OPINION PIECE: My Journey in Recruitment

By: Carla Chamberlain

I’ve been with Oyster since 2015, after five years as a successful group exercise instructor and personal trainer. I decided to make the change to recruitment and move to the city for the opportunity to earn more money and gain experience in a corporate environment. I have recently been promoted to a Senior Recruitment Consultant and I wanted to share my key steps to success learnt first-hand here at Oyster.

Step One – Trust the process
Just like you would if you were on a diet, you have to trust the process. Will you lose weight in the first week? No. Will you see life changing results in recruitment in the first month or three months? Well, probably not and if you’re anything like me it will probably take you longer! Luckily for me, even nine months down the line when I hadn’t made a penny in commission and the next batch of newbies had started coming through the door and passing probation before me (*cries*) I still had a strong and encouraging support network behind me.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded and nurtured by not only very experienced but incredibly passionate people. People who believed in me and provided all the tools I needed to create my own path and start making progress.

So – you work hard, you persevere, you repeat, you work hard, you persevere, you repeat, and guess what? You get results!

Step Two – Positive mind, positive life
I call it champagne and razor blades. In one moment your candidate is being offered the job of his dreams – you’re day dreaming about that trip to Dubai you’ve always fancied – and the next someone else is cancelling their four interviews because their nans’ cat has died. Well, that’s life and you really have got to keep it positive. You never know what’s around the corner in this game and things move quickly, so keeping a positive level head is key.

Ride the highs and push away the lows. Positivity breeds…

Step Three – Commit to your own success
They will tell you – ‘your first year will be the hardest year’, ‘all those relationships and all of that ground work you’re putting in now will pay off’, ‘get out what you put in’… all of which categorically true.

It’s a question of how much you really want something. For me, I moved three hours away from my home, friends and changed career so there was no option for me but to put in my every effort to make it work.

I did start early and finish late – all the usual stuff – it really is the case that you get out as much as you put in. I can honestly tell you that there is nothing more satisfying than looking back at how far you’ve come!

Step Four – Talk to everyone/stay in touch
It’s a small world. Make time for everyone, talk to everyone and be kind to everyone. You never know who knows who. You will never know who is going to be who’s boss or colleague or manager and in this game a good reputation will take you a long way. Make the effort to call people back every time, make sure you are giving feedback and providing as much transparency as possible.

As much as we’d like to place everyone we work with unfortunately that is never going to be the case. Some of my placements have come from referrals from people I haven’t been able to place, and even people who I’ve never even worked with but we’ve kept in touch, and they will give my name to their unhappy colleagues.

Let’s be fair, there are a lot of agencies recruiting the same thing and when it does come to the time when someone does want to make a move, who are they going to call?

Step Five – Have the confidence to be honest
In a tough market I believe it goes a long way to be honest with your clients and candidates. Don’t over promise! If you’re assigned a position which is proving a difficult one, the candidates just aren’t out there then you need to be honest with your client. You’ll earn their trust and respect by keeping them in the loop at all stages – even when it isn’t the good news you’d like to give them.

It’s the same way with candidates. I believe I have built the best relationships by giving my candidates an honest review of the types of roles I have live and in general the way I work. They then know what to expect and hopefully, keeps them comfortable through the whole process.

Like to old saying goes, treat people how you would like to be treated yourself.


If you’re thinking about a career in recruitment, it is definitely an industry where you can clearly pave your future using your own two hands. There are ultimately no glass ceilings, only a clear progression path that you’re explained on day one. What people don’t realise is you do need to keep working through the challenges using a level of determination you may not have used before. At Oyster, the team were honest with me from the start about what was required, they took the time to understand who I was and what I wanted to ensure it was the right move for both of us.

If you’re interested to learn more about recruitment at Oyster, log your details here and our Talent Manager, Hannah Clarke, will give you a call for an informal chat.

If you’d like to get in touch further with me directly you can find me on LinkedIn, or call 020 7766 9000.