From Big 4 professional to recruitment consultant
What makes recruitment such a great choice for finance professionals looking for a career change? Former Big 4 professionals Julien Chenoy and Sam Mellebeek discuss their reasons for making the move and tell us what a day in the life of a recruitment consultant looks like.
How did you get into recruitment?
Sam: “After spending more than three years working as a tax consultant I was ready for a change and was looking for a job that was more commercial and client-facing. While searching for new opportunities, I came across a job description for a consultant role at Robert Walters - it seemed to cover everything I was looking for: a company with an international reputation and a role that was client-focused with lots of growth opportunities.”
Julien: “I first came into contact with recruitment firms as a candidate looking for a new job. I had a good relationship with my consultant who raised the idea of recruitment with me. After speaking to him about how my skills would be transferable and the commercial acumen required for the role, it sparked my interest.”
How were your skills transferable into recruitment?
Julien: “Coming from a Big 4 firm and having extensive industry experience has really helped me in my current role. I understand what my clients really want, not just in terms of the technical skills required for a role but also in terms of who would be the best fit.”
Sam: “My educational background in finance and my Big 4 experience were definitely a plus when I joined the commerce and industry division as the majority of people we meet are finance professionals.”
How does recruitment compare to your previous role?
Julien: “My previous role was very procedural and hierarchical and I lacked independence. I today manage my own agenda and am able to meet interesting clients and candidates from a range of organisations, from SMEs to blue chip companies on a daily basis.”
What are the benefits of working at Robert Walters?
Sam: “There’s a great atmosphere in our team and we make sure to socialise together outside of work. Your success and how quickly you evolve is based on your own efforts and achievements. Incentive trips are also organised each year for top achievers to destinations such as Phuket, Miami, Barbados… things like this really motivate everyone in the team to go the extra mile.”
Julien: “I really enjoy getting to work with such driven and motivated people. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas off each other. As professional as the environment is, it’s also a very social one and we make the effort to catch up with each other outside work.”
What does a day in the life of a recruitment consultant look like?
Julien: “After a morning coffee, the team sits together to discuss the candidates they’ve met and the assignments they’re working on to see how we can best help each other to achieve both our individual and team goals. After that, I plan some client meetings; either for a job intake or to get to know the company structure and recruitment needs of a potential client. The afternoon is generally blocked off for searches, interviews with candidates and follow-up calls.”
What advice would you give to those interested in a career in recruitment?
Sam: “Regardless of your educational background or “previous” experience, I would absolutely recommend a career in recruitment, especially if you’re looking for an opportunity to further develop your sales skills and build an international network.”
Julien: “For me, being able to help people and seeing their appreciation afterwards, is a real driver. Those who are looking for a career in which they can use their financial experience will find recruitment a highly rewarding role.”
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