How I Became a Recruitment Consultant
Find out what it is like to become a recruitment consultant for Deverell Smith as we interview Joseph Morris on his career to date.
We speak to Senior Consultant, Joseph Morris, to find out what he did before joining Deverell Smith and how he came to work for one of the UK’s leading property recruitment firms.
What did you do before joining Deverell Smith?
I went to Birmingham university where I studied Money, Banking and Finance. After graduating, I considered a career in accountancy but the prospect of going through more education having just graduated from university didn’t really appeal to me.
I also considered banking, but it wasn’t the best time to be a graduate in the market. I ended up falling into a role as a COO for a small start-up which had developed a graduate recruitment board called Grad Diary. They didn’t actually do any active recruiting; it was more marketing and advertising of roles on behalf of big accountancy firms and investment banks, but I saw it as a good way of keeping in touch with that market and also trying my hand at something completely different.
What prompted your career change?
After four years we had developed Grad Diary into a profitable business, but my gut feeling told me it had reached its growth potential. I was drawn towards working for a bigger organisation so decided to look elsewhere. My family is in property – my father is an estate agent – so I had some knowledge of the industry and got in touch with Deverell Smith with a view to finding a route into either residential or commercial property.
Whilst discussing potential roles, they asked if I’d ever considered property recruitment. My initial reaction was one of uncertainty as I’d only ever heard negative things about the recruitment industry – I had a couple of friends who worked in big, corporate recruitment firms, and they didn’t like it very much. That obviously gave me cause to be apprehensive – the thought of making lots of cold calls wasn’t very appealing. It turned out that I couldn’t have been more wrong. After meeting with the team, I really liked the look of the company and came back to meet some of the managers. The rest, as they say, is history!
How did you transition from your existing role into your new one?
I was originally brought in under a manager who handled accountancy and finance roles so there was a bit of a tie in to what I had done previously. However, whilst I knew about some of the qualifications candidates needed to work in the sector, finance in property is very different to traditional accountancy and finance roles. There are so many different types of roles in the industry, many of which I had no knowledge of so was learning as I went along. Three months into my new job, my manager decided to move onto pastures new, and Deverell Smith gave me the opportunity to grow into the role and take charge of the division myself. In my eyes, this was a really good show of faith in what I had achieved up until that point and it was great to feel so rewarded for my efforts.
Are there any transferable skills between what you used to do and what you do now?
Not particularly; it was very much learning on the job. There were other team members who had worked in finance so I was able to bounce ideas off them if I ever had any questions. One skill I did already have, from when I worked at Grad Diary, was the ability to call up companies I’d never spoken to before and strike up a conversation. However, with the Deverell Smith brand name behind me, I started to experience much warmer opening conversations than I’d previously experienced which made my job a lot easier.
In what ways do you think your career is better now as a result of working for Deverell Smith?
The key thing is the progression opportunities. The business is continually growing and I am part of a desk that is relatively untapped so I can see great potential for how I can develop the team. At Deverell Smith the only thing stopping you is your own ambition. If you set your sights to achieve something then Deverell Smith will support you all the way.
How has Deverell Smith supported you in your career?
The great thing about Deverell Smith is that they teach you to learn the ropes yourself and how to build your own career path, albeit with lots of support. For example, they will help by introducing you to new clients, particularly where we may have worked with them in another capacity – i.e. our estate agency team may have placed a candidate with them and will check to see if they have any finance needs. There is a lot of cross-selling between desks and we all work together to help develop each other’s divisions.
I think this approach really benefits clients too – previously they may have gone to a specialist finance recruitment firm for their accounting staff requirements, many of whom didn’t really understand the role of finance specifically within property. At Deverell Smith, clients know that the candidates we provide will have property-specific experience; they can also get all their property staffing needs serviced by one company, whether its sales, marketing, property management or finance.
What are the main perks of working for Deverell Smith?
The work-life balance is very good and I can honestly say I’d be happy to go out for a drink with anyone in the company. The overriding factor is the ethos of the organisation – as much as everybody is an individual, everyone has the same friendly vibe about them. Normally within such a large organisation you’d imagine that people would stick within their own teams/cliques but those don’t exist here. It’s very much highlighted by the format of the office, which is very open plan allowing everyone to intermingle.
The commission structure here is also very appealing; you can earn what you want to earn and there is no limit or cap on what you can achieve. My previous roles were very much based on a basic salary where you got a small pay increase every now and then. Conversely, Deverell Smith is all about what you as an individual and your wider team can achieve.
If you’d like to find out more about a career with Deverell Smith, please contact Talent Development Director Chris Long on Chris.Long@deverellsmith.com or 020 3056 0279.