Our Blog

Candidate to Recruitment Consultant – My First Year

Written by Matthew Gray
26/03/19 - 12:17


When I left University, I had no clue what I was going to do. I had missed every internship and graduate scheme deadline and was a little lost in a post-university haze. As soon as you graduate you are thrust into the real world and usually, the first step is the hardest. For an organised few there will be a job offer lined up from weeks or months of internships during the summer. But for most, with more and more graduates than ever before, the market place is becoming saturated for many entry level positions, especially in the classic Service sector roles – think marketing, consultancy and financial service. We are told at careers fares and by university sponsors that we need to try to hitch onto a “Grad Scheme”, but from my experience that might not be the be all and end all...

Not knowing where you'll end up can be a blessing and a curse. It makes you try your heart out for all sorts of positions, whether you want them or not, but it also can bring you options from things you’ve never even considered.

In my case, this was a message on LinkedIn from a recruitment company in London. Now, I had never seen London as the be all and end all (sorry it's not!), but it was at least an option. Recruitment however, was pretty much an unknown. Anyway - I went down for an interview and it opened a door to something different.

The woman who first interviewed me summed it up quite well: "no one grows up wanting to be a recruitment consultant". Never was a truer thing said. I enjoyed the experience and appreciated the time and effort that was given to me, but I didn't get the job. When I found that out a week or so later I wasn't even bothered, but I thought I had found something that looked pretty decent career-wise.  

Back in Edinburgh, I was now certain of what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people and this seemed like the best platform for that (maybe I was being naïve!) and for the first time there was something I could focus on post-university. Quite ironically it was finding a job with the people that find people jobs. Soon enough I had loads of applications in and interviews started flowing, I was buzzing to get stuck into what I knew was the place wanted to be.

I enjoyed the whole process, and soon enough I had several offers – one with Cathcart Associates. It seemed like the best balance of opportunity, training and atmosphere, so I signed up for my first “proper” job.

What a decision! A few weeks later, and I was back in Edinburgh, albeit with a slightly sketchy flat situation, but like my job search, everything sorted itself out. The first few days were really tough: speaking to people who clearly didn't care who you were, or what you were trying to do, but I joined on the same day as three others, so that made things easier. After a few days we were helping resource people for live vacancies. This was great fun, hands on experience that I could get into and it was really enjoyable.

As days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months, the days seemed to get shorter and shorter as we started to do more and more. After two months and a few late nights we were given our markets. Being told where you are going to work is an absolute joy. Working hard and speaking to any many people as you can for the first few months was all worth it to get that patch.

A year or so down the line and looking back, it has been such an amazing experience to have gone through the process of recruitment and then to be doing it myself. It has changed my personality, my outlook and it has helped me grow as a person, but most of all it has shown me what I can become. I don't think there is an industry where you have to stand up for your job more than this, but without it, I don’t know where I’d be.


Matthew Gray

Consultant | Permanent Software and Business Intelligence