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Interview spotlight: Tips and insights from our Managing Director USA

Interview spotlight: Tips and insights from our Managing Director USA

What draws someone into the recruitment world, what keeps them here and how can you best succeed in the business? Lewis and I sat down to talk about both his career path and his insights into the world of recruitment.

Lewis grew up in Essex with his parents, sibling and numerous cats and dogs. He went to school in the UK, took a Bachelors in Politics & Economics at Aberystwyth University, Wales and ended-up in the Netherlands taking a Master’s in International Relations at the University of Amsterdam.

After graduating, a graduate rec2rec firm placed Lewis in a finance recruitment firm in London, from where he was later headhunted by another rec2rec for the Payments & Cards Network here in Amsterdam. Although he wasn’t originally planning on staying in Amsterdam, he’s found it an excellent fit personally and professionally. At Payments & Cards Network he describes himself as a ‘360 consultant, responsible for new business development, expanding existing accounts, headhunting rare candidates, and managing all UK client, candidate and partner relationships.’ His work entails about 65% searching and screening candidates, 30% managing client relationships, and 5% after-sales admin.

 What makes someone an ideal candidate to become a recruiter in your opinion? What makes their CV stand out?

Lewis: I’m looking for someone with enthusiasm, someone who’s genuine, who’s affable and has a likable demeanour. Experience with sales and recruitment is great, someone’s who ambitious and can give concrete examples of what they’ve achieved. For their CV, I want to see something crisp, with no grammatical errors, no logos or diagrams, black and white and to the point. A good CV details achievements with bullet points and shows how you’ve helped the companies you’ve worked for.

Layla: What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a recruiter? What skills do you need to succeed in this field?

Lewis: Others might disagree, but if you aren’t keen on making deals and don’t feel attracted to making money, what’s going to keep you going? Besides enthusiasm and being genuine, you need to be dogged, have persistence, and have great personal skills—to be able to get along with anyone, rich or poor, smart or not-so-smart. Instant rapport building is an essential quality of a recruiter.

 What do you wish you could tell candidates?

Lewis: For candidates that accept counter – offers (both recruiters and all candidates in general) — it’s usually going to backfire. Typically, within 6 months the candidate that accepted a counter-offer leaves anyway. It’s a sign there’s no communication if you have to use a counter-offer for leverage. If you’re looking for a new job, it probably means you want a new job. Be straight with your employer, don’t try to twist their arm with a offer, they’ll remember next time there’s promotions or cuts on the agenda. If you want a pay-rise, earn it and demand it.

Layla: What’s a favourite memory at PCN?

Lewis: There’s quite a few. I’d say our quarterly team trips are fairly luxurious. Lots of firms have a yearly trip for top billers but we do quarterly trips which about a third of the sales team tend to hit. Some recent ones include Montenegro, Tignes and Hvar. Of course there’s the ultra-decadent monthly lunch club too. Not to mention the pool table, dart board and skateboards in the office!  

Layla: What else would you want to add?

Lewis: In terms of intelligently picking a recruitment job as a recruiter of a 1 or 2 years, you need to ask yourself careful questions to find the right fit for you.  For me, it’s important to see my co-workers as proper friends, and to have a manager who doesn’t micromanage me. If I feel micromanaged, I won’t keep working – full stop. Look at what you want and what type of person you are; do you need lots of people and structure around you, or are you a lone wolf? What kind of manager do you want? Maybe you really benefit from close management? Be honest about your personality type and your recruitment skills will flow! That will help you find where you want to work and where you will best perform.