Career as a recruitment officer

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Sophie Potter is a recruitment officer for the Fire and Rescue Service. She manages a team of people, who are responsible for recruiting uniformed firefighters and fire control operators as well as organising recruitment advertising for support staff.

What does your job involve?

My role involves looking at the way we recruit and select staff. This involves working closely with the community to encourage people to consider a career as a fire fighter – specifically, we want to focus on people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to apply.

I also oversee the testing of candidates in the selection process for fire fighters. This involves working outdoors and assessing them as they roll out hoses and climb ladders.

Do you have a typical day?

It is a mix. Some of my work is based in the office, some involves going out into the community and some is based outside when fire fighter testing is undertaken.

What equipment do you use to do your job?

It is important to be computer literate so I have a good working knowledge of the main word processing, database and spreadsheet programs. I use word processing for producing documents and reports, spreadsheets for budgets and statistics and databases for tracking fire fighter applicants. Also, I use a presentation program for producing information to illustrate recruitment talks I give to organisations.

What was your route into this job?

Beforehand, I was branch manager for a recruitment agency, having started there as a receptionist. I had begun studying for my Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualification and decided that I wanted to work in human resources within a large organisation.

Why did you choose this career as a recruitment officer?

Working in recruitment and human resources means your efforts have a direct impact on people. The decisions we make will determine whether someone has the opportunity to start a new career or job.

What training have you had for your current role?

I started with an induction course which involved looking at how the different departments worked such as equality and diversity; health and safety and pensions. This gave me the opportunity to gain an understanding of the structure of the organisation.

What hours do you work?

An average of 36.5 hours per week on a flexible working scheme.

What are the skills and qualities needed?

You need to have experience of recruitment and selection practices and procedures, a good knowledge of employment law and an awareness of equality and diversity issues. Supervisory experience is necessary for my particular role. You need to be hard-working, determined, flexible, creative and organised.

Sophie's route to her career as a recruitment officer

  • GCSEs.
  • A Levels.
  • Final year studying for CIPD qualifications.

Sophie's tips

  • Be prepared to start in a clerical or administrative role within a personnel department.
  • Make sure that you have the basics, in particular the IT skills, as these are the tools that allow you to carry out the role on a day to day basis.

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Salary as a recruitment officer

  • Recruitment officers earn between £22,000 and £24,000.
  • Those with CIPD qualifications can command larger salaries.

Getting in

  • There are no minimum qualifications and it is possible to start in a junior role and take advantage of in-house training. However, some good GCSE/S grades, including English and maths, are advantageous.
  • NVQs/SVQs are available in Personnel Support at Level 3, Personnel Management at Level 4 and Personnel Strategy at Level 5.
  • Most recruitment and human resources personnel are encouraged to work towards CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) qualifications such as Certificate in Personnel Practice, Certificate in Recruitment and Selection and the Professional Development Scheme.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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