How to change your recruitment specialism

So, you’re thinking about changing your recruitment specialism from one industry to another? Well don’t worry, Recruitment Consultants change sector specialisms more often than you may think. However, it’s not super straight forward and you can see why – candidates need an expert in their sector with in-depth knowledge, so they know exactly what they’re up against and what to do.

If you’re looking for a new Recruitment Consultant job that is in a different sector, it’s essential that you consider what changes you will need to make and the amount of research you will need to do. So how do you change from one recruitment specialism to another? Here are our top tips below. 

Consider your options
Consider why you want to make a change – what is your main motivator? As with any change of direction in your career, you will need to understand why you’re looking for a change and what a successful change would look like, this will help you decide what direction you want to go in.

Before making such a big decision, you need to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you are just looking to increase your client base or you’re not as busy as you would like to be, then it might just be that you need to take a fresh approach, review your tools/processes, or just need a break! But if you feel you are ready to take on a new challenge, then make sure you have clear and realistic expectations for the change.

You should also consider exactly why you think you will work well in the new sector so that you have some basis for the change, for example it might be that you’re interested in programming so IT is a good transition or that you did a scientific degree so Life Sciences is an easier transition.

You can seek advice from your rec2rec about what you like and don’t like about your current market and how you like to work, and they can advise you on which sectors are the best transition and operate in a way best suited to you.

You will want to consider what pace of work you like, whether you want hybrid working, and if you prefer recruiting for temps or perms, for example. It might be that you feel you are at a saturation point with your current market or want to consider breaking into an emerging market. Whatever your priorities are, create a checklist of your wants and needs, in order of preference, to help remind you of your non-negotiables when deciding on your new market. You can then use that to compare jobs and markets to see which one will work best for you.

Do your research
Research the markets you are interested in to gain a better understanding of what that industry is like and whether it aligns with your checklist. It is important to understand that not all recruitment sectors operate in the same way. Every sector is different and will have its own niches, eccentricities, peaks and troughs. For example, medical/healthcare recruitment can be quite admin heavy whereas hospitality and retail are very fast paced and constantly busy.

We recommend researching what the current industry trends and predictions are so you can understand if it appeals to you, but also so you can then articulate your understanding when discussing your sector change with your manager or interviewer.

You will also need to consider the pace that you want to work at. Some industries will be more fast paced than others if there is a higher turnover or if they are expanding due to growth, or it might be that you’d prefer a more consultative approach.

At interview stage
Make sure you have carried out extensive research before attending an interview for recruiting in a new sector. It will look very unprofessional if you just expect them to talk to you about the sector. You will want to be able to talk confidently about your thought process about changing sectors so that you can convey your motivations and expertise. You should explain that you have considered the implications of leaving your current desk and what draws you to a new one.

If possible, speak to a recruiter who operates in the sector you are interested in. That is one of the very best ways to gain valuable insight and an opinion of what it’s really like.

If you do have a personal interest in the market, some sort of affiliation or in-depth knowledge of the sector, then make sure you use this to your advantage and portray this in the interview.

Taking the leap
If and when you make the change, make sure you invest your time in your continuous learning and keep up with the new sector by paying attention to relevant news and articles. Take time to really get to know you clients that bit more to understand their experience in the industry and build a good rapport with them to make sure they know you can be trusted to fill their next role.

The Harrison Sands team works with a wide variety of recruiters from all different backgrounds. If you are looking for advice on moving into a new market or considering a new recruitment role, then get in touch with the team for an informal chat.