From Social Services to Recruitment


by Santhiya Shugumaran


Recruitment is probably not the first job that comes to mind when you graduate with a degree in psychology. Much less if you went on to pursue a career in social services working with clients from challenging backgrounds.

The synergy between the two was clear for me though. There are many skills and qualities recruitment requires for which the training in social services builds the foundation. 



Trust is an essential ingredient for success. Social Workers earn their clients’ trust by building honest and open relationships, and being dependable. Clients turn to them for advice and guidance in personal matters, and their opinion matters more if a trusting relationship exists.



Adept at dealing with a heavy caseload, which makes time management and discipline in maintaining comprehensive case-notes or documents easy.



A 9-to-5 workday arrangement rarely happens for Social Workers. Working with clients entails being on-call 24/7. Accommodating calls and emails at odd hours is usually well within their comfort zone.



Both to what others are saying and reading in between the lines in order to advise them and decide on the best options for action. Observing and listening closely is second nature.



Social Workers understand that not everything goes according to the plan. Being able to accept setbacks for what they are and moving forward is critical. The magic happens when you try harder, smarter and do something different. 



Social Workers meet clients with difficult circumstances daily, and puts their emotional strength to the test. Clients may be grappling with abuse, mental illness, drugs, poverty, financial problems, bereavement, or other challenging life events. The key is to not let it get to them. Similarly, sales targets and other stressors can be put aside to maintain objectivity on the job.



Changing mindsets and habits requires truckloads of patience. Clients often come with complex issues, and real change does not happen overnight. Clients may not necessarily be eager to engage with their Social Workers and being patient prevents frustration and unhappiness which will affect their ability to do the job effectively.



This is one of the most important characteristics for any Social Worker. Most clients come to them in a state of emotional distress. Being able to place yourself in clients’ shoes and offer a caring, understanding, respectful and empowering environment is important. This quality generally serves well in most interpersonal relationships including those with clients or candidates.


In summary, I believe every experience and skill picked up at your previous jobs can help you succeed in your next role. So, what’s next for you?