Making the Switch to Recruitment: My Best Year Yet

When I look back at my early career, it’s interesting to note that I never considered recruitment as an option.
My working life began when I landed a role as an executive assistant with the University of Canberra before moving across to the Australian National University (ANU). I spent six years as an EA and then project manager – first within their philanthropy department and then in fundraising.  

After deciding that I was ready for a change, I met Sarah Tamasi from HorizonOne who invited me in to chat about what I wanted to do next. When I spoke about the skills and experience I’d gained, she asked if I had ever considered a career in recruitment. I hadn’t, and at the time the idea of earning a base salary and commission (versus a standard income) felt a little overwhelming.

I opted instead to take on a role she had with another company where I ended up staying for several years. Eventually I chose to move on and when I reached out to Sarah again, she floated the idea of a career in recruitment to me a second time.

I took a chance and made a change, and I can honestly say I haven’t looked back. Twelve months later and this has been the best role I’ve ever had, with a phenomenal team culture and lots of support for my development.

Transferable skills that helped me transition easily

I came into my role at HorizonOne with a number of skills that have been really valuable in helping me navigate the recruitment learning curve.

The first is communication; you have to be a people person and genuinely want to build relationships with others. Honesty is also very important. I find that if I’m open and honest with everyone then it always ends in a great result.

Recruitment is very fast paced, so effective time management is crucial. You must be able to allocate sufficient time to communicate with clients, meet new candidates, manage job ads, build networks, invest in social media, and much more during any given week.

I try to set myself up for success each Friday by reviewing the week that was and planning the week ahead so I can walk in on Monday and know exactly what to expect. Tools like Trello help me keep track of tasks, and I enjoy our Tuesday team meetings where we share what’s coming up and reflect on the prior week.

I made a big effort to draw on existing networks when I started at HorizonOne. Strong connections I made from working at universities resulted in a recruitment campaign that set me up for success early on.

Sometimes things do fall over – candidates withdraw or a job gets put on hold – so you must be resilient. But I’ve learned not to take it personally because people and businesses need to do what’s right for them, and occasionally that means separating the effort you’ve put in from achieving the best outcome for all.

Exciting times ahead as I build my career

Aside from my recruitment role, I’m also a member of HorizonOne’s Culture Club, tasked with engaging and inspiring team members with events and cultural activities. One of my favourites was our Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser bake-off. It was officially judged by representatives from the Cancer Council and we were able to raise much-needed funds.

Culture is so important in a workplace, and HorizonOne really does have an exceptional culture which you don’t find everywhere. There is no hierarchical feel, everyone sits together, changes are transparent, and we honestly feel valued by the leadership team. Today I’m choosing to work from home, and every Wednesday we have the opportunity to participate in a 1-hour bootcamp paid for by the company.

Looking ahead, I’m excited to continue building my subject matter expertise in the area I work in now and potentially branch out into science/research based roles. I find them so interesting (perhaps because of my background in tertiary education), particularly roles such as veterinary officers as I own show dogs and have a passion for dog showing, genetics and breeding.

For anyone thinking about a role in recruitment, my own experience is that it’s a great career path and you learn so many practical skills. Ideally, you want to work in an area of recruitment that you understand from personal experience, it makes the switch easier. For example, my background mix of EA, administrative support, and project management ensures I understand the context of the roles I’m working on. That’s not to say that a double learning curve of recruitment in a new field isn’t possible, you just need to be committed and have the right mindset.   

Kayla Hincksman
Recruitment Consultant – Administration & Office Support
02 6108 4878

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