Career of the Month – March

Recruitment consultants help employers find suitable staff, and match people to permanent and temporary jobs.

Average salary (a year)

£16,000 Starter to £60,000 Experienced

How to become a recruitment consultant

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


As a graduate it’s possible to enter recruitment with any degree, although some employers may prefer a subject related to the industry, like:

  • human resources
  • marketing
  • public relations

Some recruitment agencies specialise in a sector of work so you may be expected to have a relevant degree or industry experience.

For example, a degree in pharmacy or a background in pharmaceutical sales could help you get into pharmaceutical recruitment.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information


You may be able to get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship as a recruitment consultant.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship


You could start as an office assistant in a recruitment agency and work your way up through on-the-job training and promotion.

Volunteering and experience

You could develop your understanding of the recruitment industry by getting some experience. Whether you’re studying or looking for work, you could try:

  • work experience
  • internships
  • temporary employment

Getting relevant work experience in areas like marketing, sales or public relations can also help you develop some of the skills needed for this role.

Direct application

You could apply directly to become a recruitment consultant as experience is highly valued by employers. With the right skills and attitude, you could still enter this job without a degree.

More information

Career tips

Whatever your qualifications, you’ll be expected to have great sales skills and be able to communicate with people at many different levels.

You’ll also need to have excellent customer service and team working skills.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Institute of Recruitment Professionals, for professional development, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a recruitment consultant from the Institute of Recruitment Professionals and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of human resources and employment law
  • administration skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work on your own
  • business management skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • ‘cold calling’ companies to generate new business
  • interviewing and testing job seekers, to create a pool of people ready to fill vacancies
  • matching candidates to suitable jobs
  • screening and shortlisting candidates before employers interview them
  • meeting targets for the number of vacancies taken or the number of people placed into jobs
  • keeping records of clients, employers and vacancies
  • negotiating your agency’s fees
  • ‘headhunting’ – finding and approaching candidates for executive or specialist jobs

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

With experience you could move into business development or management, or set up your own agency.

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