The Competencies of a Recruitment Consultant – 1. Planning

Just over a month ago, I wrote a post for my series “So you’ve become a recruitment consultant…” on the key competencies of a recruitment consultant. This post has so far had over double the amount of hits of any of the others and as there are 12, I thought this would be a great topic for my next series of posts over the summer.

So over the next 3 months, we’ll tackle each one in more detail with the main purpose, added hints and tips of how to question to see what level of competence someone has, as well as what type of activity / evidence they should be demonstrating at a high level.

The information shared will be a combination of my own experience as a recruitment consultant & manager, the 25 years I’ve spent in the industry and the research that I was involved in many years ago to establish which are the key competencies and the subsequent work to utilise this information when recruiting, training, developing and retaining staff for the long term.

1. Planning

People that know me or have been on one of my training courses will know that this is a pet subject of mine. Planning is relevant to everything that a recruiter does. Too many are so busy just ‘getting the job done’ that they don’t see planning as an activity that is key to their role. I myself used to feel guilty if I took myself off to a quiet corner and spent some time thinking about what I wanted to do next week, month, quarter, year. What totally convinced me was that the interviews that took place to determine the key competencies found that 100% of successful consultants interviewed, planned.

Purpose: -The purpose for a recruitment consultant is to plan in order that they create themselves time for sales and service. The overall purpose is to make sure that they meet the needs of the business, their customers and their own goals through their planning.

Questions to determine planning competence: –

1.  Tell me about the types of planning you carry out in your role:

a. What period of time do you usually plan for?

b. What are the keys steps in the planning process?

c. What activities do you give key priority to?

d. What do you find most difficult when planning anything?

2.  Tell me about a successful activity or event that you planned recently:

a. Talk me through the background to it?

b. How did you approach it?

c. What were your first steps?

d. What specifically did you do to ensure its success?

e. What did you learn about planning as a result of this exercise?

3.  Tell me about some of the longer term planning you have carried out:

a. What is longer term for you?

b. What are you usually planning for?

c. What do you still find challenging about longer term planning?

High level of competence shown: –

They keep the plan uppermost in people’s minds.  They create energy and drive in the plan so that the actions will take place and bring people’s attention back to the plan – even when under pressure

They understand the importance of involving others in the plan i.e. clients / candidates / team, in ensuring commitment to it

They address the consequences of the plan and have a contingency in place – always thinking of the “What if?”

Each week I’ll tackle a new competency and I will follow the same format of Purpose, Questions and Examples of what a high level of competency would look like. For the original post with a snapshot of all of the competencies I will be covering this summer, click here – The Key Competencies of a Recruitment Consultant.



Angela Cripps
Angela Cripps
ANGELA has 25 years of experience in the recruitment industry and calls herself an industry advocate - anything that raises standards and Angela is likely to have a link to it somewhere. A professional trainer for the past 15 years, her LinkedIn profile shows she currently works for industry bodies. As a select member of our BizProphets "thought leadership" Panel, her expert insights afford industry participants the tools necessary to master the art of recruitment.

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