The Digital Recruitment Consultant Career Path at Herd Digital

Digital Marketing News

The Digital Recruitment Consultant Career Path

Recruitment Consultant Career Path Herd Digital cover image

There are some pretty significant perks to a career in Recruitment: massive opportunities for career progression, plenty of training, huge earning potential, and the social company culture of working in a recruitment agency.

Today we’re going to be looking at everything you need to know about a career in recruitment: The typical recruitment consultant career path, the different areas of recruitment you can work in, as well as the skills, experience and qualifications needed for a career in recruitment.

What is a Digital Recruitment Consultant?

In short, a Recruitment Consultant helps job seekers to find jobs, and helps businesses to fill job vacancies. 

Sounds simple, but of course the reality is complicated: Because businesses work with Recruitment Consultants and recruitment agencies when a job is hard to fill, or they can’t do it themselves.

A Recruitment Consultant will typically start out as a Resourcer, working proactively to find candidates that are a right fit for a job vacancy. These job vacancies will come from their direct manager or from a more senior recruiter.

This will involve utilising job boards and technology that company’s may not have access to, reaching out to the consultants pre-existing network of candidates and head-hunting passive candidates: Candidates who aren’t actively looking for a job, but might still be interested.

As they become more experienced, a Recruitment Consultant will then progress to finding their own clients and businesses to work with, and their own job vacancies to fill. 

This will involve reaching out proactively to businesses to sell the agencies recruitment services and enquire about their recruitment needs.

A Digital Recruitment Consultant, like us here at Herd, is a Recruitment Consultant specialising in digital marketing. 

For those difficult-to-fill positions or those working in a niche industry, it’s best to work with a specialist recruiter or recruitment agency who has a deep understanding of your industry and recruitment needs.

What’s the Typical Career Progression Path of a Recruitment Consultant?

While every recruitment agency offers different avenues for progression, below we’ll outline the typical Recruitment Consultant career path. And while yours may look different and you may even skip a role or two, you’ll likely recognise the typical structure.

We’ll discuss the typical responsibilities, how much experience you typically need for each role, and how much you can expect to earn.

Graduate/ Junior Digital Recruitment Consultant

Typical Experience: 0 – 12 Months

On Target First Year Earnings: £28,000 – £34,000

A Graduate or Junior Recruitment Consultant is the typical starting point for a career in recruitment, for a recruiter with no previous experience. As such, you will receive large amounts of training to get you up to speed on everything you need to know about candidate sourcing and attraction.

Your typical day-to-day responsibilities will include:

  • Working with more senior members of the recruitment team to fill their open vacancies.
  • Reaching out to candidates through LinkedIn, email, and phone.
  • Taking care of initial contact with candidates by phone or video to ensure they’re a fit for the role.
  • Coordinating interviews at a time that works for both candidates and clients.
  • Preparing candidates for interviews by giving advice on interview techniques, the client’s business, and the job vacancy itself.
  • Working closely with and learning from senior recruiters.

Recruitment Consultant

Typical Experience: 6 Months – 2 Years

On Target First Year Earnings: £45,000 – £55,000

A Recruitment Consultant is someone who is typically working towards owning their own clients: Going to market to find job vacancies to fill and companies to work with, as well as resourcing candidates. This is what is known as 360-consultancy, as you are responsible for the entire recruitment process.

Your main responsibilities will include:

  • Building out a network of active and passive candidates within your market.
  • Starting to develop your own partnership with businesses by reaching out to them to offer your recruitment services.
  • Having a strong understanding in your market and offering expert insight to your candidates and clients.
  • Taking care of initial contact with candidates by phone or video to ensure they’re a fit for the role.
  • Preparing candidates for interviews by giving advice on interview techniques, the client’s business, and the job vacancy itself.

Senior Recruitment Consultant

Typical Experience: 2 – 5 Years

On Target First Year Earnings: £55,000 – £70,000

As a Senior Recruitment Consultant you will have more experience, have larger targets to hit, and be responsible for passing some of your knowledge onto junior members of the team.

Your main responsibilities will include:

  • Having an established network of candidates and clients within your industry and market.
  • Maintaining strong relationships and repeat business with your clients.
  • Still actively searching for candidates and clients within your market.
  • Providing candidates with long-term career advice and support.
  • Being an expert in your industry, offering expert industry insight to clients and candidates on market conditions.

Managing Consultant

Typical Experience: 3+ Years

On Target First Year Earnings: £60,000 – £90,000

As a Managing Consultant you will (unsurprisingly) progress into a management position, where you will manage a singular, or small team, or Recruitment Consultants.

