What are the most important tasks of a personnel consultant?
Personnel consultants have two main tasks.
On the one hand, customer service. Personnel consultants help companies to find suitable employees for their vacancies. They take over the complete personnel search and must assess professionally as well as personally whether an applicant is suitable for the job of the customer. The search for employees for the client includes the following tasks:
- Briefing interviews with clients
- Creation of job advertisements
- Actively approaching candidates on social media
- Conducting initial interviews with applicants
- Pre-selection of candidates and presentation to the client
- Coordination of appointments between clients and candidates
- Ongoing project management
The second side is applicant support. This involves advising job seekers and helping them to find a suitable position. This includes the following areas:
- Ongoing support of applicants during the application and recruiting process
- Conducting general counseling interviews regarding career prospects
- Active sending of job offers
- Advice on decisions
How does one become a personnel consultant?
The training to become a personnel consultant can be done in different ways. Here are the 3 typical paths:
The economic training: Many personnel consultants have completed an economic study (e.g. BWL, an Austrian qualification) or have a commercial training coupled with HR focus.
The psychological side: Since personnel consulting is based to a very large extent on knowledge of human nature, a degree in psychology or business psychology is also very suitable for the profession.
Entry into HR consulting through an internship or traineeship: Many young professionals start their career in HR consulting on the basis of an internship or traineeship, in order to develop further over time to become an HR consultant.
What skills and knowledge are important for the job?
A personnel consultant is usually a professional expert in a specific field (finance, technology, real estate, marketing, etc.). This professional knowledge, coupled with a high level of social competence, makes it possible to understand the requirements of a position and, based on this, to find the perfect person to fill a job.
In addition, recruiters should possess communication skills in order to be able to smoothly make written and oral presentations to clients.
A useful addition to the skills of a recruiter is a good knowledge of employment law.
What are the most important qualities and personality traits of HR consultants?
In the work of personnel consultants, the focus is always on the individual. Therefore, it is important to have the following soft skills:
- Good knowledge of human nature
- Affinity for working with people
- Communication skills
- High quality standards for one's own working methods
- Ability to empathize
- Analytical skills
- Stress resistance
One of the most important characteristics of personnel consultants is a certain openness. In this profession, you have to deal with many different personalities - from young graduates to the CEO of a large corporation. As a personnel consultant, you have to be able to adjust to your counterpart and put yourself in the other person's shoes.
In HR consulting, it is important to never be biased and to occasionally put your own views aside when it comes to achieving the perfect match between client and candidate.
Clemens Riebl, Personnel Consultant
What are the challenges in the profession?
There is no standing still in personnel consulting. It is often very stressful, quieter times are rare. However, with a stress-resistant personality and a motivated way of working, you can master these challenges very well.
And: Recruiters must always stay on the ball in terms of finding candidates, even when a search seems difficult.
Even your own bias and personal views sometimes have to be ignored in the recruiting process - after all, you're looking for a suitable connection between candidate and client, not for yourself ;)
What working conditions and environments are typical for this profession?
Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the working conditions of HR consultants - as in many other professions - have shifted. Prior to March 2020, home working was not an option due to the large number of face-to-face interviews. However, since the pandemic, MS teams, Skype or Zoom interviews have become more and more common, and so has the home office option for recruiters.
The large number of interviews is also the reason why recruiters often work until after 18:00. Applicants who are in a permanent employment relationship need marginal appointments for their interviews, consultants adjust to this.
However, that doesn't mean you work non-stop in the profession. Some days you stay longer, some days you work shorter - flexible scheduling is usually possible.
How important is continuing education and training?
The central competence of personnel consultants is their knowledge of human nature and their interpersonal strengths. Therefore, further education and training are less common than in other professions. Those who are socially competent are and usually remain so.
One can, of course, still deepen one's additional knowledge. Updates in labor law issues are definitely useful.
If one is a specialist in teaching a particular area - such as finance, technology, real estate or marketing - it is advisable to stay current in that field and attend update training courses. This is especially true for the IT specialty.
What are the prospects for the profession?
Personnel consultants start as juniors and grow to become senior consultants. Often, you will develop into a team leader and have personnel responsibility for a team of assistants.
Senior consultants are usually assigned the higher-paid (management) positions, while juniors tend to be in charge of entry-level positions. This is mainly because consultants grow with their experience and it makes sense to supervise them at the same level as the position they are looking for.
What salary can one expect in this profession?
The salary prospects of the profession are very good and gradually increase with experience. Personnel consultancies usually have a performance-based bonus model, which means that consultants are in control of their own earnings.
Performance and effort are therefore worthwhile!
What other resources or information can help me explore this profession?
You can get information about the profession of HR consultant at educational institutions that focus on HR - such as WU or FH Wiener Neustadt.
Our advice to future HR consultants?
As an HR consultant, you will have to deal with an unbelievable number of people, both on the company side and on the candidate side. Make the most of each of these encounters and always stay in good contact - even if you don't have a suitable position for an applicant or a suitable candidate for an open position in a company at the moment. You always see each other twice in life and you never know what a well maintained contact will bring you later on.
Our tip: Maintain your network of contacts with companies and applicants. You never know where you will meet again and what opportunities may open up.
Clemens Riebl, Personnel Consultant