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Spotlight: A day in the life of a Principal Recruitment Consultant

Posted by: Rebecca Craighill
Company News

Craig joined Navartis in August 2013 and quickly progressed through the ranks, becoming a Principal Consultant in March 2018. Rather than managing a team, the senior position of Principal Consultant allows Craig to run his own desk, develop clients and focus on making placements. 

What does your typical day consist of?

Our days always start with a team meeting to discuss what we’re working on. This gives us the chance to highlight any support areas and focus on helping each other out throughout the day.

The meat of my day is spent talking to my active contractors and clients. These are relationships I’ve built over my five years at Navartis. It’s something that can only come with time and you can’t rush that.

I’m their first point of contact for new opportunities so I make sure I’m talking to them regularly. It’s important to me that they’re still fulfilled in their roles. If not, let’s change that. 

Because of my great relationship with my contractors I can trust the opinions, insights and referrals they send my way.

Why did you set your sights on becoming a Principal Consultant?

My drive has always been client focused. It’s about the thrill of the deal – I love it when a client comes straight to me. If they need a specialist role filling, they should think of me. Not their own HR department, not even Navartis. Just me. You know you’re doing something right when that happens, and for me, that’s a real buzz. 

That’s how I know that I’ve built strong partnerships with my clients and become an extension of their business. If I didn’t go down the Principal Consultant route, then I would have lost that.

It lets me focus on what I got into recruitment for in the first place.

Did you ever consider going down the management route?

I was given management opportunities, but I found that my time with clients and contractors suffered. I decided to focus on the Principal route so that I could grow my portfolio of clients and active contractors.

Thankfully, Navartis give me the opportunity to mix it up. As much as I love client and candidate phone calls, you need to keep things fresh. As a Principal I’ve got the chance to share my experience with the other consultants.

I deliver Masterclass training for some of the senior guys and I’ve had some great feedback. It’s great to be able to support new people with the experiences I’ve already had. The masterclasses give me the opportunity to keep my hand in with training while also focusing on my recruitment. I’m grateful to Navartis for giving me the autonomy to deliver training off the back of my success. 

What’s the best thing about your role as Principal?

Being a Principal Consultant in itself is the best thing about it.  It means I can focus on running my own desk, my own mini business. I get to do what I love.

At the moment there are only two principle consultants here at Navartis and that’s because it’s incredibly hard to achieve.

It makes me very proud to have this title and be a role model for upcoming consultants. 

What are some of the challenges faced on the job?

Every day is a challenge in recruitment, from candidates changing their minds about a role or a client squeezing me on the rates. You need to be very resilient and patient. 

You need to master the art of persuasion and patience at the same time. Above everything, you need to be honest. It took me a while to learn how to balance all those areas efficiently.

I need to put in the work and the hours. If I don’t it will only hurt me in the long run.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a Principal Consultant?

As you progress through recruitment, your targets rise. That’s not a bad thing – everyone needs something to aim for. The only way you’ll improve is to set yourself higher and higher goals. You need to push yourself to meet them.

You need to be headstrong because there’s more responsibility than being a senior. Managing multiple client accounts and up to 40 active contractors is not easy. But it’s very rewarding if you can find the right balance between maintaining active accounts, growing active accounts and winning new work all at the same time.

Principal Consultant might not be for everyone. Very fast paced, very target and profit focused. It’s not for someone who would rather oversee a team and watch them grow. You need to be more selfish in the Principal world – focus on what you want to bring to the business and for yourself. Work hard, and get it done. 

Further Reading

- A Day in the Life of a Trainee Recruitment Consultant
- A Day in the Life of a Senior Recruitment Consultant
- 5 essential skills to maximise your recruitment career
- 6 ways to start your career when you don't have any experience

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