From financial planner to recruitment

Ilze Du Preez

Ilze Du Preez is a managing consultant specialising in wealth management and financial planning roles in our Sydney office. She talks about her move into recruitment, how her skills were transferable and why Robert Walters was the right choice for her.

Tell us about your switch from finance to recruitment.

After ten years working in the financial services sector in London, I was ready for a fresh challenge. I decided to go travelling and planned to work while away. Following ten weeks travelling around Asia, I landed in Sydney and realised very quickly that it was where I wanted to settle.

I initially came to Robert Walters as a candidate looking for a role as a relationship manager. However, I was quite open to my career taking a different direction. The Robert Walters consultant I met thought that my industry experience and client management skills would be well suited to a role in recruitment. After discussing the opportunities available in recruitment, I decided to go for it and joined the company as a consultant.

Why did you want to work for Robert Walters?

I had attended interviews at other recruitment agencies, but I found the focus on sales targets and the fiercely competitive work environments very off-putting. Robert Walters’ team-based commission structure and focus on building long-term relationships with clients really appealed to me. I enjoy working with people and wanted that to be a key element of my role. The company’s reputation as a trusted brand and its strong position in the market were also pull factors – I felt confident that it would offer me opportunities to develop professionally.

How were your skills transferable?

In my role as a financial planner, I needed to understand my clients’ short-term and long-term goals to put an effective strategy in place. This isn’t dissimilar to recruitment, as you need to establish your candidates’ career ambitions and motivations in order to match them with the right role. I was able to draw on these parallels and utilise the communication skills I’d developed to build a good rapport with my candidates and uncover exactly what they’re looking for in their career.

Being able to demonstrate strong industry knowledge has also been incredibly useful in strengthening my relationships with clients. It certainly adds to my credibility and gives my clients the confidence that I understand their hiring requirements.

Describe a typical day in the office.

Every morning the team get together to discuss their candidates and the roles they are working on. After this, I will typically attend one or two client meetings. The afternoon generally covers a variety of client and candidate activities including, attending meetings, headhunting, reviewing job ads and approaching passive jobseekers. It’s a very varied role and fast-paced, so the day never drags, but staying organised is crucial to keeping one step ahead.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love having the opportunity to constantly meet new people. I really enjoy the coaching aspect of my role – there’s nothing more rewarding than working with a candidate and helping them to achieve their goals and grow in their career.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I’m very proud to have played a key part in growing Robert Walters’ market share within the wealth management sector. Entrepreneurialism is a key element of Robert Walters’ culture, so you can essentially build your own business within the wider international business. This gives you the best of both worlds, as you have the autonomy to venture into a new business area with the support of an established international company.

What are some of the best things about working for Robert Walters?

There’s a strong culture of development and promotion and training is given at every stage of your career, so you receive the support and skills you need to grow professionally.

Another aspect of the company culture that I enjoy is the strong sense of social responsibility and focus on giving back to local communities. Each year, the company holds an annual Global Charity Day, which sees staff from around the world taking part in fundraising activities to raise money for their chosen charities. In addition, the Sydney office has an ongoing partnership with Dress for Success, a charity that helps local women achieve economic independence. Through this partnership, our consultants provide local women with free career coaching and support to help them successfully prepare and pass the job interview process. It’s a great way to make a difference to people’s lives.

What do you enjoy about the culture in the Sydney office?

The working environment in the Sydney office is fantastic. We all work hard and have a lot of fun along the way. Collaborative working is encouraged through team based incentives, so there’s a great camaraderie in the office. If you have a question, you can ask anyone in the team knowing that they’ll try their best to help you find an answer. Similarly, if you’ve achieved a great win, the whole team will want to give you a pat on the back. It’s a very positive and supportive environment, so it’s unsurprising that many of us have developed close friendships and enjoy socialising outside of work.

What qualities do you think are essential to succeeding as a recruiter at Robert Walters?

To succeed at Robert Walters, you need to be driven. While it’s a collaborative environment, being competitive is key to unlocking amazing financial benefits and progressing rapidly in your career.

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