Know Your Worth: A Guide to Getting What You Deserve In Recruitment

Crushed by the overwhelming burden of unreasonable KPIs? Struggling to hold your own in an aggressive sales environment? This doesn’t make you a bad recruiter. If you’re selling your soul to earn a crust, you need an escape. Finding an exit can be a difficult step to take but sometimes you need to know your worth. Here’s our guide to getting what you deserve in recruitment. The grass is greener!

What’s Going Wrong?

So, where’s it all going wrong? When we speak to unhappy recruiters, there are a few key issues that come up time and time again:

  • Heavy or unrealistic KPIs
  • Lack of progression opportunities
  • Long and unreasonable working hours
  • Weak commission structure
  • Lack of benefits
  • Low base salary
  • Poor training
  • Sold an implausible opportunity

Let’s deal with these one by one…

Heavy or Unrealistic KPIs

If you’re facing the everyday battle of hitting unrealistic KPIs, you can quickly forget why you’re there. Your job shouldn’t be to hit call times, you’re there to recruit.

We recently placed a candidate who had to make 400 calls a week. If they didn’t hit this target, they were expected to work out of hours. In this type of environment, you lose sight of the goal. If you’re placing candidates, call times shouldn’t be important.

This same candidate was placed into an agency where every consultant’s time was equally split between phones and actually going out to meet candidates and clients. This agency gave the consultant full autonomy over how they recruit – needless to say, they’re loving it!



Lack of Progression Opportunities

There are few other industries where progression is so achievable. Realistically, in recruitment your career should advance in a natural upwards curve. The problem is, this isn’t always the case. If you’re hitting a ceiling and can only progress when people above you leave, you’re in the wrong agency.

If you’re in the right agency, there should be a direct correlation between your performance and your progression. We’ve placed grads in agencies who have advanced to a Managing Consultant position within as little as 2 years. They’re now earning a percentage of their team’s billings and loving life. These examples aren’t old wives tales, in the right company they actually happen.

Long & Unreasonable Working Hours

If you want to succeed, you have to graft. It’s the same in any industry and especially so in recruitment. Long working hours are a fact of every recruiter’s life. But they should be a choice, not an obligation.

Agencies are changing their approach to the working day. More and more of our clients are offering flexi-time to ease the strain on consultants. A leading organisation has recently changed their standard working hours to 8.30am – 5.30pm, something completely unheard of in the industry. This reiterates the general push towards a quality over quantity approach to recruiting.

Weak Commission Structure

Commission is everything to recruiters – it’s why we do the job! It’s the biggest incentive there is. Thankfully, most companies realise this and look after their consultants. This isn’t always the case. We’re regularly talking to candidates who are sick and tired of their pathetic 5% commission structure.

As a rule of thumb, you should earn at least a third of what you bill. If this isn’t the case, you need to plan an escape route! We know some agencies who offer 10% on billings up to £10k, 20% on billings between £10k – £15k and then 30% on anything above £15k. We also have clients who pay £100k in commission to anyone who bills £250k – if that’s not an incentive to succeed, we don’t know what is.

Lack of Benefits

Benefits and incentives are ingrained into the fabric of the industry. If your agency isn’t offering anything to entice success, it can dampen your motivation. We all know recruitment is tough, we need something to keep us going during the bad days.

From car buying schemes to lunch clubs, benefits should always be within reach. A lot of firms choose to go above and beyond what’s expected. From helping consultants get on the property ladder to paying for external training courses, clearing student loans and assistance with home improvements. Plenty of our agencies offer support with travel costs and gold star rated benefits packages. Like we said, the grass really is greener!

Low Base Salary

Irrelevant of commission structure, if your base salary is low you’re going to struggle – especially during the dry months. A high base salary is vital to financial stability.

The best agencies understand this and increase salaries to attract the best talent in saturated markets. We’ve recently placed a recruiter with 18 months experience in a role paying £34k per year. We even helped a Senior Consultant with 4 years of experience and £300k in billings to a position with a £70k basic. These are outstanding examples from exceptional individuals but they do illustrate the direction the market is heading.

Poor Training

Been thrown in at the deep end and told to sink or swim? You’re not alone. Without proper training, you’re being set up to fail. We’re not just talking about day-to-day recruitment training but business coaching too.

Plenty of businesses invest heavily in personal development – both at junior level and management. A good biller doesn’t make a good manager or business leader. Being trained around management skills and business is invaluable to your future progression opportunities. Don’t look for an agency that wants you today but one willing to train you for tomorrow.

Sold An Implausible Opportunity

Recruitment shouldn’t be ‘just a job’. The type of people who thrive are those who want to craft their own careers and control the curve of their potential. Having complete control over your earnings and progression is part of the allure of the industry.

Don’t be a cog in the machine of an agency. Don’t be another bum on a seat. Companies with this mindset don’t offer real and genuine opportunities. They may talk the talk and they may sell the dream but it’s often unrealistic. If a firm has been going for 10 years and still only has 10 staff, can you really achieve the lifestyle they’re selling?

Work for a company with the credentials. Look at the company history and their path to success. If a business has scaled from 1 to 400 people in seven years, sold and looking to do the same with another newly founded agency, you know they’re the future leaders of the industry. This is the type of company you should aspire to be a part of.

What Can You Do?

Being stuck in the wrong agency can seriously hinder your performance and future prospects. It’s difficult to admit you’re worth more. Look at how you compare to the rest of the market. We’ve placed many, many candidates just like you. Candidates who deserve better. Don’t turn your back on recruitment – find an agency which will treat you well. You don’t need to be a top biller to demand a decent salary. Have a browse of our job board to get a feel for the type of roles we can help you achieve.

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