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Career Clinic - Experiencing Work Experience

 Experiencing Work Experience 

Each year we open our doors to GCSE students to undertake two weeks of work experience with us.  Last week Alicia and Kara joined us.  It surprises us every year how bright and eager the students are and their willingness to get stuck in to day to day tasks.  It also offers an insight for us as a company, the views, energy and untarnished by years in the rat race views of a 15 year old which can often put a fresh perspective on our business.  With this in mind we asked Alicia and Kara to interview some of consultants, managers and directors, it is surprising for people who interview day in day out they are rarely tested in the same way.  They had free rein to ask whatever they wanted to, about how they came to work in recruitment, what they liked about the job and what difficulties they face.   Below, in Alicia and Kara’s own words, is the result of our staff on the receiving end of the interview questions for once!


Martin Chivers – Martin is a Director at Career Legal and has been with the company for 13 years.  He specialises in recruiting qualified lawyers.

Martin Chivers was asked to take part in our interview about daily life working as a ‘Recruiter for Lawyers’, he was happy to answer as truthfully as he could! Martin started in recruitment as a complete accident! His timeline of employment history started with him working at a factory, a work experience of sorts, during summer holidays at school. This he says was an experience that showed him that he had to work hard to achieve a job doing something he was passionate about in the future. Martin started his recruitment career with a national company were he developed his skills until the opportunity came for him to run and join Career Legal.

Martin went on to explain why he enjoyed doing his job and gave us his reasons why. His main reason was the love of being able to be your own person at Career Legal, the knowledge that you can be your own boss, in theory, and the way in which so many clients and organisations are met and interacted with. With having so much involvement with family lawyers, when asked what would have been his profession in an alternate life family lawyers was a name that popped up. In Martin’s usual comedy way, the reason for this is the intrigue of gossip that’s involved in the process. In Martin’s usual manor when stating his strengths and weaknesses, the strengths outweighed the weaknesses. Strengths stated were his good listening skills, being able to communicate well and great time management. Weaknesses were his stubbornness and his way of getting easily distracted.  

When it comes to considering asking if you think you’re successful, Martin does. Martin shows his successfulness in the way he comes into the office with a smile when greeting everyone, saying in the interview “I do a job I enjoy doing and I like going to work”, and in a way that’s a reason which motivates him to fill jobs on a daily basis. The working environment at Career Legal is overall “best served together”. As a very open company including a mix of people, the overall feeling of having the freedom to work with others as well as get on with what needs doing.


Richard Walton – A Senior Consultant under the hyf brand, Richard is the go-to man for support staff in the commercial sector.

When Richard was younger he worked in Morrisons stacking shelves for work experience, he also worked in a bar and delivered papers to people’s front doors. Richard did not go to university as you did not need a degree qualification for what job he wanted to do. He went to college for 4 weeks but he decided it wasn’t for him, but it did pay off because it gave him the motivation to get a job and to work hard. 

Richard’s first proper job was in sales working from home on his mobile. He decided he wanted another job in an office and that led him into IT recruitment. He went through lots of presentations to show how he could do a good job for the company before he got the job. Richard said he always wanted a sales job when he was younger but did not plan to go into recruitment but it seemed like a good business to work in. Richard said that if he could be in another profession he would be in business development or he would like to have been a lawyer. 

Richard’s strengths of his job include having a broad outlook regarding other people and his communication skills are one of his key qualities, for example, when Richard is dealing with a problem, he tries to establish what the problem is and make sure he has understood all the details in every possible way and he says it is important they are always listened too. His weaknesses in his job include no patience with other people!

The things he likes the most about his job are the fact that every day is different, dealing with different types of clients as well as candidates, but also you can be your own person and manage yourself. He prefers to work in a busy, and a loud environment surrounded by people who achieve good things. Richard said that he is successful in his own eyes because he has over-achieved what he thought he would at his age now and he is more successful than he thought he would be. The thing that motivates Richard the most is; money, his career, family and friends - he likes to spoil them and take them on holidays!


Zosia McCaffrey – Zosia joined Career Legal recently as a Senior Consultant on our Facilities & Office Support Division.

From the age of 16, Zosia was working at a design shop and she didn’t do work experience during school. Zosia did not go university but she went to drama school as she wanted to do a course which she enjoyed. When she got older, she went on to work in an interior design shop. Some clients she was dealing with recommended she join Robert Walters and her recruitment career started from there. Zosia did not plan to go into recruitment; she said if you have the skills you just fall into it. The things Zosia likes the most about her job is the fact that every day is different, your opinion counts, you get to socialise and you get exposure to different companies. If Zosia had a choice of being in a different profession, she would pick a funky creative job in media. In the past, before Zosia decided on recruitment as a career, she worked for many different companies. These include: a stage manager in the West End, a pub worker, retail and as an interior designer.

The strengths of her job are that she can work hard, is very committed, she is fair to others, is positive and she seems to think out of the box a lot. Her weaknesses of her job are she can’t switch off all of the time, she tries to please people too often and she always gets frustrated when others are not committed to the job as much as she is.

Zosia seems to think that she works better in a team but she likes working as an individual also because she can get lots of work done on her own. To work as a team, everybody has to be as motivated and committed as you are and it is hard to do this. When Zosia is dealing with a problematic person she “just kills them with kindness”, and she shows them that she is going above and beyond to manage their problems.

Zosia claimed that she prefers a mature working environment, where you are trusted to get on with your work, a place where everybody is motivated and also where the work life is balanced which is why she joined Career Legal. Zosia thinks that in her own eyes, she does see herself as being successful, because she is part of a very successful team, she has a good reputation and she lives a nice life. The thing that motivates her the most is money, she is very competitive, and also would like to take early retirement!


Annabella Quintal – Bella is a highly respected member of our HR recruitment division and has been with Career Legal for approaching 2 years.

Annabella’s employment history started with her graduating from university and focusing her energy on Human Resources, an area she found interesting to pursue.  For 5 years Bella worked at a law firm gaining more experience in that particular field of work before climbing her way up the ladder to HR Manager. She then moved onto recruitment at a specialist agency and worked for 8 years before moving to Career Legal. We asked Bella if recruitment was a path she had always thought about going down and she eagerly replied that she had always wanted to be involved in in-house recruitment but was not so keen on the sales side of the job but she has learnt to adapt to it and now enjoys all parts of working in recruitment.

Bella thinks her strength is honesty, and it is the best policy in Bella’s mind. Sometimes it is hard to tell someone they did not get the job or to tell a client that a role can’t be filled but she believes that there is no point dragging it out and being honest and just coming out with it is best.

When asked if Bella thought she was successful, the answer was yes. In her own mind, having a good bank of clients that have followed her and respect her within the business is a big plus. Motivations include happiness, getting through hardships and success at the end when you place someone in a job.
When interviewing Bella she repeated a pattern from our other interviews, it seems all recruiters like the variety, the different clients, roles, projects, teams and the pace that is kept. They also said that if they choose to do another profession, it would be something completely opposite to recruitment.

Bella said one of the reason she likes working for Career Legal is that in other companies the working environment is very insular, Career Legal is an office full of people which allows a relaxed but hard working environment.

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