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From Trading to Recruiting - Part 1

Written by Aaron Stebbings
Lead Consultant - Contracts Division


There's often an assumption that those who work in recruitment are people who graduate, realise they don't know what they want to do and then "fall" into the career. I'd say that's pretty accurate but it doesn't account for everyone.

From a young age I was fortunate enough to have a good idea of what I wanted to do as a career. I wanted to make loads of money, and I was going to work within finance to make it. This plan was put in motion after I graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in Economics. I had already landed a job with a Futures Trading firm back in the Christmas of my final year, on the condition that I got a particular grade. I hit the grade and became a Graduate Futures Trader the summer after Uni.

Fast forward about four years. I've aged about 10 times that and the greys in my hair have already started showing. Trading was and still is, in my eyes, the hardest thing I've ever done, at least from a work perspective. I cannot and never will be able to explain what it feels like to watch the multiple screens in front of you tick in a direction that you don't want them to.

On the other hand, it was the best thing I could've done at that stage. Trading taught me a simple life lesson: to "sit back down." It humbled me. I met some incredible people, colleagues and managers who shaped me into the man that I have now become. For that I will always be grateful.

After I left trading I went into contracting for some of the big banks and consultancies like Barclays, Co-operative, and Deloitte. That moved me around the country a little, which again, was another experience. I also learnt so much more about finance, and that even when contracting, life was still less stressful than those numbers on the trading screen.

And then the contracts finished. It felt like I'd blinked and somehow I was closer to 30 than I was to 20. I lived in a different city where they preferred football over rugby. I didn't wake up and see the Welsh Valleys, I saw a concrete jungle. And I was jobless.

I'd hit a point where I was used to making decent money, and so I wanted a job where I could continue to earn good money with a decent career prospective.

Cue recruitment.

I'd heard about recruitment from a couple of friends but I knew it was completely different to anything I had done previously. For starters, my previous jobs didn't require a phone. This one really, really does. My best asset had always been my brain, my ability to think and calculate numbers quickly, to analyse trends and data, to see formulas as a story and not some scary compilation of random letters. Now my primary skill needed to be getting people to like me! It was daunting to say the least...

Let's fast forward another four years. I still live in that concrete jungle but I've come to love the city where people tattoo bees onto themselves to show they stand together. The greys in my hair are still there. I still get nightmares about the "numbers". But now I own a flat. I earn more money than I ever did as a Trader or a Contractor and I manage a small team who respect me (at least that's what they tell me.) Life is good.

Somehow, most of the skills I'd picked up within finance were transferable to recruitment. Analysis of job data, trends, the ability to think of solutions on your feet, to come to quick, snap decisions, to work really really hard! To look at that end goal and think "if I work hard enough and if I work smart enough, I'll get there."

I honestly think that you could come into recruitment from any career and make a success of it. The key is to apply yourself, 100%. I never, ever thought that it would be recruitment which would give me the career path AND the earning I dreamt of as a kid.

It wasn't being a Futures Trader. It wasn't being a Contractor. It's being a Recruiter.


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