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Insight from a graduate with no recruitment experience - my life as a Macs grad…

Posted over 1 year ago by Edward Collington


Having recently taken my first step on the Macildowie Graduate Scheme I wanted to write a blog to give you insight into what I’ve learnt during my first 3 months. But first, to set the context…. 

I was in my final year at Nottingham Trent studying Business Management with HR. Along with everyone else; I had the standard final year university stresses whilst at the same time trying to find myself a graduate job. During my second year of university I signed up to Nottingham Trent’s Employability Mentoring programme to help me find my way in the business world. I was lucky to be paired up with one of the managers from Macildowie who not only gave me great careers advice and support, but also gave me an insight into life at Macildowie and in the recruitment industry. It was something which interested me so when it came around to looking at graduate jobs, I got in touch with my mentor and they let me know about their new official graduate scheme and when applications opened. 

Darius & Chris - who head up our Graduate Scheme

Macildowie gave me the opportunity to find out more information about the role and what being on the graduate scheme would entail. Naturally, I was a little apprehensive about the meeting however, there was no need to be.  I was made to feel at ease throughout the whole thing. We ended the chat saying that I’d like to be progressed to the next stage, which was completing a psychometric tool called MindMill which looks at natural behavioural preferences and people’s capacity to process information. After I had completed it, I had a phone call to discuss the outcome of the MindMill report. After talking through the results I was invited their assessment centre held at the Nottingham head quarters. 

The day of the assessment centre arrived and I was told in advance that I needed to prepare a 10 minute presentation on a topic of my choice but other than that I wasn’t sure what to expect. The assessment centre started with all of us being introduced to the Macildowie managers. We were split off into groups to do activities; these varied from a role play activity, group based tasks and an individual presentation. Overall it was a positive day and all of the managers made me feel at ease as they wanted to get the best out of you. Most importantly it gave me a really good insight into the company. I felt like I had done the best that I could do so all that I now could do was wait to hear the outcome! 

Around a week later I got a phone call saying that I had passed the assessment centre and that I was being invited to do a trial afternoon of doing recruitment. It was such a great opportunity, which not many other companies offer, a chance to try the role to see if it was the right one for me. 

I arrived at Macildowie and was introduced to the other employees there and it was a great chance for me to experience the role but also the Macildowie culture. I was given an overview of what to do and then given a list of candidates to call. It was a bit daunting to start with, but once I had done a couple of calls I got into it and had a really enjoyable afternoon. Later that week I got a very exciting call saying that the job was mine if I wanted it… of course I said yes! 

I wasn’t just left in the dark once I had signed my contract. The business kept in touch with me throughout the year, and a meet-up with all of the other new graduates was organised so that we could all get to know each other over a beer (or two) before starting!


Myself and the rest of the 2018 graduate intake

Roll round to September - I arrived all ready for my first day! It was great to finally get started in my new role and for the first few weeks we went through a comprehensive training programme, designed to teach us the basics of how to do our role, as well as see where we fit within the business and learning who is who. Having no experience of recruitment or recruitment systems, this provided me with a great grounding on which I am still building my knowledge base on. We had talks from all the Directors in the business, who explained their role, how we fitted in with the companies plans and also allowed us to hear their stories and history within recruitment. 


Macildowie's Directors

Every Friday all the graduates meet up, alternating between the Nottingham and Leicester offices to discuss how the week has gone, as well as what can be improved. We then have training to add to what we already know and are learning. Week by week more and more things added to the training programme helping us to progress in our roles as recruitment consultants. I never felt overwhelmed by what we were learning as it was done in such a way that it built on what you’d learnt the previous week.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to learn in the first few months. However, the graduates do support each other. My wider team have been instrumental to me learning what I have - and you can always ask them a question no matter how busy they are (I’ll regularly peer over my PC screen to ask Kate questions). It is so nice to have such a supportive team and to also have a group of graduates who are all in the same position. Everyone at the business is approachable and I feel that I could ask anyone questions whether they are directors or in another team. 



My typical week consists of: calling candidates, calling clients, meeting candidates and clients to develop my candidate base and market knowledge. At the time it was daunting to even get going with it, but after the training and putting in the practice it’s now become second nature. Now I have pretty much free reign to plan my week and how my time is best spent. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few months as a graduate at Macildowie. I have learnt so much and have had many opportunities to develop both personally and professionally. There have been tough days but I always know that there is a supportive team around me to help me out. 

There have been some life lessons to be learnt to: for me, its being willing to and able to not only learn but to also pick up new things quickly. The speed at which recruitment moves is astounding and you need to be able to move at a similar, if not faster, pace! Another big on is the resilience, its something you are told that every job will build. But recruitment really does, once you crack that tough client, or find that star candidate then there really is a sense of satisfaction. Final life lesson that I’ve learnt is to appreciate the ‘wins’ – I’ve had a few huge personal wins for me here. Assisting with my first placement is one of them, which I’ve successfully done multiple times since joining. Its these wins that keep you going and make it really worthwhile and rewarding.  



I hope this gives you a bit of an insight into my experiences of becoming a graduate at Macildowie. Applications are currently open for the 2019 intake so if you think this is something that interests you then feel free to ask any of us any questions you might have. But equally, if you aren’t sure what it is all about then just let us know and we will be more than happy to help you out. 

See what working at Macildowie is like here