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From retail to recruitment: a success story


You might never have thought about a career in retail recruitment but through working in retail you already have all the skills that are required: ambition, drive, motivation and a determined, target-focused approach. The best part? You don’t need a recruitment background — excellent interpersonal skills, a love of sales and enthusiasm for the retail industry are all the essentials to making a high earning, rewarding career at the UK’s top retail recruitment consultancy, Retail Human Resources. We talked to Preeti Patel, Senior Account Manager, about how she went from a sales assistant at New Look to one of the top retail recruiters in the business.

How long have you been working as a recruitment consultant?

Coming up to 5 years in September.

Where did you work before you joined RHR?

I started out as a part time sales assistant with New Look whilst I was studying and moved to Next a year later, still working part time. I was promoted to weekend manager soon into my role and continued this whilst I was at university.

After I finished studying, I was thrown into a manager’s role full time and moved to several different departments. I moved to London with the company and after a couple of years decided to look for a new role.

What made you consider becoming a recruitment consultant?

I wasn’t looking for recruitment in particular when I first started looking. I originally had set my eyes on HR, so I came to meet RHR. It was then that my consultant suggested looking into recruitment and gave me the low-down on working for RHR itself. After looking further into a career with RHR on its website, rhr.co.uk/work-for-rhr I decided that it looked like it could be the perfect career choice for me and the rest, as they say, is history!

How would you describe life as a recruitment consultant compared with working in retail?

I came into this role thinking that I would have an easy 9-5 office job but it is far more varied than that. For example, there are definitely some similarities between retail and recruitment. You are constantly doing more than one thing and have to be able to react to situations. You also have to be commercial and think about how you can be more effective in your role. There is a big element of customer service as well, when it comes to dealing with both candidates and clients.

How do the skills you learned from working in retail benefit you as a retail recruitment consultant?
Having worked in retail, I am able to better understand the needs of my candidates as well as the expectations of my clients. That’s not to say someone who hasn’t worked in retail cannot do this role but I have found that my background has helped to build firmer relationships.

What do you enjoy most about working in retail recruitment?

I’m motivated by money and targets (otherwise I wouldn’t be in this role) so I have to say...the commission! I like that I drive my own success and don’t have to wait for someone above me to move before I can be promoted.

At the same time, I find that the balance between my job and my personal life has really improved and working fewer weekends and evenings means that I can play as hard as I work...In fact, there are so many elements to my role that I like, it’s hard to pin down just one.

Why would you recommend making the jump from the retail industry into recruitment?

I’ve mentioned before that I like how I drive my own success, so if you are self-motivated and want to work in an industry where you get out what you put in, recruitment could be for you.

You need to understand that this is a target driven role, so if you are motivated by that, again recruitment could be right for you. This role isn’t easy and it does take hard work and determination but the benefits are equal to what you’re willing to put in.  

To find out more about moving into retail recruitment, even without previous experience, contact our in-house recruitment team on 020 7432 8888 or at enquiries@rhr.co.uk

What RHR says:
“We are always searching for people from all walks of life who can make a difference. Individuals who are driven, ambitious, highly motivated and hardworking who are looking to join our dynamic sales teams across the UK. If you are looking for a high flying career with the opportunity to earn some of the highest commissions and rewards in the industry then we have the career for you. Working as a recruitment consultant with RHR will stretch your skills and reward you with the best salary package in the business, leading edge training and an enviable social schedule.”

A day in the life of a recruitment consultant

“My day works around clients and candidates. If a candidate can only come in and meet me at 8am in the morning or 6pm in the evening then I’ll have to work around that. In between my day-to-day work, I also have to carry out business development such as work on strategy for the team, headhunt new people, prepare candidates for upcoming interviews, advertise positions, take on new vacancies, confirm interviews with both candidate and clients and try and get away from my desk for a little bit!”

7am – Already on my way to work.
8am – I get into the office for between 8am and 8.30am. I’ll make myself a green tea and go through emails and applications.
9am – Call candidates.
10am – Call clients / chase any feedback.
11am – I book in interviews.
12pm – Interview.
1pm – Lunch.
2pm – Interview.
3pm – Speak to potential clients and look at business development – sourcing new clients to work with and trying to build relationships.
4pm – Review current vacancies and any new potential roles, then speak to existing clients and update them on current positions.
5pm – Clear anything left in my inbox (I hate having any emails in my inbox before I go home!)
6pm – I try and leave at 6pm but sometimes I find it easier to catch up on last minute things when people have left the office.
7pm – Hopefully home by this point!