Personnel Consultant Career Description
There are two types of personnel consultants. The one specializes in the placement of candidates in permanent positions and the other in placing temporary workers.
Permanent placement personnel consultants' main task is to recruit suitable candidates for job vacancies on behalf of employers. If possible, they also try to find suitable jobs for jobseekers, but this is not their primary task.
Temporary personnel consultants specialize in finding suitable candidates to fill temporary positions for companies when their permanent staff are on vacation or sick-leave, for particular projects or when a company requires additional staff on a short-term basis, such as at financial year-ends.
What am I going to do in this occupation?
Personnel consultants are mediators between employers and job seekers. Since the employers remunerate the personnel agency or consultancy, personnel consultants' first priority is to find a suitable employee for the employer. The consultants' reputations and salaries will depend upon their finding the most suitable candidate for a vacancy.
After a job order to fill a vacancy has been received from an employer, personnel consultants start the process of selecting suitable candidates. Candidates are recruited through newspaper advertisements, recommendations by other candidates and from those persons who contact the personnel agency to see whether there is any suitable job vacancies. The personnel consultants then interview the suitable candidates in order to obtain the necessary information to compile a curriculum vitae (C.V.) for the candidate. A C.V. is a summary of the person's personal information, education and training, employment history and references. The personnel consultants conduct skills tests or send the candidates for psychological tests to determine their potential skills. They also have to contact the referees in order to see if the person is suitable for the vacancy.
At the employer's request, the personnel consultants then arrange a meeting between the employer and the candidate. When the employer decides to employ one of the candidates, the personnel consultants assist both the employer and the candidate with such details as starting date, salary level, other conditions of service and the letter of appointment. Once all these details have been completed and the candidate starts employment with the employer, the personnel consultants are paid the applicable fees by the employer.
In addition to the above tasks, the personnel consultant must keep detailed administrative records. These are required for various reasons, one being to enable the consultants to gauge the type of response obtained from a particular advertisement so as to identify the best media to use for future advertising. Another would be to enable them to provide the statistics requested by the Department of Labour on the number and type of placements they have made during the year.
The temporary placement personnel consultants need to keep records on candidates available for temporary assignments, what skills they can offer and when and where they are available for work. The consultants are also considered the employer of the temporary worker, so they have to keep records of the hours worked, in order to pay the temporary worker for work done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, pay the worker's income tax to the Receiver of Revenue, etc. The temporary employer pays the personnel consultants for the hours worked by the temporary worker.
What kind of personality do I need? Successful personnel consultants have to be able to communicate well, should enjoy working with people and must be able to negotiate well. Most personnel agencies and consultancies prefer to employ consultants above the age of 25, who already have work experience in the field in which they will be consulting.
Where can I work?
Personnel consultants work at personnel agencies and specialize in permanent or temporary placement. Most personnel agencies place people in office support positions such as secretaries, clerks, bookkeepers etc., but others specialize in fields such as the hotel industry, the mining industry, the insurance industry and the placement of professional and executive people.
Can I work for myself in this occupation?
Experienced personnel consultants can start their own business and may eventually employ other personnel consultants.