Down the Rabbit Hole: My First Year in Recruitment

Starting a new job always has its challenges. But when you’re starting a new job and a new career and mere weeks into being hired the whole world goes into lockdown, it’s triple the fun!
Nick Day, our newest Recruitment Advisor, shares the story of his first year in recruitment – from first day impressions to remote working and beyond…

Day one

If experience has taught me anything, it’s that you must be flexible and ready for anything on your first day. On my first day in a previous role, I dropped a bucket of half melted ice and bottles down a flight of stairs, sending a cascading waterfall of broken glass and shame to the people working on the floor below.

Scarred from this experience, I was keen to make a different impression when I started at HorizonOne.

Much to my relief, the embarrassment of that other first day remained a distant memory as I was greeted with a very different experience:

09:30 – Office orientation and coffee with Andy

10:00 – ECR candidate meeting in the board room

11:00 – Housekeeping with Tammy

11:30 – General overview of operations

12:30 – Lunch

13:30 – Astute and payroll training

14:30 – Introduction to Bullhorn

16:30 – Review and questions with Andy

The day passed so effortlessly. I was encouraged to ask questions and give my opinion, and there was satisfaction in having fit so much into the orientation while finding myself in a friendly, inclusive environment. Best of all, there was no broken glass!

Beyond the boring

My first consideration in looking for a job in Canberra was that it couldn’t be boring. Having come from a career at Contiki that saw me out exploring the world, meeting new people, sipping cocktails, and eating fine food in exotic locations, it was a tall order and one that seemed near impossible to achieve.

I loved the people-facing aspect of being a tour manager and would often talk to travellers about their lives back home. On holidays, people re-evaluate things like their career, and in talking to them I found I was indirectly impacting their life when they returned home.

This synergy was one of my biggest reasons for choosing recruitment, and HorizonOne’s culture influenced my decision to work here. On offer was a dog-friendly, centrally located office with free parking, a diverse team, and a solid professional development plan.

From day two onwards, key milestones continued to shape my enjoyment and experience. In addition to working hard, we had office events every other week – from team building exercises and workshops, to charitable events like Memory Walk & Jog and Clean Up Australia Day, industry events like Meet a Recruiter, social events like office bridal showers, copious amounts of birthday cake, games nights, playing pool, and casual drinks.

All of this was in the first 6 weeks, and it was safe to say the role I had picked definitely wasn’t boring!

COVID lockdown

As the world reacted to COVID-19, lockdowns began, work went remote…and job losses rose. Being the new guy, I started to wonder how long it would be before I got tapped on the shoulder.

Never one to sit on my hands, I went to one my directors. David quickly assured me there was no plan at all to give anyone their marching orders.

Our executive team had made the call early on that they didn’t want to lose a single team member to the pandemic, and they would be there with us to weather the storm – even if it meant going into the red. I think about that decision every day, and how lucky I am to work at a place where the team is so clearly valued.

During lockdown the daily commute was a dream, UGG boots were a regular feature of the work wardrobe, and we found ways to break the monotony of lockdown life. Friday drinks on Zoom were a big hit because it meant having a good chat after another long week of solitude.

Finally after 13 long weeks, the move back to the office was a welcome one.

EOFY, budgets and a bumper run to Christmas

When the Federal Budget was pushed to October 2020, we sailed through unchartered waters as a team who works heavily in recruitment for the public sector.

I formed the strongest relationships with my clients during this time as we provided encouragement, support and market advice to help them.

The road to success was being paved, and I truly felt I was able to use my skills and background to consult rather than just relay information everybody already knew.

After the traditional HorizonOne EOFY celebration, we had a very busy run to December before finishing out the year with our Christmas charity event and Christmas party.

Now settling into 2021, everything seems to have blended together and I truly feel that I’ve found my feet. I compare my first year to the recruitment equivalent of Willy Wonka’s tunnel ride or Alice in Wonderland’s journey down the rabbit hole.

Everything happened in the blink of an eye. But time really does fly when you’re having fun!

A look back at the year that was…

Best moment?

The first person I ever interviewed was also the first person I found a job for, which was a real highlight. Also, winning new business in the not-for-profit sector.

Biggest challenge?

Getting through COVID, and understanding how the APS works without coming from a public service background.

Advice to someone contemplating a career in recruitment?

Be realistic about what you want to get out of it. I wanted to make a good contribution and help people land roles that would change their lives. The inverse is that not everyone gets the role so you have to be able to balance that. Recruitment is a process and an ongoing relationship, it’s not about quick wins and transactions.

Interested in a career in recruitment? Give Andy Batstone a call on 02 6108 4878.


Nick Day
Recruitment Consultant | Communications & Marketing
HorizonOne Recruitment

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