From engineering to a career in recruitment

Matt Chauhan

Matt Chauhan made the switch from engineering to recruitment in 2015, joining Robert Walters in Brisbane as a consultant.

We asked him why he changed to a career in recruitment, how his engineering experience has helped him and what his future career aspirations are.



Why did you switch from engineering into recruitment?

After completing a PhD in mining engineering, I started working for a mining company in Brisbane. After a few years in the industry, I knew I wanted something different for my career, a job where I could develop my soft skills whilst still applying my engineering industry knowledge.

When I started to look at different roles, I was regularly advised that my skills and background were too technical. However, Robert Walters saw the strength in my knowledge and how I’d be able to share this with a network of clients and candidates. They were unique in that they acknowledged my industry experience and gave me the chance to develop my knowledge and soft skills.

Which skills have been transferable into recruitment?

There were a number of skills that I developed while studying and working in engineering which I have been able to apply to recruitment:

  • Persistence: Studying for a PhD taught me to be persistent and focussed and this is definitely an attribute which I can apply to my current role.
  • Problem solving: Dealing with different issues as an engineer equipped me with problem solving skills which I now use regularly in my role. Ultimately, we are helping organisations problem solve by finding the right talent for their business.
  • Market insight and business development: Knowing the market in which I operate has really benefitted me in my role, specifically because I can speak credibly about the industry which helps me to develop rapport with candidates and clients.

How did Robert Walters help you transition into your new role?

The culture and team approach has helped me learn and develop both my soft skills and sales skills.

"Managers you report to either make you or break you. From day one I had excellent mentors within the business to show me the ropes and provide all the tools needed to succeed."

My aspiration is to be promoted to senior consultant and become a manager within the next three years. I recognise that I still have a lot to learn to achieve this but I feel that the supportive, learning environment will enable me to succeed. 

What do you enjoy most about your career switch?

It would have to be the team culture. I wouldn’t be able to work in an organisation where I couldn’t get along with the people I work with. It is certainly a competitive environment and team performance is rewarded. Our managers genuinely care about our aspirations. They want to see us grow and succeed on a personal and professional level - that’s what has made a huge difference for me. 

Describe your typical day

Mornings usually involve identifying market trends, catching up with the team to share ideas as well as finding suitable candidates for job vacancies.

In the afternoons, I like to dedicate my time to clients. Whether it’s discussing their requirements over coffee or presenting a new integrated sourcing strategy, I work closely with my clients to ensure their objectives are met.

Before I leave each day, I plan for the next one. I also try to manage my calendar and have a day dedicated to meeting as many clients and candidates face-to-face as possible.

What skills do you need to succeed in recruitment?

A successful recruitment consultant needs excellent communication skills combined with a deep knowledge of the industry they recruit in, in order to relate to candidates and help clients effectively implement their recruitment strategy.

Interested in a career in recruitment? Send your up-to-date CV to