My career in recruitment… Aisling Ward

We were lucky enough to catch up with Aisling Ward, team leader at Russell Taylor, about her life in the industry and what keeps her hooked on recruitment. Keep reading to find out what she had to say…


Can you start off by telling us about your role and how long you have been working in this position?

I have been working as the Team Leader for the Construction Management division for Russell Taylor for one year, and prior to this I worked my way up from Trainee to a Senior Consultant over three years with another national recruitment firm.

Do you have a favourite part about working in recruitment? 

Without a doubt, making that phone call to tell a candidate that they have been successful and were offered the job! Sometimes you are completely changing someone’s life for the better – whether they have been working away from home and now get the opportunity to spend time with their family or whether they have been made redundant and were worried about paying the bills. You are helping people with a massive milestone when they change jobs and their reactions can be fantastic – I feel it is such a rewarding moment for the both of us.

Any downsides to working in recruitment you can share?

Working with people can be the best bit of the job but also the worst. It can be heart-breaking to spend countless hours working with someone to secure them the perfect position to eventually be let down. But, like anything, you will always have ups and downs and it is how you recover from them that makes you the better recruiter.

Have you always been a recruiter or are you a career changer?

Like many I sort of fell into recruitment. I was moving to Liverpool from Ireland and was offered a job as a Trainee Consultant with a large recruitment agency. At the time I honestly thought I would do this for a few months and then find work within the field that I trained in whilst at university. After a few weeks it was clear I was going nowhere – I loved recruitment and couldn’t imagine doing anything else!

Do you have any career highlights or most memorable career experiences?

I have both! My career highlight (so far) was being nominated as the Best Trainee Consultant in the UK and Ireland whilst in my first year working with my previous company. This certainly gave me a boost of confidence and motivation to continue a successful career in recruitment.

The most memorable experience to date has been very recent – winning a spot on a company incentive trip to Portugal from Russell Taylor for being one of the top performers in Sales; this was so much fun and a really rewarding experience for all of us, the incentive made all of Sales incredibly motivated in the run-up and it meant the four day break was all the more enjoyable knowing I had worked hard and earned my ticket!

You’ve been in recruitment for some time, what keeps you motivated?

I am quite competitive so I feel recruitment really suits my personality as I am motivated by wanting to perform to a high level constantly, so I am always pushing myself to improve and learn. It’s important to take the time to relax and work life must always be balanced in order to stay healthy, but I really love my job and this makes it so much easier for me to strive to better myself. I am certain that my mind-set and passion for the industry I am in will take me to where I want to be in my career.

Are you working towards any specific career aspirations?

Short term aspirations are to run a successful desk, building up a team of great recruiters and becoming Divisional Manager of a specialist sector within Construction Management. I have plenty of support at Russell Taylor, and fantastic role models in the way of the current Divisional Managers, so this is totally achievable for me (which makes me all the more excited and motivated).

When speaking long term, I would look to become office/region manager of sales in under 5 years.

If you could change one thing about recruitment, what would it be?

100%, the way recruiters are perceived. There is so much “recruiter bashing” that occurs and I personally think it is unfair; I genuinely care about my candidates lives and have always taken the approach of treating people how I would like a member of my family to be treated if they were in the same situation.

Would you recommend recruitment to others?

Definitely! It is certainly not for everyone, but at the end of the day, if you don’t give it a try then you will never know. It can be a very rewarding job in terms of personal goals and satisfaction, and then you have the knowledge that when you succeed you have also helped someone to get a job that they needed, allowing them the opportunity to achieve their goals and so on. It is like being part of a much wider community than you may initially expect, with consultants, candidates and clients all working and supporting and growing together.

That’s great to hear! What advice would you give someone starting out in recruitment?

It can be the hardest job to start as literally everything is new to you – sectors, clients, candidates, systems, etc. My advice is to really stick with it and keep working as it does get easier. You get out what you put into it so if you work hard and can be resilient to the setbacks you face on the way, it has the potential to be an amazing career path.

Start your own career in recruitment

If you’d like to follow Aisling ‘s steps and pursue a career in recruitment check out the IRP’s career pages for information about how and why you should join the industry.

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