From the melee of the market stall to placing candidates in high-flying IT roles, life's always on the up from market-trader-turned-recruiter, Lois Hinken (22). She took the time to talk to us about how her experience in the cut throat world of the market has helped her in the world of global talent acquisition. As a 360 recruitment consultant for Montash, her negotiation skills and "go get it" attitude have helped her thrive.
"I started working on the market when I was 18. My friend and I were desperate to earn money. She had some knowledge of fashion and I was good at selling, so we teamed up. We saved up some money and went down to the wholesalers and stocked up on clothes. Then we got up early and hit the market.
"Back then we had no idea about Public Liability Insurance or any of that, but the people at the market were really helpful. So the next week we went down and started selling. To be honest, it took off really quickly! My friend's contacts allowed us to undercut people on price, so we were perfectly positioned to sell. We started at the end of September and by Christmas, we were so busy, it was crazy! Leopard print tracksuits were selling like hot cakes!
"My first job in recruitment was as a Healthcare Resourcer. I had some friends who worked in recruitment who said I would be a good fit for it. I didn't know anything about it, but I knew there was money to be made.
"The shouting and competition of working as a market trader really helps in recruitment, I think you need a 'go get it' attitude and you can't have any fear of talking to people, whether face-to-face on the stall or on the phone in the office. There's the negotiation too. When you're working with clients you have a budget, but you get to work the margin. You get to balance maybe being cheeky and getting a good deal for the client against going in high and securing the role. You need to feel out the situation.
"People who work in healthcare don't get paid anywhere near as much as some of the big IT roles I'm filling today. So I decided to move up and now I work at Montash, as a 360 Recruitment Consultant, I'm talking to people every day. I'm gathering leads, whether that's through LinkedIn or chatting with clients. When I hear that one of our clients has a new product, I like to talk to the employees rather than the managers. They know what's going on and what their needs really are. I like to get to know the clients. That's how you know how best to serve the needs of both employees and candidates.
"Then it's all about trying to sell a candidate over the phone. That's one of the big differences between what I do now and selling down the market. Especially with new clients when you don't really know what they're looking for, it can be tough to sell to a person over the phone. You can't show them the product, like the clothes on the market or react to their body language.
"The key to success is building and maintaining those relationships. A lot of the people who are making those decisions are so busy, it can be really tough to get hold of them. So it's important to not give in lightly.
"The thing I love best about my job is that I'm learning so much every day. You learn so much about the clients when you really get to know them and discover all the products they sell and services they provide.
"One of the other things I love about this job is how social it is, both on and off the clock. A lot of the people I work with are all quite young, so it's a great environment and we go down the pub after work. Besides that, outside of work I do kickboxing. I'm pretty busy these days, but when I can get down the gym, that's one of the ways I like to unwind.
"If I was to give advice to someone looking to get into this line of work, I'd say: think it, do it. This business isn't for everyone, but if it's for you, you can really reap the rewards. Take the bull by the horn because you've nothing to lose."