Women in recruitment: Views from a woman in recruitment
Tell me about yourself
I studied History at the University of Nottingham. Uni was definitely the best 3 years of my life (well so far)! I feel like I learnt a lot about myself throughout this experience that I’ve taken forward into my career (not how to put out a kitchen fire!). My course covered everything from Ancient Greece right through to post-modern, but I focused on the inter-war years as I’m particularly interested in studying dictators and fascism, and the psychology behind it.
When it comes to interests I guess the one I’m most known for would be my online shopping addiction. Yes, it’s an addiction. I joke (kind of), I’m both a very creative and competitive person – I’ve always had an interest in music – I sing, play guitar, write quite a lot of my own stuff, I used to want to be a singer more than anything (and probably still do). I’m very into sports and nutrition, always been interested in the human body and seeing how far I can push myself – I gym and run a lot, furthest I’ve done is a half marathon so next up is a marathon (in a year or two). I love badminton and have a long list of things to try/pick back up this year – rugby, boxing, and I’ve actually just started dance lessons so we’ll see how that goes.
In terms of my ambitions, this is a lot harder to answer as it changes every year and the list keeps getting longer. I want to complete a marathon, record my own music, dead lift double my body weight, visit every country once (eventually), have saved enough to buy a house before I’m 30 when professionally or career-wise I’d love to bill a £200k in a year and potentially do a masters degree in international relations/diplomacy when I’m old and grey
What made you interested in a career in recruitment?
To be totally honest, I’d actually never realised recruitment agencies were a thing until after I finished my degree and started looking at the graduate job market. So I did a little more research into it and what caught my eye first was the money (of course) but also I liked the idea of genuinely being able to make an impact on peoples lives and hopefully help them for the better. Career moves can be absolutely transformative to someone’s life…that’s the most important part to me.
I also wanted to put myself outside of my comfort zone – I know I’m not the classic ballsy salesperson who naturally picks up a phone and cold calls etc but throwing myself into an environment where you have to do that to succeed has been really good for me, I’ve grown massively in confidence both inside and outside of work.
Why did you join ESP?
Firstly I really liked everyone I met in the interviews, I liked the general vibe of the office as it wasn’t cut-throat/corporate, it seemed chilled out and a place where everyone had each others best interests at heart instead of being every man for themselves. This seemed like a good place to learn. And I was right!
Secondly I thought the vision of the company and Paul, Simon and James really aligned with what I care about – genuinely adding value to peoples lives and helping them, of course money is a massive motivation for everyone in recruitment but I liked that ESP went beyond that in their values. Gave me a good impression that that’s how they’ll treat their staff too.
What have you done at ESP?
I started ESP as a trainee recruitment consultant in September 2018, 2 months after graduating university. I packed up my life in Nottingham and moved to Manchester, where I didn’t know anyone and had no idea what to expect. The first 6 months at ESP flew by, I started off working on the UK team and then after a couple of months transitioned to the international team which I love.
I started out working solely on the candidate side of things. I didn’t actually bill anything for the first 6 months and when I did it started off pretty slow – but ESP didn’t give up on me and kept pushing me to be better. I got promoted for the first time and slowly things started moving for me (with a lot of support from my brilliant manager Jake and James).
It worked! In our Q3 I billed the biggest quarter so far, £55k, and smashed my annual target. Jake was pretty happy, I was pretty happy. Hunky-Dory. I made three 360 placements, one with a brand new company I brought on board, and developed my confidence and skills on the vacancy side too. I was promoted for a second time which I was absolutely chuffed about, that had been my goal from the start to be promoted twice in the first year. I’m fully confident that going into our next financial year things will only be bigger and better, I’m getting better and learning more everyday and hope the results will come through like they did in q3.
How many women are there in your team?
In the international team, it’s just me in the team of five! It doesn’t really phase or bother me day-to-day, I’m definitely not treated any different by my team – and if anything, I wear the trousers in our little team (they will disagree). Overall in ESP there are five women working on the recruitment side of things – so there are less of us, but all the more reason to make sure our voices are heard.
What’s your experience been as a woman in recruitment?
I really like that ESP have employed more women since I’ve started, its balancing out a bit more in terms of the gender gap and its very motivational seeing other women around me succeeding. I don’t find that I have any different opportunities to the men around me and I’ve never been treated differently by colleagues or clients because I’m female.
However you do get the occasional weirdo pop up in LinkedIn messaging for non-recruitment related chat – totally fine, I’m (mostly) human, but I’m not here to flirt and no I won’t marry you for your green card. Having spoke to the men in my company, this never happens to them.. although they do seem to be pretty jealous so I’ll be sending them their way!
Where do you think women are stronger than men when it comes to recruitment?
This is hard to answer as I don’t see myself as any different to the men in my team (apart from physically). I guess answering from a personal perspective I feel that I can sometimes be more empathetic which really helps to understand the human element of recruitment which if handled and pre-empted correctly can save a lot of deals – however there are many empathetic men and similarly many women who lack this.
Other than this, I’d maybe say that because women are traditionally more used to not being taken seriously in corporate environments, it gives us extra drive to prove ourselves and be the best.
What are the main challenges as a woman in recruitment?
Definitely the lack of female leaders to look up to – this can be tricky especially as a career in recruitment needs you to be incredibly self-motivated. Also in the industry we work in, technology sales, there is a similar lack of female representation so its hard to picture where you could go or what we could achieve. It certainly doesn’t stop any of us dreaming big though.
Lack of leadership also equals a lack of representation and voice too unfortunately – I do feel that we (females in the industry) often have to shout louder to achieve change and make our points still, especially as we do sometimes have needs that men don’t and aren’t always catered for. This is slowly improving and there are a lot of great women out there doing the groundwork which is great to see, and its great to hear about organisations to represent women in recruitment that are growing in popularity.
What advice would you give to a woman starting out their career in recruitment?
Just go for it! Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and others, shout the loudest when you need to – there’s so much opportunity ahead of you to make a really successful career and one day be the role model young women in recruitment really need.
Don’t forget to champion the other women around you too, recruitment can be very mentally tough so its important to have a strong support network of people who understand what you’re going through. Of course a strong woman can make a huge impact on her own – but a group of strong women all supporting each other is unstoppable.