The Importance of a Coach & Mentor in Recruitment

Over the years I have interviewed 100’s of candidates who were considering moving into recruitment. It would be fair to say a lot of those candidates were not entirely sure what was involved with being a recruiter. Recruitment is not a career which is often talked about during University open days or highlighted as a potential apprenticeship after leaving College. Therefore, there is a lack of knowledge about a career in recruitment.

Usually potential new recruiters get sold on a career in recruitment by commission structures, basic salary, training programs and company culture. All of which are important in a sales environment and I’m sure will all sound very appealing. 

However, whilst the above points are important, what is far more important is the person who will be “managing” you. One of the historic problems with the recruitment industry, is organisations promoting their top billers to managers. Top billers traditionally don’t have the characteristics of good managers. They are usually becoming a manager because it involves a pay increase or their employer views it as a way of keeping them within the business. They view management as setting KPI’s, sales targets, telling people what to do and conducting performance reviews. However, being a manager should include someone who is willing to coach, mentor, guide and support you through what will be a challenging first year in recruitment. 

I have interviewed many current recruiters who are looking to leave their current employer after less than 12 months with the company because of their manager. Having a poor manager can also completely turn individuals away from recruitment. 

Commission structures, basic salaries and incentives are decisions made by the employer which don’t require any additional investment of time. The reality is it will be around 6-12 months before you see the benefit of their commission structure and incentives anyway.  

What you should see the benefit of in your first 6 months, is the person who is coaching, mentoring and training you. This is where the key difference comes in from someone who is just “managing”.  Not many potential recruitment consultants ask in the interview about the person who will be their manager. I would encourage any individual considering moving into recruitment, to ask the following questions.

  • Who is responsible for managing me?
  • What is their background?
  • How many people have they successful trained in the past?
  • What training is provided and how long is the training program?
  • Is there a recent trainee I can speak to in the business?
  • What is their management style?

This person is going to be responsible for teaching you the job and dedicating hours upon hours of their time. Therefore, understanding who this person is and their credentials should be your most important consideration. Don’t risk the start of your career by working for someone who doesn’t want to invest time coaching and mentoring you.

So to anyone considering moving into recruitment, assess your potential manager. Are they passionate about developing people and do you trust this person with your career?

I was fortunate when I started recruitment I had an excellent coach and mentor.

Want to ask me a question? Please feel free to comment below or send me a message on Linkedin

Posted by Adam O'Donnell



Adam holds a BSc in Business Studies & Management from a Top 10 UK University and has been with Leap29 since 2009. He is currently Operations Manager for professional services, which includes Banking, Finance and Legal. He is also a Member of the Chartered Management Institute (MCMI). Adam was recently part of a four person shortlist out of 1000 applicants for Recruiter of the Year in the North West of the UK.

Related Posts: