How to break into the recruitment industry: graduate placements
Graduating from university is a daunting time; your student loan has run out, your discount card has expired and the only clothes you have left are best suited for a fancy dress party, but that's not all you've got to worry about...
If you haven’t planned to go travelling abroad or bagged yourself a graduate job before finishing your studies, it can feel like you’re at a loose end but you're not alone. Today, the number of young people leaving university without a clear career path is rising rapidly.
As the graduate job market dwindles and competition grows fierce, simply gaining a good degree isn’t enough to guarantee a long and successful career. It’s imperative that graduates can show potential employers that they have been proactive during their time at university. The ability to achieve high academically whilst gaining relevant work experience in a pressurised environment proves that you are able to cope in difficult times. Employers will recognise this and it will help your CV stand out in the graduate talent pool.
According to research conducted by the graduate recruitment website Totaljobs.com, “Nearly 40 percent of graduates are looking for work six months after graduation, while a quarter are still unemployed after a year, according to new research.”
Work experience is a grey area for graduates as most have little money and a huge student debt to clear. 6 months - 1-year of unpaid work is a financial burden which can turn many off the idea of taking up a placement. However, if the opportunity is passed up it can hinder their chances of getting on the career ladder – a tough predicament.
Try to secure yourself an internship during your studies when your student loan can help to cover your travel costs and lunches. Remember to ask whether you will be reimbursed for your spends.
Some companies offer paid internships with the possibility of a permanent position within the organisation once the placement has ended. Securing a paid internship immediately after your studies is essential in gaining the right amount of experience to apply for professional roles in the future and will avoid gaps on your CV. They’re also a great way of helping you to determine what career path you wish to take and what you have to do to get it.
By creating partnerships with local universities, we can nurture and support young and aspiring talent and help them on the path to success. Our structured internship programme prepares young people for what is expected of them in a professional environment. This equips them with fundamental skills that aren’t taught during their studies. These skills will enhance their employability and set them apart from other candidates.
Securing an internship with Michael Bailey Associates
Our internship programme is open to undergraduates and post-graduates from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. Previous interns have studied Business Management, Commercial Economy for future Entrepreneurs and Biomedical Science.
Undergraduates have completed internships at our London, Amsterdam and Zurich offices with the help of our partnership with Aston University’s Business School in Birmingham, UK and our relationship with Hogeschool van Amsterdam in The Netherlands.
From the interview stages to their last day of placement, at Michael Bailey Associates we try to keep every part of an intern’s journey as close to working in the real world of recruitment as possible. However, this doesn’t mean that we throw in trick questions during in the hiring process. Candidates who are interviewed for this position will be expected to show that they've researched our company and have a sound understanding of why they want to work for us and in the recruitment industry.
An ex-intern from Aston University who is now a Business Developer at Michael Bailey Associates said, “I was attracted to how established the company are in such a competitive market. In the UK, the IT recruitment market is thriving however Michael Bailey Associates have managed to stay competitive for 25 years.” Other interns have been impressed by our international presence and exciting portfolio of clients.
Most importantly, interns like to come away from their experience having adjusted themselves to the professional lifestyle and to have grown their skill set so they can be successful enough to head up their own team in the future. That’s why we encourage interns to share their career ambitions with us so we can help to fulfil them.
A day in the life of an intern
Our internship programme consists of two varied roles. Some interns will assume a data entry based role helping to build our database with candidates and contractors. For data entry interns, a typical day includes uploading CVs to the database and speaking with candidates to discuss their skills and experience. This helps intern’s gain greater knowledge of the different roles within a sector we operate in. Depending on how many requirements a team has, data entry interns may get the chance to put forward candidates for a role.
As a Resourcer, the intern will have more responsibility. A day will usually involve searching for strong CVs on our database and job boards, speaking to potential clients, confirming candidates and passing them on to the Account Manager. We understand that being held responsible for this area when you are new to the company and industry can be terrifying but our team spirit and our supportive working environment helps to ease our interns into their new role.
“The team were very welcoming on my first day and my colleagues were very patient with me no matter how many questions I asked! This really helped to calm my nerves.” Our teams offer guided support to all of our work experience students. We help to identify our intern’s strengths and weaknesses and show them how to use their strong points to their advantage and how to improve their weaknesses.
Interns are encouraged to take responsibility for their role once their supervisor feels that they’re confident enough. One student who did a placement as a Resourcer was allowed to speak with clients when she needed more information on a role. “This was a great opportunity for me as a student and it really helped me hone my skills in speaking to people at all levels of hierarchy with professionalism.”
Picking up the phone is always the biggest challenge for anyone starting a career in recruitment. Am I going to stutter? How should I deal with confrontation? Am I going to sound like I don’t know what I'm talking about? These are just some of the thoughts that run through our interns head before the make their first few phone calls.
“Getting to grips with the terminology used in the sector you're recruiting for is crucial when helping yourself overcome this issue. Working with direct sales people who have a lot more experience can be intimidating but try to listen in on their phone calls to see how they approach different situations,” advises an ex-data entry intern.
Interns have added value to our business in many ways such as helping with technical problems and taking on extra hours and more work to prove that they’re making good progress. This goes a long way and adds towards a glowing reference and proving that you are career driven.
Payment and rewards
Here at Michael Bailey Associates, we never take advantage of anyone who does a placement with us. All interns are paid for their time and will receive the commission on any deals they make. We are a KPI driven organisation and the Resourcers on placement have set targets which changed as they improve similarly as they do for permanent members of staff.
On completing their placements, our interns agreed that they all felt confident in regards to entering back into the recruitment industry. “I now know how to survive in the recruitment industry. I've learnt how to manage candidates and developed my knowledge on business development. Nothing can faze me!” remarked one intern.
With 1-year experience working at Michael Bailey Associates, our interns were bombarded with calls from recruitment agencies with job offers. Having maintained a good working relationship with permanent colleagues, most of our interns stay in touch and become permanent fixtures within the company.
Interns have gone on to become Account Managers, Business Developers and Resourcers.
We have a fair employee recognition programme where employees are promoted when they continuously excel and they are given the opportunity to grow.
“Michael Bailey Associates has helped me progress my career very much – I started as an intern, then to a Resourcer and next to a Business Developer I couldn't be more grateful”, said one Business Developer from Zurich.
“Michael Bailey Associates ensures you use your strengths to improve your performance while helping you work on your weaknesses. It’s a great organisation where you feel motivated and have true employee satisfaction. “
Throughout their placement, interns quickly realise that working in the recruitment industry is like a being on a roller-coaster. There will be ups and downs. Prepare yourself for rejection and don’t let it get you down if a deal falls through.
Say yes to responsibility, be organised, prepare to step outside your comfort zone, stay motivated and most importantly do not be afraid of the phone!