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Recruited into Recruitment

Desiree Hemberger, moved from Sydney to London and back again, first working in Financial Services, but this time in recruitment. Find out how she made the move.

Eight years ago I graduated from university in Sydney and arrived in London eager to make my career in the “City”. I was driven, networking like crazy and loved a good chat. I thought I was a no-brainer for an investment banking sales desk.

Funnily enough, while I pursued this career goal fervently, the recruiters I was working with thought these skills made me an ideal candidate for a role in recruitment.

While the offer of a role was flattering, it wasn’t for me at that time. However seven years later and with no regrets, one GFC down and a serious Blackberry dependency syndrome – I needed a change.


I explored alternate roles within the financial services market here in Sydney when I returned from London, but the topic of exploring a career in recruitment came up again.

Meeting the Managing Director here at Morgan McKinley changed some of my misconceptions about the industry and what the role actually entailed. I also took the time to network with others in the industry.

I discovered that a number of skills I had learnt in my career to date were actually transferable to the recruitment world: relationship management, commercial awareness and financial markets knowledge. These are all requirements to be successful in the role as well as to gain credibility in the eyes of clients, candidates and colleagues.

The reality

Any concerns I had over this being the right step for me were overshadowed by the factors that made recruitment increasingly appealing:

· Staying close to the financial services sector

· Applying transferable skills and knowledge

· The focus on developing relationships

· Having measurable targets; and

· A good worklife balance

But the most rewarding aspect of this role has certainly been to make a first-hand difference to professionals’ careers and also to my clients’ performance by assisting them to build their teams.

For me moving into recruitment has been the best decision I could have made. For those who haven’t considered moving into recruitment, perhaps it’s time you give it some thought. Consider the following:

Timing - You need to be at a point in your career where you are 100% ready to dedicate yourself to a career change. There is still a steep learning curve which should not be underestimated.

Misconceptions - Address any misconceptions you have about the role and industry through research and education. Check your ego at the door – while confidence is crucial to this role there is no point starting and assuming that because you did X,Y and Z in your last career, that recruitment will be a piece of cake. While your prior work experience will certainly enhance your performance down the line, learn from your colleagues who have been recruiting for longer than you and be humble.

Transferable skills - What can you bring to the role? What is your unique selling point?

The company - Join a company which reflects your values and goals. Look at the business model and meet the team. Be clear about what the expectations are of you. Discuss these with your new management and map out how you will achieve your goals and in what timescale.

So, are you interested in becoming a recruiter?

  • Jul 30, 2013
  • Culture
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Anna Maher

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