Gishan Abeyratne
Gishan Abeyratne
Senior Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

One of the most important elements of legal job satisfaction

I’ve worked in legal recruitment for the better part of five years now, and at the tender age of 31, I feel as if I’ve finally found what I want to do in terms of my long-term career: where I want to be and where I want to go; and, what I want to achieve. Don’t get me wrong, legal recruitment can be tough but I genuinely enjoy my job and find my work very interesting.

Prior to joining BCL Legal, I worked in sales for technology companies. I spent time in the City as a broker trading interest rate options and derivatives (trust me; it sounds far more interesting than it is). I’ve also been a cocktail barman (great fun!). However, none of these positions, whether in Birmingham, London or back home in Derby, gave me the job satisfaction I feel now. Why’s that I wonder? There are a number of reasons, but the more and more I think about it, the more I realise that one of the biggest factors in considering happiness and enjoyment at work is the people.

People, people, people

I don’t believe that anyone wakes up every morning excited about going to work. Conversely, there are those 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 loathe your job.

Everywhere I’ve worked: from pubs and bars to an international multi-billion-pound company, to the small entrepreneurial technology start-up to where I am now, I’ve always enjoyed and committed myself to my work and driven myself to succeed (apparently, I made the best Long Island Ice Tea in all of Derbyshire), but most importantly, I’ve found friends in my colleagues; people who I trust, people who I know will support me and help me develop throughout my career and people who I’m 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 surrounds me; being able to strike a rapport and a bond with your colleagues will inevitably make you feel more comfortable at work, and be in a better position to succeed. But how do you know this before you start a job?

How to find out if the people are good before you start a new job

I suppose that's the beauty of using a legal recruiter. When it comes to legal job opportunities and interviews, a good recruiter will ensure they 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 a legal recruiter should 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 as a recruiter, I’m in a much better position to help you prepare for an interview than 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’re going to spend 8- 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?! Of course, 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.

The right person for the right people

It’s often said that opposites attract but I think we tend to gravitate towards 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.” This applies no matter what level you are and no matter where you’re interviewing. So, relax and be yourself.

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