book handy

You ideally need to have an established client network which has past experiences of your delivery in your chosen field. Recruitment is very much driven by word of mouth and having a contact book of clients who already trust you will demonstrate to the board that you will be ready to hit the ground running and start bringing vacancies in relatively quickly.

Be prepared to demonstrate your credibility

When starting from scratch you will need to demonstrate to potential clients and candidates that you really know your stuff. As such your ability to speak the ‘language’ of your chosen sector will be hugely beneficial in establishing your position as a key player in your arena. By means of example, when operating in IT recruitment it’s important to be able to not only understand the technical terms used, but also be able to use these during conversations with key contacts. In essence, you need to be more than just a recruitment expert – you need to be a sector specialist too.

Don’t be afraid of hard work

It can be easy to fall into the trap that many recruiters who set up a desk do and stop hitting the phones. However, this can be detrimental to your success. I always feel that you have to treat this almost as day one in recruitment again and really put some time and effort in to get your name out there again. This includes accepting that you may have to build a database from scratch when you set up a new desk.

Constantly grow your knowledge

Investigate market trends that will not only increase your understanding but will also hopefully give you a point of interaction with clients. Remember that no matter what level you are at or how credible you are as a recruiter, there is always more that you can learn.

Setting up your own recruitment desk is a highly rewarding step, but one that does take dedication and hard work. For those with the drive to make this move though, being well prepared to answer the questions the board is likely to ask will only serve to stand you in good stead.

Read our related blog: Top tips to securing an IT promotion
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