Why I don't ever regret falling into Recruitment

‘Why did you apply for this job? Why recruitment? What’s your understanding of what we do?’, asked the voice on the other end of the line. I was not prepared for this early morning phone interview, nor for her barrage of questions, especially since I had only applied the night before. 

As I fumbled my way through my answers, I was surprised and relieved when she invited me to a face to face interview for the position of a recruitment consultant. The night before, I had chanced upon a very well-written job advertisement by a new rec2rec company in Singapore. It made recruitment sound so sexy and appealing.

There’s travel, dining perks, networking with top honchos and good money to be made. And it didn’t require work experience!

For a young fresh graduate with limited options, it sounded almost too good to be true. 

The first time I met @Eleanor Ho was my first ever formal interview with a recruiter. She introduced me to the world of recruitment and what it really is about - it’s sales, not HR. Although I didn’t get the job with her company, what I learned from that experience helped me to secure multiple offers from several recruitment companies. I chose to go with a UK listed recruitment company called Sthree. They had ambitious expansion plans in Asia Pacific and the people I met seemed like they knew how to work hard and play hard. True to their values, it was a company full of energy, rapport, respect and reward. 

I’m not the first recruiter to say that I fell into recruitment by chance. I’d be lying if I said it was my dream job(which by the way was a Singapore Airlines air stewardess). But here’s why I’ll never regret falling into recruitment:

1. The people I meet and work with

I got to talk and meet with candidates and clients from all walks of life. Since I was recruiting recruiters for our offices across Asia and Australia, I was exposed to cultural differences and what makes different managers and nationalities tick. From the relentless dude who volunteered to work for free to the stalker candidate who knew every single thing about me, I have enough crazy stories to last me a lifetime. The sheer amount of people I crossed paths with really opened up my mind and my worldview, and honed my people skills. Not a day went by where I didn’t meet or talk to someone new. 

My colleagues in all the recruitment companies I worked for were(and are) amazing to work with. We laughed, bantered, gossiped, cried and went through the high and low seasons of life together. You know who you are. :)

One of my managers used to make me do crazy things like shouting our team chant out loud in the middle of a classy bar, and doing belly farts on our best clients. I have the pictures to prove it. Yes, I'm talking about you @Zoe Brent and @Rose Mengi, thanks for doing the crazy G-swing ride with me in Clark Quay despite your fear of heights. My managers believed in me, invested in my development and pushed me to be better than yesterday. Thanks @Stuart Clark and @Jay Patel. And if you haven’t chanced upon any of my current boss @Adrian Carty’s Linkedin posts, you’re missing out on a good dose of Irish humour. 

2. The money and the perks

According to this website(, the highest paying position for a fresh graduate is $2813. I guess that has not changed much since I graduated. If you’re a decent recruiter, you’ll definitely make more than this. If you’re a great recruiter, you will make way more than your peers. I know of colleagues who managed to pay off their tuition debt in a record amount of time, and even some who bought a house with their commissions. Boy, am I glad I didn’t pursue the law degree that my dad wanted me to do. Besides the paycheque, recruitment also gave me lots of other cool experiences. 

  • Fine dining at Michelin star restaurants. Check.
  • Training in London and a week off afterward to explore Europe. Check. 
  • All expenses paid trip to various places in 5 different countries in Asia Pacific. Check. 
  • Fun bonding activities like karaoke and go karting. Check.
  • Appreciation from candidates whose lives changed for the better because of you. Priceless. 

3. The one skill that will serve me for life

Recruitment is sales, and possibly even harder than sales. Not every sales person would make a good recruiter, but every good recruiter needs to be a good salesperson. Your success in what you do in life is largely determined by your influencing skills. I’ve used my recruitment skills in almost every area of my life - recruiting my ex colleagues for spontaneous holiday trips(@Calista Lai and @Stacey Huang), recruiting volunteers for a Christian organisation whose cause I am passionate about, and even recruiting my best friend @Shamane Tan to move to a different continent with me. I also got a once in a lifetime opportunity job travelling the world on a cruise ship(that I didn’t meet the requirements for) thanks to this skill! 

4. The job which I can do from anywhere in the world 

I’ve lived and worked in different cities as a recruiter, and have recently moved to Perth. My current job only requires a laptop, a mobile phone and good coffee. I now have a home office with an amazing ocean view, and I can work from anywhere and anytime. Anyone up for a coffee?

Not many jobs are transferable across countries and sectors. The typical ones would be technical roles such as nurses, engineers and accountants. Even then, you might still need to sit for skilled assessment tests or apply for new licenses. With recruitment, you can get employer sponsorship and working visas if you’re the right fit. You stand a pretty good chance if you have a degree and sufficient experience with a proven track record as a 360 recruiter, and if the company likes you. It would definitely be much easier and safer going through a rec2rec, especially one with experience relocating recruiters(yes, that was a shameless plug, feel free to get in touch with me for an exploratory chat). 

5. The doors it has opened for me

I have always enjoyed training and developing people. I first got a taste of training rookie recruiters how to use Linkedin and mentoring interns in my first company. After moving to Australia, I got to start a career coaching company with Eleanor, the first female interviewer who rejected me for that job. Yes, I used my networking skills which I learned from recruitment and shamelessly got back in touch with her. One thing led to another, and I ended up working with her to launch a job hunting bootcamp for graduates and early career professionals. Using our insider knowledge of what employers want, we have successfully coached hundreds of graduates in Australia to nail their first jobs. I guess those countless hours of screening resumes until my eyes almost bled and interviewing candidates until I didn’t want to talk to anyone else paid off. Without my recruitment experience, I would not have been able to get into career coaching. After all, it's hard to coach someone in something you don't have experience in.

A recruitment career is often described as a roller coaster ride, but the highs are worth the lows. And when you are working with the right people, in the right place and in the right timing for your specialisation, then you’re in a recruitment sweet spot.

If any of these are not in place, you’re probably dragging your feet to work every day (in which case you should just message me since life is too short to be hating your job). I don’t know how long I will stay in recruitment, but I know I have it to thank for where I am right now, what I get to do and the person I am today. 

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Recruiters, I would love to hear your stories. How did you fall into recruitment, and how has it changed you? 

 Cindi is a rec2rec who specialises in connecting top recruitment talent to recruitment opportunities in different parts of the world, mainly within Singapore, UK and Australia. That's cos she's done it herself and for many others who relocated their recruitment careers. Would you like to explore opportunities interstate or overseas? Get in touch today via Linkedin (accepting all invites from agency recruiters) or email [email protected]. 

*Originally posted in