How To Get Into Recruitment - An Interview With Elleni

Name: Elleni Herodotou 

Age: 26

Degree: Psychotherapy

Current job title: Senior Consultant

Current workplace: Petroplan

Career/long term goal: To travel more with my career 

What made you pick this job?
After university I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and someone suggested recruitment. I started out with a high street agency for a year, which was fantastic – it was a really great place to be trained. It was very focused on quantity, so it was a brilliant environment for a recruiter to start out in because you learn how to be really efficient and to quickly get the jobs filled. I then moved to a company which focused on financial recruitment. As a financial recruiter, I did some work placing finance professionals within a major energy company. It stood out for me as a particularly satisfying company to recruit for. 
How did you get your position?
By chance, one of my friends happened to pass by Petroplan’s Guilford offices in her car, and saw its sign advertising it as a global specialist recruiter for the oil and gas industry. She suggested I might want to take a look and I made a speculative application. Not long after, I was working here as a Senior Recruiter! I began looking after a team of two and working in permanent recruitment for a range of big-hitters like BP and EOn.
What skills do you feel are the most important in your chosen line of work?

There are several key skills which you need to succeed in any area of Recruitment: firstly a self-starting, pro-active work ethic; but the ability to listen to people, and to form relationships with them is also absolutely critical. Recruitment can be a high-volume environment with staff focused on getting as many candidates placed as possible, oil and gas is quite the opposite; it’s all about making a relatively low number of high quality placements via in-depth and long-term conversations with clients and candidates alike, so patience and tenacity are two skills which definitely come in handy in the sector I work in.  

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your working life, including the application process, and how did you overcome it?

When I started in my current role I was placed in charge of a team of two. So this was a real step change for my career in terms of responsibility, and proved a real challenge! However, my manager struck the perfect balance of autonomy and supervision to allow me to acclimatise to my new role. I was given the freedom to manage my team and day to day activity as I saw fit but was never simply ‘dropped in the deep end’. 

Is your job helping you to achieve your long term goal?

Definitely! One of my key aims over the next few years is to be able to travel, and that's something that this job allows me to do regularly. The commission on one of the latest placements I made has paid for my recent trip to Las Vegas! In the course of meeting clients and attending industry events, I regularly travel – I’d say an average of one trip every couple of months – to a variety of international locations including Geneva, Paris and Houston. I know that if I want to work abroad on a more permanent basis at any point, Petroplan can help make that happen, which is exciting. It really is a very global industry. The company have also really supported me in enrolling in a part-time degree in Psychotherapy – meaning I can spend a day each week studying something I’m keenly interested in, without compromising my career progression.
And finally, do you have any advice for students and graduates reading this article?

Like a lot of jobs, recruitment tends to vary across different industries. The fact that the core skills in recruitment roles are really transferable can give a lot of freedom. Once you start in recruitment, whether you are recruiting in the finance sector, media or marketing, don’t be afraid to launch yourself into a totally new industry! Employers will recognise core skills and as long as you’re willing to improve your knowledge of a new area, you’ll be able to adapt to new roles. Don't feel pigeonholed into one particular field. 
Looking to read more? Head to our Advice Section and check out our 'What's your Occupation?' articles!


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