Should I join a recruitment consultancy?

I
have worked in HR for two years.  As I
have mainly dealt with recruitment in that time, I want a career as a
resourcing specialist. I was recently promoted and have since discovered that
this wasn’t a good move, as I now have no exposure to resourcing any more.  As there are not many resourcing officer
roles around at the moment, and the ones that are, I am not experienced enough
for – I am considering trying recruitment consultancy as a short term
initiative (say 12 months) to broaden my experience in the area. But I am
concerned that such a move will have a detrimental effect on my HR career, as
not everyone sees the value of consultants. 
I am in the middle of my CIPD qualifications via an MA in HRM.  What do you think?

Vic
Daniels, director at Carr Lyons, writes:

Working
in recruitment is the best job in the world when things are going well, but the
worst job when things are going badly. Take a long look at the economic
situation before you make the plunge – believe me, things have been better! to
be successful you will need to be professional, articulate, full of energy,
work well under your own initiative and extremely self- motivated. Good luck!

Margaret
Malpas, joint managing director at Malpas Flexible Learning, writes:

I
think I would try to plan out what competencies I would need for my future
career aspirations and from this decide what to go after next. Recruitment
consultancy can be as much about sales as resourcing.  So if you think
that your future career will include both sets of skills this would potentially
be a good move.  The other thing to think about is how different
the terms of employment are likely to be.  It is usual for recruitment
posts to be paid on a mix of basic salary and on top earnings.  If you are
good at sales, you could find that you are earning a very good salary and, of
course, the converse is true!  However, will you be comfortable with this
change and will you find it easy to go back to all basic salary at a later date?

Linda
Aitken, consultant at Chiumento Consulting Group, writes:

Moving
into consultancy with a view to returning to a role within a mainstream
business is not necessarily a problem as it can enhance your skills and
experience in your chosen field. 
Indicators of what makes a good employer in this field include the
amount they invest in training their consultants and the longevity and quality
of their client list – look for client retention and values, expressed in such
things as the "off limits" policy and the background of your future
colleagues.

In
terms of getting back into the corporate field, the quality of the particular
consultancy experience will have a considerable beating – in brief, a
consultancy which gives you a breadth of experience, e.g. of international
resourcing or of achieving results in a tight recruitment market through the
quality of its approach will provide you with a range of skills which will
stand you in good stead in terms of a return to the corporate world.

Overall,
however, you do need to be committed to consultancy over a longer period of
time – you may wish to consider completing your CIPD qualifications and then
take stock as you may wish to progress your career more before taking what will
be a pretty large step.

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