Natalie Chapman: Reconstructing Stereotypes as a Senior Recruitment Consultant

Recruitment is a growing industry in the UK and it might be something you have considered as a career. Placing people in their perfect jobs is hugely rewarding so it is not surprising that recruitment is the career choice for many. However, as a woman, you may feel intimidated recruiting for male-dominated industries such as engineering and construction.

Natalie Chapman, Senior Sales and Marketing Recruitment Consultant at Precision People has been recruiting for the construction industry for over 10 years now. Part of what Natalie loves about her job - surprising men with her in-depth knowledge of the construction industry! We spoke to Natalie all about her role at Precision People…

Starting a career in Recruitment

Previous to recruitment I was a hotel manager, I’d lost my mum suddenly in a car accident and decided to re-evaluate my life. I was going around Leicester talking to different recruitment consultants and was really disappointed by how I was dealt with. So when I saw an advert for a well known high street recruiter, I walked in and told the Branch Manager that I could do this role better than all the consultants I had met that day. After 18 months I moved to Precision People as I wanted to focus on placing people for the right reasons and not on KPIs. Today, twelve years later I believe I have. I take the time to get to know my clients and my candidates. At the forefront of all I do is I listen, the outcome of this is that I put the right people in the right seat for the right reasons.

A bit more about being a Senior Recruitment Consultant...

In my role, I place Sales and Marketing people with building products manufacturers and distributors all over the UK. My role is about understanding what motivates people and then placing them with the right company that can help take them to new levels. I got to where I am today through hard work, dedication and believing I can.

To work in recruitment, you need to be a real people person, an excellent listener and really enjoy talking to people all day long! I have been with Precision for almost twelve years now. Watching new recruiters come through our training academy and look up to me and say they want to be like me, is a big push for me to continue improving.

“Everyone is equal and everyone should be treated as such.”

Facing barriers in her career

I recruit Sales and Marketing people into the construction industry and initially when I went into this industry, I had to prove that I knew what I was talking about as senior managers and executives often thought that because I was female, I didn’t know the industry. I used to love proving them wrong!

In my workplace, there are no barriers to being female. Everyone is treated fairly and rewarded equally based on performance. However, within the construction industry I recruit for, there still is the stigma that it’s a male-dominated world. I have placed many females this year into senior roles and it’s a great feeling to break down those misconceptions! Everyone is equal and everyone should be treated as such.

Maintaining a work-life balance

This is something I really struggle with, I am a self-confessed workaholic! However, last year my body said “Enough is enough” and I ended up in the hospital. I realised I was working hard but not smart. I wasn’t giving enough attention to my daughters or my husband. I was just focusing on work, this was all my own doing (no one told me to do this!) I realised I had to make changes because my work-life balance was non-existent. So now I don't turn my laptop on every evening. When I arrive home, I make a delicious meal with my husband that we can enjoy together. I help the kids with their homework and spend time talking with them or watching a movie, which has totally changed the dynamics in the house. Now when I go to work I am more focused on what I need to do in the time that I am there.

Three tips would for young females starting their careers

  • Believe you can and you will!

  • Don’t be afraid to speak up.

  • Find a female mentor if you can to help you and give you advice.

If you enjoyed reading Natalie's story about her career in recruitment, check out Cat Hudson's blog about how she is finding being a woman in a high-flying corporate career.


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