The Recruiter's Soapbox

Career in recruitment vs teacher

Career Switch At 30. Why Did I Go From Teacher To Recruiter?

Overall my career as a teacher in the UK was great. I loved the Education sector, the kids, it was fun and it was challenging. I had those “I can’t believe I get paid to do this” moments and let’s not forget the awesome annual leave but for me it came at too high a price. The amount of time in the classroom spent actually educating children and enhancing their lives was merely the tip of the iceberg.

I always promised myself I wouldn’t be one of those teachers who takes their work home with them. I never wanted to lug 90 children’s books home every night and sit, slumped in front of my TV endlessly marking. The reality was that to be the level of teacher I wanted to be, I would have to be in my classroom from 07:15-18:00, then work evenings and weekends to do this. When starting out I realised I would have to do this, and yes over time I learnt how to be more efficient and prioritise. However, I no longer believed that the hours I was doing out of school were benefiting the kids. I was working myself into the ground for the ‘powers that be’.

Then I turned 30. This milestone made me stop and evaluate my career to date. Something had to change…

Why Recruitment?

I had already had an introduction into recruitment after finishing my degree and returning from travelling so I knew to an extent what I was getting myself in for. Whilst teaching, I often used to think about how much commission I could be making working the 70+ hour weeks that I was doing, not to mention how my evenings and weekends used to be my own! I had also always wanted to live/work in another country. Speaking to recruiters in Australia and realising that I could make the move by using my WHV and also being eligible for 457 sponsorship just made it even more appealing as a new career. If I was going to head down the recruitment path, I didn’t want to forgot some of the skills I had picked up as a teacher.

My Top 3 Transferable Career Skills:


As a teacher, you are frequently observed and scrutinised in your place of work. Giving and receiving feedback is part and parcel of your daily routine. Knowing that your best isn’t good enough is a tough pill to swallow. Teachers quickly develop a thick skin. Stepping into recruitment, there are plenty of moments when resilience comes in pretty handy. Cold call knock backs, interview flops, no-shows, candidate’s counter offers, drop outs, the list goes on.

Questioning/Interviewing Skills

Whilst teaching you learn how to question and use your questioning for assessment. You always ask for more information because you want to find out what a child’s level of understanding is. You also want to support them and help them learn so you begin to naturally scaffold your questions to extract further information and help a learner to connect the dots.

Whether you are meeting with a client, understanding a new job brief or screening candidates, adapting and asking the right questions will get you far. If you don’t ask the questions, you won’t take your understanding to the next level. I asked a LOT of questions when I started at Barton Mills and I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.

Work Ethics

To have a successful teaching career, you must plan and prepare for the day/week/term/year ahead. You constantly set goals and assess where you are in relation to your target. Failure is not an option when you are responsible for shaping the education of 30 children a year.

Recruiters work to a similar code, you need a strong work ethic and approach to be successful. Recruitment, like teaching is not a 9-5 job.

Has the Switch Paid Off?

If I could turn back time, would I leave the UK and start my career in recruitment in Australia again? In a heartbeat.

I live in an incredible city that I am able to enjoy every single weekend. I have regained my work-life balance. I’m still learning and improving all the time. It’s been a roller-coaster and I have definitely had my share of ‘Champagne and Razor blade’ moments but I enjoy going to work with a great team and have just had my best quarter yet. I’m excited for the new financial year!