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Interview: Recruitment consultant to L&D professional

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​In the final installment of our series of articles on recruitment L&D based on our interview with Ben Browning of Resonant Recruitment Development, we discuss the consultant to recruitment L&D career path, including Ben's own journey, whether consultant experience is necessary to work in recruitment L&D, and Ben's advice to those who would like to make the switch.

Ben's journey

Before founding Resonant Recruitment Development, Ben had an extensive career in the recruitment industry. After spending 10 years working for various agencies, he moved into a Talent Advisor role at a large consultancy. This gave Ben the opportunity to experience recruitment processes and business development pitches from the client’s perspective. In his words, his time as a Talent Advisor “taught me just how big the gap between the need for good recruitment and the experience most clients get really is”. 

Click here for part 1: expert insight into recruitment L&D trends

After 5 years working in internal recruitment, Ben missed the agency environment, but had identified an important problem that he wanted to solve. He decided his next role needed “to focus on helping consultants better articulate the value they create for clients - whilst getting rewarded more fairly for their work”. So he moved into L&D at a large agency and began bringing the considerable knowledge he had accumulated through 15 years of recruitment work to bear on tackling this issue. 

Extensive experience and a keen sense of purpose equipped him well for this new role, and he threw himself into it. Very early on, he was given the opportunity to begin creating his own content, and found his ability to analyse processes from both the consultant and client perspectives useful in creating intuitive and effective content. 

After 3 years finetuning his L&D skills, Ben launched Resonant Recruitment Development last year. “Every step of the journey has been fantastic and I’ve been lucky enough to partner some incredible clients along the way including Camino Partners”, he says.

Experience as a consultant – prerequisite?

Contrary to popular belief and despite its importance in his own development, Ben does not think that it is necessary to have been a recruitment consultant to succeed in recruitment L&D. “Training recruiters is tough – it’s better to have really deep L&D skills than it is to have a background in recruitment”. He cites Barum Jeffries of Reclearn as “a great example of an exceptional talent development specialist without a recruiting background”. 

Click here for part 2: the relationship between L&D and business strategy

Astutely, Ben points out that “a lot of recruitment leaders believe recruitment training can be hit and miss but also follow the consensus that you have to have worked in recruitment to be a good trainer”. In his opinion, someone like Jeffries, whose “ability to engage and deliver impactful learning experiences to consultants at all levels is unparalleled in the industry”, shows that background is often unimportant when it comes to high-calibre recruitment L&D. 

Advice for those who want to make the switch

If you are seeking to move from a consultant role into L&D, however, Ben’s advice is twofold. Firstly, take advantage of the wealth of L&D content that already exists. “In my first training role I spent a lot of time travelling the country between our regional offices. I used that time to listen to podcasts and read books both around sales, influence, people leadership, coaching and occasionally recruitment too”, he says. Getting a solid grasp on L&D fundamentals will allow you to “start learning what makes you good at what you do”. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of your approach - “start breaking down your processes and analysing your own performance and it’ll really help you coach others”, Ben counsels. 

Ben’s second piece of advice is to “talk to your directors and business leaders”. Communicate your long-term plans and seek exposure to business strategy, their priorities, the challenges they face and what they are focusing on day-to-day. “The more of these conversations you can have at all levels the better armed you’ll be to support the leadership team in your role as an L&D professional”, Ben says.

Click here for insight into the future of marketing in recruitment

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