Meet Samir - One of Walker Cole's pioneer graduates

5 mins

Recruitment through my own lens The first step in anyone’s career is a difficult one. ...

By Samir Lambert

Senior Associate

Recruitment through my own lens


The first step in anyone’s career is a difficult one. There are thousands of different jobs you could go into across hundreds of different industries. I knew two things – I had a strong interest in science and pharmaceuticals and that I wished to stay as far away from the lab as possible. I decided to start looking into the pharmaceutical industry and the jobs available there.  

I’d had a taster of the industry whilst on my placement year at Abbott Diabetes Care within Regulatory Affairs which made me realise that a documentation focussed role was not the one for me. I spent hours applying to a variety of different opportunities until, I had a call regarding a role in recruitment. This is something that had never occurred to me before and something I knew very little about. A year on and it’s a step I’ll never regret taking.


Getting started 

As can be expected with any new job the first few months are the hardest, even more so when this is your first full-time position outside of university. I joined with very little idea of what to expect but was still surprised about how quickly I got involved with the critical aspects of the job, more specifically speaking to candidates within the market. Like most people my age, talking on the phone is not the preferred method of communication and if there is one skill I developed in the first few weeks in this role, it was how to hold a conversation and interview a range of people. I think I underestimated how much time in recruitment is spent talking to people – it’s how you judge a candidate’s suitability for a role, how you learn more about the companies they work at and the different roles that can be done. Google surprisingly offers little help in that regard.

Even with the training and development sessions we were given, I learnt quickly that the only way to really get better was to just do. It’s the type of role where preparation only goes so far – you can’t prepare for every eventuality, for every conversation as they’re all unique. If you enjoy learning on the job, it’s definitely the type of role that could suit you.


After a few months you begin to specialise within a market – you gain a greater understanding and expertise of the candidates in this space, the companies that are recruiting and can grow your network considerably. The better your knowledge is of your market, the better a recruiter you become and it’s a great feeling to see yourself becoming an expert in a particular field.

This specialisation also enables you to be in control of your own roles, from start to finish. That is something that really made me decide that this job could be the one for me. I could find the client, find the candidates, manage the process to get a placement and see the candidate start their new job. It felt better to do this than to be in charge of one small link in a large chain and never get to see the end result.

Ups and Downs

Of course, as with any job, it’s not all sunshine and roses. There were and still are parts of the job that are difficult to understand and cope with. The first part I found difficult was the adjustment from university life to working life. From an environment where you had a lot of freedom and lack of responsibility to an environment where you must fit your personal life around your job and had to take responsibility for your own pipeline and work. I knew it would be hard work, but I underestimated the hours that you would have to put in to be effective; the pace you have to work at to out-compete other recruiters in the industry. This is especially true with a difficult job brief where you can put in huge amounts of effort for little to no reward; where you’re unable to find a candidate or even worse, miss them entirely.

One aspect of the role that never gets easier is that it’s a people focussed role, and you can never fully control what someone will do. Your success is often determined by other people’s decisions which can lead to some very disappointing moments.

Although difficult, the benefits and rewards I get from the role are ultimately what pushes me to work harder and improve more. There is the monetary side of things where you can visibly see the correlation between increased effort and increased success leading to more commission for you. There is the variety of the job - the fact that you’re speaking to different people at different companies every day, building great relationships both internally and externally. But there is also the social aspect and although quite an individual role, I was surprised at the team element to it. Walker Cole have a great group of graduates that work closely together and have created a close-knit team where we share candidates, leads and information so we all benefit. This obviously helps with the social side of the job – where hitting targets can lead to great nights out; quarterly lunch clubs and all on the company.



Looking back after a year I can see how much I’ve learnt, changed and developed. This job has given me more financial freedom than I ever had at university, and the great feeling of being able to control your own earnings never goes away. I’ve become more focussed, more confident, more prepared to get out of my comfort zone. It’s a role that requires high levels of organisation, communication and adaptability.

It’s a tough job and it’s definitely not right for everyone. It is high pressure and very outcome driven with high highs and low lows but if you enjoy a competitive environment, are money driven and not afraid of working hard then it could be a great step for you. 

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