Recruitment is a pretty fast-paced career. Demanding and challenging… but ultimately rewarding and lifechanging – life as a Recruiter is certainly not for everyone. One person it suits perfectly, however, is our Senior Marketing Recruitment Consultant, Susannah Tavartkiladze.
As Susannah celebrates her 26th year in the recruitment industry, we sat down with her to pick her brains and gather all her best tips, tricks, and knowledge for clients, candidates - and even any aspiring recruiters out there!
Who is Susannah?
It’s safe to say that Susannah, like the majority of other Recruiters, fell into Recruitment.
After graduating from University College Dublin with a degree in Economics and Spanish, and then going on to do a post-graduate diploma at Dublin Institute of Technology, it was time to look for her calling in life. She saw a small advert in a newspaper, looking for recent graduates who wished to train as Recruiters for a small, very professional, boutique recruitment consultancy in Ireland.
“I loved it from Day One,” she gushes. “The candidates, the clients, the challenges… and of course, the rewards!”
Despite quickly finding a career she was ready to devote herself too, Susannah didn’t let herself be tied down. In fact, she used her ever-expanding recruitment skillset to allow her to travel around the world, living and recruiting in far-flung places such as Georgia, whilst still ticking off bucket list items, such as walking through Moscow’s Red Square in the snow and swimming with dolphins in Bermuda. She even lived through a 5.5 magnitude earthquake whilst living in Tbilisi!
Susannah has recruited across every sector you could think of, at every level from graduate roles to C-Suite and Executive. Finance, FinTech, Engineering, Construction. Manufacturing… the list goes on and on.
“Key highlights for me have been an 80-vacancy project in Ireland, a 20-vacancy project in United Arab Emirates, and most recently a 12-vacancy project for a pharmaceutical company in West Yorkshire. I love helping a business’s enable change by building strong teams.”
And do you have any strange tales from your career?
“I once had a candidate accept a role, but later decided that he didn’t want to take it. Rather than call me to tell me, so that I could let the client know, he went so far as to fake his own death on the morning he was due to start, pretending to be somebody else calling me to tell me! I have to say, that was a new one on me and has not been repeated since, thank goodness!”
So, how did Susannah end up at We Are Adam?
“In over 20 years, I’d done it all. I’ve always worked in agency from boutique to large global recruitment, done high volume consultative recruitment, managed teams… all of it. And when you’ve done everything, you begin to gravitate towards the things you like and enjoy the most. That’s what drew me to We Are Adam.”
Recruitment can get a pretty bad reputation as a career that eats up and spits out workers relentlessly. This reputation was the entire reason that the We Are Adam brand was born – to do recruitment differently, to be human, and to care about our people. That ethos really connected with Susannah.
“I love marketing recruitment and the wide variety of people and roles. I have a role now where I get to focus on the things I love about recruitment – the leadership team here listened to what I like about recruitment and where my strengths lie, and then worked with me to tailor a role so that I can be as successful as possible and focus on the things I do best!”
Susannah now recruits for a wide variety of roles within the marketing industry, taking a holistic approach to recruitment and getting to know both her clients and candidates incredibly well. One day she might be recruiting a Marketing Executive for an international manufacturing firm, and the next a Product Director for a nationwide eCommerce giant – and she loves both equally!
“The variety really helps keep things interesting!” She says.
What are your tips for employers when it comes to recruitment?
Having seen it all before, Susannah is experienced in tackling challenging recruitment projects, and it’s safe to say she’s learnt a trick or two in her 26 years recruiting! We asked her to share her biggest tips for employers when it comes time for them to hire.
1. Present the role well
“Good candidates are really not interested in a long list of responsibilities and requirements – you’ll just put them off. Where does this role sit within the team? What will their day-to-day look like? What development opportunities are there?”
2. Why should they come and work for you?
“Remember that the recruitment process is a two-way street, and potential employees are screening you just as you are screening them. Give them the reasons why they should come work for you up front – what are your benefits like? What are the company values? What is the culture like? What is the flexibility in terms of working conditions? These things are as much a draw as the salary.”
3. A job advert is marketing, too
“It’s important to remember that a job ad is as much an advertisement for your business as a print ad for your services in a newspaper. Instead of trying to attract customers, you are trying to convince someone to trust you with their career.”
