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My first quarter: “Is recruitment what you thought it would be?” 

I have just completed my first Quarter here as an IT Recruitment Consultant at MCS Group in Belfast. I joined in June just after completing my undergraduate degree with Queen’s University Belfast in International Politics and Conflict Studies. I think that it is always challenging knowing what you want to do after you graduate, especially when you are not coming from a vocational background, but after a lot of research into the field of recruitment I realised this was the route I wanted to pursue. Key to this has been coming from a sales background in a job I had during my degree and finding out how well this experience lends itself to recruitment. 

‘Is recruitment what you thought it would be?’ – This is one of the most common questions I have faced during my time at MCS so here is a bit of my journey so far… 

Initial training: 

When I found out I was starting with a group of other people this was such good news and really settled my nerves (considering recruitment is my first proper ‘grown-up’ job and not knowing exactly what to expect). This meant that throughout the training process I was working alongside others, most of which who hadn’t come from a recruitment background either. The best part about training is that it was hands-on with both Managing Directors of the business, Barry and Louise. To see how committed the MD’s are to team development and progression really set apart MCS from other companies in my opinion. It is reassuring to know that I am getting training from experts in the field who have also been through a very similar journey that I am taking in recruitment. 

The way training worked was by doing a few days in the boardroom and then getting out on the floor, practicing through interactive role-plays and discussions to try and address potential situations that might arise. This is then repeated over the forthcoming weeks to ensure that each area of process is addressed. I must admit that when I was put on the floor to do this, making phone calls seemed like the scariest thing ever. However, this quickly subsides when you realise that it’s just a phone call at the end of the day – and as long as you follow the given process, it’s pretty hard to mess up. I also found (and still find) that by sitting in amongst the team, you learn a lot in regard to what to say, good questions to ask and generally how your desk is supposed to run. 

Working for MCS: 

A major highlight of working for MCS is the ‘people focus’. As mentioned, in regards to training, I have felt from the first day that I am supported throughout the process and I know that any questions I have will be addressed. Even after your first few weeks, you don’t feel like you are left on your own when you are on the floor. For the initial weaning period Kerry, our Talent Development Manager, holds group-sessions with the new-starts that you join with. I found these really encouraging to find out that everyone else was going through the same hurdles and challenges. Also hearing about everyone’s success stories is great for learning – as I think one of the biggest mistakes when starting recruitment is comparing yourself with other team members. 

Another thing I love about working for MCS which I believe sets us apart from other agencies in the industry, is the people-focus when it comes to candidates and clients. We are encouraged to meet with new candidates and clients daily. I enjoy this aspect as you begin to learn so much more about the field you are working in, it helps build better relationships and brings a lot of variety in your day. Each day is structured and there is a strict process which suits me well, however each day is very different as to what you will face. 

My biggest challenge:

When I started, I think that one of the biggest challenges I faced was the fear of asking too many stupid questions with the fear of not looking knowledgeable. In hindsight I was really hard on myself as coming from a humanities background, I could talk a whole lot about politics, but not a whole lot about software development… when in reality I wasn’t expected to. 

I found that for me to overcome this was by doing independent research and asking as many questions where possible. From the first day of training you learn about depth and getting to another level of questioning. When I think about it, I’m a pretty nosey person and 90% of your job is to ask questions, so might as well make the most of this. It comes down to talking to both clients and candidates, especially in regard to the latest technologies and languages they are using in IT as these are forever changing. If I hadn’t started in recruitment, I can’t imagine another situation where I would have had the same exposure to learn about how Belfast is contributing to global technological advancement, which is pretty cool. 

First success story: 

When applying for MCS, I distinctly remember being asked about my ability to be tenacious. At the time I assumed I was tenacious based on how I approach situations in my previous sales job, however 3 months into recruitment and I can now confirm this is absolutely the case. In recruitment it is so important to persevere as you initially might feel that you are doing a lot of separate activities that have a seemingly loose connection with each other. After what seemed like a long period of time, I made my first placement and all of these dots became connected (yes, cliché but it was true).

This was a great feeling as not only had I found someone their dream job, but I also built strong working connections with both the candidate and client to get the desired result. 

I think that one of the biggest misconceptions about recruitment is that you are solely placing someone in a job and then you move on. Whereas it is actually about building relationships and not just checking-off boxes until you think you have done the right thing. As already noted, the biggest thing I have learnt is that by asking the right questions (and actually acting on these) you are able to build on these connections and deliver excellent results for each party involved by putting people’s needs and pain points at the forefront.

 My thoughts: 

To answer the question, is recruitment what I thought it would be? My only honest expectation was that to get results, you need to put the work in. This is absolutely true, you need to be committed to learning more about the field you are working in, focusing on the people you are working with and have the desire to build your desk. I would say that recruitment isn’t for the faint hearted, but it is for those people like myself who love to see how their efforts pay off in successful results. It has been encouraging to think about how far I have come already in my own personal development, and still how far I am yet to go. 

My advice to anyone considering recruitment, especially those like myself coming straight out of university, is to get a conversation. Whether this is an informal chat with one of the team here at MCS or officially applying to a role. Ask as many questions as you can because then you will find out how recruitment suits you. It has been the best move I have made as a recent graduate especially as I know this industry is here to stay and is only getting bigger and better. 

If you are interested in a career in recruitment or are looking to take your recruitment career to the next level, apply with MCS Group here.


To have a confidential conversation with one of our specialist recruitment consultants call us today on 02890235456.