How to Become a Recruitment Consultant

How to Become a Recruitment Consultant

If you enjoy working with people and have excellent negotiation skills, then you could make a great recruitment consultant. To excel in this job, you will need to have good communication skills and have a positive and confident attitude.  Your main task would be finding the right people to work for the company that contracts you as a recruitment consultant. 

Here is all you need to know about how to become a recruitment consultant:

What do Recruitment Consultants do?

Typical activities that recruitment consultants perform include:

  • studying job requirements
  • looking through resume databases
  • calling suitable candidates to ask if they would be interested in the vacancy
  • meeting candidates for preliminary interviews
  • preparing shortlisted candidates for meeting with the employer
  • negotiating contract details

You might think that with the unemployment level in the UK currently at 7.2%,  it won’t be hard to find people looking for a job, so your main preoccupation would be choosing the best ones from those who are interested. However, you will soon find out that most of the people are not qualified for the job and that finding the right people is not that easy. 

Also, many employees that do meet the job requirements could already have a permanent job and might not be interested in changing their place of employment. As a recruitment consultant, you would need to show them how they could benefit if they choose the company you represent. Here is when you should use your negotiation skills to convince the person in question to come to an interview with the new employer.

Entry Requirements and Qualifications 

Usually, employers would not require that you to have degree to enter the job. Proof of prior experience is sometimes all they need to consider you for the job. If you have the right skills, you would soon be able to show them that you are a good fit. If you don’t have the skills, you would have to leave the job and consider doing something else.

The fact that degrees are not needed to start this job, does not meant you won’t benefit from taking courses relevant to this field. You could learn the skills and improve your employment prospects by taking relevant courses, such as in human resources, public relations, and marketing.

If you plan to work with a recruitment agency that specialises in one particular sector, such as healthcare or energy, you would benefit from taking a course recognised by that industry. 

You could be able to start the career of a recruitment consultant by joining an apprenticeship scheme in your local area. The Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP)  and the Apprenticeships website are the places to search for current openings.

Hours and Income

As a recruitment consultant, you would work during regular office hours, Monday to Friday. The job is mainly office-based, although you would need to travel to meet candidates or employers. Recruitment consultants earn a base salary and commission from the contracts they close.

The following are the estimated salary levels for recruitment consultants, according to the National Career Service: 

Recruitment Consultant Salaries



New Consultant



Experienced Consultant









Employers and Career Development

Recruitments consultants work with local, national, and international agencies. The jobs are advertised in the press or on the agencies’ websites. Once you land your first job as a recruitment consultant, you should think about the ways to develop your career. You could take one of the following courses by the IRP:

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development also offers a number of short courses for working professionals that could improve your skills and contribute to your future development.

You should consider becoming a member of the IRP. By joining the IRP, you would show employers you know industry standards and follow the code of ethics. Also you would benefit from contacts with other professionals in your field.

With experience, you could be promoted to business development or management positions, or could set up your own recruitment agency.