When arranging a meeting with a recruitment consultant or a careers coach, the question is often posed “is there a difference?” and if so “what is the difference?”.
After spending the past 20 years as a recruiter and learning through a practical approach about jobs and recruitment, in 2018 I embarked on a four-year MA journey to learn more about the wider world of careers and stepped into the careers coaching field. I will be honest, when I started at the University of Warwick, I thought I would be adding the theories to the practical careers work that I already do, and that is true, but it has also turned my world a little upside down.
The job of a recruitment consultant is slightly varied but the general expectation when meeting a recruiter is to meet an industry expert. A recruiter who understands the job market you are searching in, a specialist who has real-time knowledge of the current availability of jobs, in the required location and sector, and be able to advise of salaries, packages and career development opportunities available with the various employers compatible with your skills. The recruiter may also be able to offer advice on writing your CV and preparation for an interview. So, what does a careers coach do? Here comes the “turning our jobs on its head” bit!
The above description of a recruiter is of someone feeding you information and directing you to jobs which are available and deemed suitable from your request. A careers coach will first and foremost not give you information. In an alternative approach, they will help you to examine your current career to date and then explore your options with you. This can immediately offer a challenge as the expectation when meeting a careers coach could be:
“You are being paid to give careers advice, I want you to tell me what the market is and what my options are”.
How do I identify if I need a recruiter or a careers coach?
What can I expect from a careers coach?
Careers coaching can be invaluable when:
In summary, when I am in recruiter mode, I offer more advice and guidance and get on and do! When I am coaching, I ask lots of questions, listen lots and aim to empower people to expose their brilliant ideas, because that’s what they are – their ideas, normally just hidden from their own view.