You will still be responsible for hitting your own billing targets, but now also have responsibility for supporting the members of your team to hit their targets.

Your main responsibilities will include:

  • Supporting the growth and development of Recruitment Consultant/s in your team.
  • Providing Junior Recruitment Consultants with job vacancies to fill.
  • Monitoring and reporting on the performance of your team.
  • Still consistently meeting your own targets by placing candidates into open job vacancies, and bringing new clients into the business.
  • Be experienced and a thought leader in your industry, offering unique market insight to clients, candidates and consultants within the business.
  • Have strong relationships with clients that leads to repeat business.

Principal Consultant

Typical Experience: 3+ Years

On Target First Year Earnings: £70,000 – £120,000

As a Principal Consultant you will progress to being involved in growing the wider recruitment business, as your role will grow to being responsible for an entire recruitment team. This includes new strategies for business growth, team and account management.

You will also offer clients consultancy on growing their teams and sustainably scale their business, helping them become more profitable, and enter new markets.

Your main responsibilities will include:

  • Supporting the wider business goals by innovating recruitment business strategies.
  • Providing some support and training to Junior Recruitment Consultants.
  • Being responsible for a wide range of client accounts.
  • Have built a strong network of both clients and candidates within your industry and market.
  • Be an expert and thought leader in your market, offering insight into current marketing conditions.
  • Have developed strong relationships with a variety of established clients that offer repeat business.
  • Providing candidates with long-term career advice and support.


Typical Experience: 7+ Years

On Target First Year Earnings: £90,000 – £150,000

As a Director you will play an instrumental role in the long-term strategy, future of the recruitment business and business growth.

Depending on the size of the agency you may still be involved in some of the day-to-day recruitment, due to your own established relationships with clients and businesses. But your focus will generally become on the wider business team and growth.

  • Be involved in the training and development of the wider recruitment business.
  • Acting as a leader and mentor to the entire business.
  • Monitoring the performance of the team and business, noting areas for improvement to optimise performance.
  • Identify areas of business growth and development.
  • Provide training to the senior members of the recruitment team, to be filtered down to the junior recruiters.
Digital Recruitment Consultant Career Path - Herd Digital

What Kind of Recruitment Agency is Best for You?

There are a wide variety of recruitment agencies that work in different ways, a few of which we’ve detailed below:

Temp Recruitment Agency/ Staffing Recruitment Agency

These agencies will be used to fill vacancies for temporary, or contract positions. This means quick placements, for when a company needs someone in the role quickly.

These agencies are great for someone who enjoys a fast-paced environment, happy working under-pressure and making placements with a quick turn-around.

Recruitment Consultancy

Recruitment consultancy is the perhaps most common form of recruitment: Where a recruitment agency is only paid when they successfully fill a job vacancy for a company.

Because they rely on successful placements, these agencies can make a great place to begin your career, as they will provide you with the training you need to become a successful recruiter.

Retained Recruitment/ Executive Search

Retained recruitment, also known as executive search, is where an agency is paid a portion of the fee upfront to fill a position. The agency will work on an exclusive basis, meaning they will be the only agency filling the role, and is generally only used for difficult-to-fill positions.

This kind of recruitment is usually reserved for Recruitment Consultants who have strong experience and a track record of reliably filling vacancies.

Internal Recruitment

Of course, you may decide that no agency is best for you, and move into internal recruitment. Here you will be responsible for hiring for just the one business that you are a part of. You will likely have a higher base salary than in a recruitment agency, but may not have much earning potential from commission (if any).

Internal recruitment is best for someone with some recruitment experience already under their belt. Someone looking to move to a regular 9-5, with less earning potential but more regular hours.

Certifications/ Qualifications Required For a Digital Recruitment Consultant

You may be wondering what certifications or qualifications are required for a career in recruitment. And fortunately, unlike many other high-paid professions, you don’t need any! 

Recruitment businesses are much more focused on soft skills than any specific knowledge that a degree or certification provides. 

Instead, an employer will be much more focused on the soft skills you possess such as your: Work ethic, communication skills, and perseverance.

So while a degree in a relevant field to an area you recruit in would be beneficial, it’s by no means essential.

Experience Required For a Digital Recruitment Consultant

To enter the recruitment industry as a Junior or Graduate Recruitment Consultant, you may not need any recruitment experience. Although obviously, you will be able to join at a higher position and earn more if you have previous experience working in recruitment.

Here at Herd Digital we regularly hire consultants with no previous experience but who have the right attitude and are willing to learn: And give them the training they need to become Recruitment Consultants in their own right.

