Q&A With Senior Recruitment Account Manager, Grant Baker
Interested in finding out more about the world of IT recruitment? I’ve sat down with a number of individuals at VIQU to explore what a career in recruitment can look like.
First up is VIQU’s Senior Recruitment Account Manager, Grant Baker, who’s been in the recruitment business for nearly 14 years and was recently awarded ‘Best Contractor Recruiter’ at the 2023 Contracting Awards.
Q: What were you doing before recruitment?
Grant: I went to the University of Birmingham and studied Law. Initially, I wanted to be a Sports Agent. I used to be an athlete as a teenager and wanted to represent sports talent, and at the time, you had to have a law degree to pursue that path. The law changed and soon I was disillusioned with that career and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after university. I applied to lots of places and a recruitment agency offered me a job. I went for it, and I haven’t looked back since!
Q: What were your initial opinions of recruitment and have they changed?
Grant: Going into recruitment, I had no clue about the industry. I used recruitment agencies when I was younger for odd jobs, but I had no clue how they made their money. I thought recruitment agencies were just government-funded initiatives to help people find jobs. How wrong I was! I didn’t realise that it was a whole industry with specialist agencies working at different levels of recruitment from hiring entry-level jobs to recruiting CEOs.
I remember a quote from a film that was something along the lines of – “The art of good business, is being a good middleman”. Recruiters are often middlemen – great middlemen – but they are what helps make businesses succeed.
Q: What has kept you interested in recruitment as a career?
Grant: Recruitment is a career you can always get more out of. Through building your desk and working with more clients, you’re always progressing. There’s always more to do and achieve. Being a recruitment account manager can be rollercoaster of experiences but it’s worth it.
Q: Why did you choose VIQU?
Grant: I had worked at an IT recruitment agency for about 9 years as a 360 recruitment consultant, and I’d moved to another agency a short time before to do the same sort of role. But I really wanted to be a recruitment account manager. My colleagues were constantly finding new clients to do business with, but I had always preferred working with just a few clients and really building a deeper connection with them. I had an interview with Mike McEvoy, who was in charge of VIQU’s key accounts team, and the recruitment account manager role he was offering sounded too good to be true – but it’s worked out exactly as he described!
Q: What does your current role look like now?
Grant: So I am a Senior Recruitment Account Manager. That means I manage our relationship with one of our key accounts. This includes liaising with their customers and other significant stakeholders regarding our services and solutions and working with them to help benefit us both.
I have to think on my feet a lot. Often, I’m asked to fill roles I have lots of experience with and sometimes it’s a new niche that I need to quickly get myself up to speed with, so I can resource the right candidates. The core recruitment skills of asking questions, managing processes, and strong communication are always there, but often you have to change your approach depending on the client and their requirements.
I also work with our back office team to ensure smooth business processes, invoicing, and compliancy. My day-to-day work is definitely varied!
Q: What have been your career highlights so far?
Grant: Definitely winning Best Contractor Recruiter at the 2023 Contracting Awards. By far that has been the best highlight. I didn’t expect to win at all, so it was amazing when I was chosen. The judges were from senior leadership positions across the recruitment industry, so I was really humbled that they chose me.
On a smaller level, I’ve had some great times at VIQU. I’ve won internal awards, been promoted, and gained increasingly more responsibility and respect. I feel like they trust me to do my job well and I really appreciate that.
We’ve also gone on fantastic conferences away to Dubai and to Marbella – really amazing places. Although I was gutted I joined VIQU too late in 2019 to attend the conference in Rio – it looked incredible!
Q: Any tips for anyone wanting to join recruitment?
- You have to be resilient. You could be doing everything right, work so hard and fail. A lot of your attempts won’t work out and sometimes it feels like despite doing lots of work you’re not getting anywhere. However, when it does go right, it’s great and such a fantastic achievement. But you need to be resilient to get through the hard times.
- Being results and target driven really helps. You won’t get the most out of your career if you just coast. If you keep pushing to go for bigger and be creative in doing what you can to reach your targets, it really helps.
- Be realistic. When you start your career in recruitment, some people and recruitment companies will tell you that you will earn ridiculous amounts of money, and be gifted Porches and Rolexes blah blah blah. Some companies will offer you the world. And whilst recruiting can earn you big money, that won’t be everyone’s experience. Even as an experienced recruiter, I was always cautious in my interviews for new roles as recruiters are great salespeople. With VIQU, they didn’t try to tell me that I’d be rich within my first month. But what they did offer is real and it is great.
If you’re looking to either kickstart your career in recruitment or grow it to the next level, check out our latest internal opportunities here.
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