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I’ve been in Legal recruitment in Birmingham, specialising in real estate vacancies, for 9 months now. At the tender age of 27, following stints in various other professions I feel I have finally found the right fit in terms of my career, where I want to be, where I want to go and what I want to achieve. I’ve worked in sales for technology companies, I’ve been a broker trading interest rate options and derivatives (trust me it sounds far more interesting than it actually is) and I’ve also been a cocktail barman (great fun!) but none of these positions, either in Birmingham, London or back home in Derby gave me quite the job satisfaction I feel now. Why is that I wonder? Don’t get me wrong, legal recruitment can be a tough but I do genuinely enjoy my job and find my recruitment work interesting. There are a number of reasons why but the more and more I think about it, the more I realise that one of the biggest recurring factors when considering happiness and enjoyment at work is the people.
I don’t believe that anyone wakes up every morning excited about going to work. There are some exceptions to this rule of course but I feel they’re quite extreme; for example, I cannot imagine David Attenborough complains much about his work, neither would the 3 musketeers who present Top Gear, professional sportsmen, musicians, actors etc. Conversely, I do also believe there are some people who are absolutely head over heels in love with their job. With a multitude of factors to consider, I think that people play a huge part in whether you like, love or hate your job. Everywhere I have worked, from pubs and bars to an international multi-billion pound company and the small entrepreneurial technology start-up to where I am now I have enjoyed my work, committed myself to my work and driven myself to succeed (I made the best long island ice tea in all of Derbyshire) but most importantly I have found friends in my colleagues; people who I trust, people who I know will support me & help me develop throughout my career and people who I am more than happy to share a beer with at the end of the day. A lot of my happiness at work has come from the team that surround me – being able to strike a rapport and a bond with your colleagues inevitably means you will be more comfortable at work and likely be in a better position to succeed. But how do we know this before you actually start the job?
When it comes to opportunities and interviews we ensure that we get as much information as possible from the recruiting partner(s); what they’re looking for, the type of work they do, what makes candidates stand out etc. More often than not, personality is a significant factor in the recruitment process. So, when it comes to helping prepare candidates for interview we will endeavour to give as much relevant information as possible but again, one of the keys to success is to be yourself. First impressions count for a lot and quite often the feedback we get is that the partner(s) “didn’t get to know the candidate.” Of course, there are two sides to this but I’m in a much better position to help you prepare for an interview than to tell a real estate partner at a leading national firm how to conduct an interview. So, please trust me when I say it’s important to always be yourself. I do feel this is equally important for both the interviewer and the interviewee. I always tell candidates to “let your personality come through” in the interview. If you are going to spend 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 or more hours a day sitting in a room with these people and working with them, surely you want to get on with them?! Yes, first and foremost your quality and aptitude for the job will be paramount but then so is the team fit. Be polite, be professional, be courteous but also relax and let them get to know you.
It’s often said that opposites attract but I think it’s safe to say that humans are fickle and we gravitate to like-minded people. For the NQ approaching an interview with senior associates and partners this can be a daunting prospect, but they’re just people and once upon a time these people on the other side of the table were in the same position as you. They want to get to know you, they want to like you and they want to come away thinking, “yeah, I can see them fitting in really well.” The same can be said no matter what level you are and no matter where you’re interviewing. Just like you, they’re only human. So relax and be yourself.