Recruitment agencies will be looking for new employees with experience in sales, marketing, or any customer orientated role. Because these roles show evidence of desirable transferable skills. Skills like these below: 

Skills Required For a Digital Recruitment Consultant

What’s most important in starting (and excelling in) a career in recruitment, are the soft skills. So let’s have a look at the 5 most important soft skills that we look for when hiring a new Digital Recruitment Consultant.

1. Written and Verbal Communication Skills

Communication skills are perhaps the most important skill for a Recruitment Consultant.

As you’ll be spending a lot of your time on the phone, verbal communication skills are obviously essential: You’ll have to be able to negotiate job offers for candidates, sell your agency’s services to clients and to candidates alike.

In your role you will reach out to candidates over LinkedIn and email, making it essential to have strong written communication skills. Which means not only a strong attention-to-detail, but being persuasive in your writing.

2. Organisation/ Time Management Skills

As a recruiter there is always something you can be doing: Whether reaching out to candidates or businesses. Which means you need to be able to organise and prioritise what is most important to your role.

You need to be able to efficiently plan your day, to get the most out of it at the best times. For example, sometimes you’ll get the best results by calling at certain times of the day, which means organising your day around this.

3. Perseverance and Determination

Recruitment is a job where it may take you a hundred “no’s”, before you receive that all important “yes”. Which makes it incredibly important for you to have the perseverance to keep picking up the phone despite facing rejection after rejection. So that you keep going until you find the person who you can help find a job.

4. Hardworking and Driven

A career in recruitment is hard work, but it is rewarding. Which makes it essential that you’re driven to go above and beyond.

Because Recruitment Consultants earn commission, they’re incentivised to succeed. Putting in the extra hours, helping a candidate with their interview presentation outside of work, and calling candidates in the evening is what can make the difference: Meaning more placements and more commission.

5. Solutions Orientated

Sometimes you have a great job for a great client that you just can’t seem to fill. Or a candidate you’re working with is struggling in their interviews, despite being a great candidate with great experience. 

But you can’t just throw in the towel on the job or give up on the candidate. 

Which means being a consultant. Helping the clients and candidates you work with to overcome problems, and thinking of outside the box solutions. 

The Pros and Cons of a Career in Recruitment

As we’ve mentioned, becoming a Recruitment Consultant is a difficult but rewarding job and career. But before you take the leap into a career in recruitment, there are a few pros and cons you should consider:

Pros of a Career in Recruitment

  • The earning potential. The sky’s the limit with your earning being in your own hands. And while you won’t be earning massive amounts from day one, it’s not unheard of for the best Recruitment Consultants to be earning six-figures by year three.
  • Rewarding work. And financial rewards aren’t the only rewards of a career in recruitment. By helping people find new jobs, you’ll be making a massive positive difference in people’s lives.
  • Great opportunities for training, development and progression. And like we do here at Herd, good recruitment agencies will give you all the support with training and development you need to become a successful recruiter.
  • Social company culture. Recruitment agencies are notorious for having a social and vibrant company culture: With plenty of nights out and company social events.
  • Company holiday incentives. Part of this company culture are company holiday incentives. These are trips abroad or social events that the company pays for, after hitting certain company targets.

Cons of a Career in Recruitment

  • Starting a career in recruitment is no walk in the park. Starting any new career is hard, and recruitment is the same. When you start you’ll have a lot to learn, you’ll have to put in the hours, and you’ll fail a lot before you succeed.
  • Sometimes things go wrong and there’s nothing you can do about it. Whether it’s something that’s happened in the candidate’s personal life that stops them from accepting a new job, or a client pull’s the job for financial reasons: Sometimes you can do everything right and put in all the work and it just goes wrong.
  • Recruitment is hard work. Because of the commission structure, recruitment is a career where the more you put in, the more you get out. Which does mean it’s not a career for someone looking to coast by.
  • There can be late nights and early starts. As a recruiter you need to be available at the times that your candidates or clients are available: Which can mean making calls before or after work.

Looking To Start Your Recruitment Career?

Here at Herd Digital we’re always looking for quality Digital Recruitment Consultants: Regardless of their level of experience.

We offer complete training to graduate and junior recruitment consultants to teach them the ropes of recruitment, to help them perform at the highest levels of recruitment.

If you’re considering a career in recruitment, you can see what life as a graduate recruitment consultant is really like in our blog here.

Or if you know you’re ready to start a career in recruitment, or just looking for your next recruitment consultant position, you can have a look here to see what Herd Digital can offer you!

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