Roisin Traynor, our Careers Editor speaks to Paul McClatchie, the Director of Engage People.

Recruiters usually work for an agency, this recruitment agency gets paid by their client i.e. the employers. The recruiters then match a job available with their candidates i.e. the people searching for a job. Due to this recruitment requires strong communication skills, as the ability to develop working relationships and communicate with people effectively is a major part of their role. They also need to have strong skills in sales and marketing. interviewed an experienced recruiter, Paul McClatchy, who is now a director of his own recruitment company Engage People (


Overview of the job?

A large percentage of the day is spent on the telephone initiating and developing relationships with both candidates and clients. Once a role has been secured a Recruiter will have to accurately match candidates to the vacancy. To do this they will need a thorough understanding of the client, their values and culture and the range of experience that they look for.

To achieve these goals, the day is often broken down into blocks of time where a Recruiter is either on the telephone making contact with clients or candidates, in face to face meetings, or managing their administration which could include writing advertisements, completing paperwork once a job has been filled, taking references and updating their recruitment database, etc.

What is the typical Culture of a recruiter?

It can be a hardworking, commercially driven and high-pressured environment and typically consists of hungry individuals who like to work hard and play hard and there is plenty of fun along the way. Long working hours are common to some, not least because interviewing candidates out of office hours may be necessary. Most recruitment environments are team-oriented and encourage camaraderie and a level of friendly competitiveness.

Skills & Education Requirements?

You will need to be self-motivated and committed to following things through from start to finish. You should demonstrate a level of self-belief and determination and a desire to succeed. The first six months are often the hardest and these competencies will be put to the test. Within most recruitment environments, you will initially be expected to “grow your desk” and develop your own business.

From an academic perspective, while no specific degree is essential, it is very useful to have an understanding of the sector in which you are recruiting. For example, a number of successful Recruiters in the Financial Services sector may have previously worked in roles in that arena but enjoy the day to day communication and autonomy offered by the Recruitment sector.

What progression routes exist?

Recruitment is a meritocratic industry – as a result promotions are more often than not based on over-achieving against set targets and demonstrating that you have developed strong relationships with both candidates and clients. However, it is not just about income generation, your contribution to team environment and the development of junior staff and new systems will also be taken into account.

Career paths differ from company to company; traditionally Recruiters typically moved into a people/staff-management position after 2 or 3 years of consistent billings. These days’ career paths have become far more diverse. Opportunities exist to mentor and coach new recruits at senior consultant level, to manage key accounts, to focus on business development solely and ultimately to be responsible for profit and loss of your own division or branch.

What Advice Would You Give to A Graduate Entering the Sector?

A career in recruitment won’t suit everybody. A high level of tenacity is required and the ability to keep positive when times are tough. Pressure can be high and you will need to be totally committed. However, it can give you early responsibility, high earnings potential and a level of status and reward that would be difficult to match in any other industry.

Pros of the job:

  • At the core of the sector we are helping people to achieve their career goals by placing candidates in desirable jobs. This has a big impact on their life

  • Huge level of autonomy on offer. Running a desk is similar to running a micro business and requires entrepreneurial flair.

  • If you are passionate about developing - you are likely to gain exceptional influencing and communication skills which are desirable in senior management roles in any sector.

  • If you are focussed and take pride in doing your job, there is huge fun to be had and most successful Recruiters love their career (most of the time)


  • There are a huge number of moving parts in a recruitment process and a process can grind to a sudden halt following months of work, which you won’t get paid for (we invoice on successful placement).

  • In permanent recruitment, every new month is a new challenge – a ‘clean slate’. In sports parlance, you are only as good as your last month so consistency is key.

  • Based on the sheer volume of conversations a successful recruiter has every day and the variety of challenges faced, a high level of resilience is required.

  • In terms of making a career choices, wants to let their readers know many ways in which people have made their career choice and how they ended up where they are today.


How did you make your career choice?

I did a thesis on how the internet was impacting traditional recruitment methods (in 2001). One of the companies I surveyed was Reed (a big UK Recruiter). They offered me a job and off I went!

What motivated you to continue?

I didn’t know much about the sector at the time but I quickly learned and enjoyed dealing with the people side. Once I made my first placement, there was no looking back.

Did anyone help you with your decision?

My friend’s uncle was the Finance Director of Reed.

The moment of realisation.

It was probably about 18 months in when a fantastic new person joined who had a lot of experience. She had come over from Australia where she had worked for several years in the sector and I learned a huge amount from her in terms of approach and attitude.


After a couple of years, I became a team lead and slowly started to take on more responsibility. In my previous role before setting up Engage People, I led a team of 20 Financial & Legal Recruiters.

Interested in gaining more experience in the recruitment sector? Engage People are offering some Internship opportunities in the months to come.

For more information contact:

Paul McClatchie

Director, Engage People

66 Camden St. Lower, Dublin 2

+353 87 656 8710