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Personnel Consultant
Personnel consultants act as mediators between employers and job seekers. There are two types of consultants:

Permanent placement personnel consultants: the main task of these consultants is to recruit suitable candidates on behalf of employers for job vacancies

Temporary personnel consultants: these consultants specialize in finding suitable candidates to fill temporary positions in companies   

After a job order is received from an employer to fill a vacancy, the process to select suitable candidates begins.

Personnel consultants recruit candidates through newspaper advertisements and from recommendations and applications received by the personnel agency. They interview suitable candidates to obtain their details and their curriculum vitae (CVs). They might conduct skills tests, or send the candidates for psychological profile tests to determine their potential skills.

An important task of personnel consultants is to contact the referees to see if a person is suitable for the vacancy. They arrange meetings between employers and potential candidates. Once a suitable candidate has been offered the job, they may assist the employer and selected candidate by sorting out details such as starting date, salary level and other conditions of service.

Once the candidate starts employment, the employer pays the personnel consultant the applicable fee.

Temporary placement personnel consultants need to keep a record of candidates available for temporary assignments, what skills they have to offer and when and where they are available for work. They also consider the employer of the temporary worker, so they have to keep a record of the hours worked, so that the temporary worker can be paid for work done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and pay the worker's income tax to the South African Revenue Service, etc. The temporary employer pays the personnel consultant for the hours worked by the temporary worker.

Satisfying Aspects
- finding the right people to fit job profiles
- working with people
- generally working normal office hours

Demanding aspects
- disappointment when candidates do not turn up for interviews with employers
- sometimes having to deal with difficult people and over-demanding employers
- having the majority of your income earnable only on a commission basis

A personnel consultant should:
- be able to communicate well, both in speech and writing;
- enjoy working with people;
- have a knowledge of human behaviour;
- be able to negotiate;
- tactful and empathetic;
- be reliable;
- have integrity;
- preferably over the age of 25.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences, Economics

Some personnel agencies require a degree or diploma.

Degree: BA and BCom degrees in Psychology, Personnel / Human Resources Management, Administration, Industrial Psychology

Diploma: N.Dip: various appropriate fields - most universities of technology

The Education Institute for Personnel Service Consultants (IPSC) offers various training courses for personnel consultants. Many private, technical and correspondence colleges offer courses

Experience and knowledge are often gained through in-service training. Aspects such as interviewing skills, the writing of advertisements, reference checking and negotiation skills are covered.

- personnel agencies
- self-employment, skilled and entrepreneurial personnel consultants can start their own businesses

The South African Board for Personnel Practice
P O Box 2450
Houghton, 2041
Tel: (011) 773-6240 Fax: (011) 773-6224

The Association of Personnel Services’ Organisation of South Africa
P O Box 2450
Houghton, 2041
Tel: (011) 773-6222 Fax: (011) 773-6224