4. Put the salary in there
“It’s a hot topic in the business world at the moment, but businesses are slowly coming around. Not only do studies show that job adverts with a salary range receive more applications from better quality applicants, but I’ve also seen it time and time again with my own eyes!”
And do you have any other advice for employers?
“Every single candidate I have ever spoken to ultimately has the same underlying reason for leaving – even if their number one reason is dressed up or down. They left because they felt under-valued. Be this financially, developmentally, or from a lack of recognition, an under-valued workforce won’t be loyal to you or your business. The talent shortage isn’t going to improve any time soon, so look after your people.”
How do I get in a Recruiter’s good books?
It’s an oft-cited fact that Recruiter’s only spend an average of 8 seconds looking at each individual CV or application that they receive. So how are candidates supposed to make themselves stand out in such a short space of time? And is there anything else that you can do to increase your chances of landing an interview for your dream role?
1. Tailor your CV
“Yes, I know it’s time consuming! And if you’ve been ghosted before, it can sometimes feel like it isn’t worth the time – but I promise you, it is. If I can locate the key points that I am looking out for right away, that CV is likely to move to the top of my pile.”
2. Be clear and concise
“For similar reasons as above, make it clear, concise, and as easy to read as possible. Too many graphics, text that is too tiny, or an over-abundance of information can harm your chances. Before you submit a CV, take a step back and try and look at it through the eyes of someone who only has a few seconds to read it. Can you pick out the key points that would earmark you as a good candidate for the role? Keep it to two pages, three at a push.”
3. Be transparent with your Recruiter
“We’ve seen and heard it all before, and most of us have a natural sense for telling when a candidate is telling fibs or over-exaggerating the truth. The truth will always come out during the recruitment process, so it is best to be completely honest from the start – this can even put you on better footing with your Recruiter!”
4. Be prepared
“If we have a call booked with you, sending us a copy of your CV and any other relevant information beforehand is an easy way of getting in our good books – it saves us all time! Doing your research on the business, checking any tech for issues ahead of time, and due diligence will also put you in good stead.”
Any other advice for anyone who is considering engaging a recruiter to help them with their career?
“If you find a Recruiter that you connect with, and you feel you can be open and honest with – stick with them! Good recruiters can be like gold-dust, so even after you have found a role, stay in touch with them. Go out for a coffee or a glass of wine every now and again. You never know when you might need their help in a pinch again, and we will always bend over backwards to help you if you stayed in touch!”
Does a career as a Recruiter sound like your kind of challenge?
If you are a people-person who is passionate about having a positive effect on people’s lives, then you might just Recruiter material. It’s hard work, but it’s a job like no other.
What skills do you need to be a recruiter?
“You need to be resilient, it’s the number one key skill that you need. Whilst recruitment is an amazing career, just like life there are constant ups and downs, and you’ll need to be resilient to get through those down days.”
2. Love people
“You have to be a people-person to be a recruiter, as you spend all day talking to candidates, clients, and colleagues! Good recruiters see the value in every single person that they speak to, even if they are not right for the role.”
“Candidates are trusting you with their career – you can literally change their life, for better or for worse. Therefore, it’s really important to be able to empathise with their needs and wants. From the other side of it too, you also need to be able to empathise with your clients. This helps you learn where they need support, and what challenges they are facing when it comes to recruitment, and you can really get under the skin of the assignment. Throughout my career, it’s become very clear that the recruiters that have the best relationships and bill the most are those who have a holistic approach to recruitment and the people they engage with.”
4. Time management
“You have to juggle lots of phone calls, Teams calls, and catch up meetings as Recruiter, as well as somehow finding the time to headhunt and review CVs, so excellent time management skills are a must!”
To sum it all up…
26 years in Recruitment is a long time, and it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. But it’s safe to say that Susannah has had an exciting and varied career and is a born Recruitment Consultant!
“Some people see Recruitment as a numbers game. I refuse to. It’s not a numbers game at all – it’s about being human.”
We’re incredibly lucky here at We Are Adam that Susannah has brought her invaluable skills, knowledge and experience to our team!