Consultant Spotlight – Jonathan Donnelly

With a degree in Marketing and French from Strathclyde University, Rutherford Cross’ Jonathan Donnelly started out as a mortgage advisor before the 2008 financial crisis saw him reconsider his options, making the move into recruitment. He began his recruitment career with a FTSE 200 multinational business and subsequently went onto join a boutique professional services recruiter. Jonathan joined Rutherford Cross in 2016 and is responsible for permanent recruitment ranging from newly qualified accountants to senior Financial Controllers across the West of Scotland.

What attracted you to join Rutherford Cross back in 2016?

Deciding to join Rutherford Cross in 2016 was an easy decision to make. The business was already performing well and was becoming established as an excellent brand, known for working with many of Scotland’s most reputable employers. I knew some of the consultants that worked for the business and those I didn’t know personally I was acutely aware of by their positive reputation in the market.

I was also aware that Rutherford Cross was delivering a more tailored approach to recruitment than its competitors.  The idea of working alongside knowledgeable consultants and learning how to provide an enhanced level of service to both candidates and clients was really appealing.

What markets do you focus on and how has your role changed since joining?

When I joined the business in 2016, I took ownership for our newly qualified accountancy recruitment in industry across the West of Scotland. I took responsibility for running our Planning Your Career Journey events which helped me build a defined network and further my personal reputation in that space. I enjoy advising up-and-coming accountants as to the various directions they can take their careers and working across a number of diverse sectors.

One of the more interesting aspects of the job is finding out how different businesses operate and the challenges they need to overcome. In the last year my counterpart, John Ramsay and I have split permanent industry recruitment by sector and in some cases by client.  This has given me access to working on more senior appointments and with a consultant dedicated to particular sectors, we can provide more in-depth knowledge and advice to our clients.

How would you describe working at Rutherford Cross and Livingston James Group overall?

I doubt there are many, if any, specialist recruitment firms that can boast such a wealth of experienced consultants. Coming into the business, you need to be open to learning from your peers, whilst also having the confidence to share your knowledge to benefit other consultants in the business.  There is very little hierarchy and there is a huge amount of mutual respect amongst the consultants.  Despite the level of experience, the consultants are all approachable and don’t take themselves too seriously.

The last year has been like no other – what have you learnt from the experience to take forward post-pandemic?

Over the last year I’ve learned that I can be much more productive working from home than I thought was possible, and that commuting five days per week was adding a lot of stress to my life particularly with two young kids. That being said the office “banter” is not the same over video call and some of the more off the cuff chats in the office often led to good ideas, which again is hard to replicate remotely. The plan is to operate a hybrid model of working post-pandemic which should harness the best of both remote and office environments.

The working world continues to recalibrate and our advice and guidance to clients and candidates needs to reflect these new developments. The last 12-18 months have given individuals and businesses time to review their priorities and the effects are particularly relevant when discussing career priorities.  Job satisfaction, cultural values, work life balance, flexibility, trust, and purpose have generally moved up the chain whereas job title, salary and status are no longer quite as important as they once were.

How has Rutherford Cross enabled you to explore new opportunities, and what does your own development look like within the firm in future?

The business has a strong networking ethos and actively encourages us all to continually develop our relationships.  Whilst we have our established events programme such Planning Your Career Journey and Next Generation CFO, the leaders of the business are very open to new ideas from consultants too.

When I joined, I wanted to host an annual charity football event that would involve our clients, candidates and colleagues to benefit the community. This is definitely the least formal event that we run but nonetheless has allowed us to be more accessible to those who partake. The day always provides good fun, hard fought competition, and a forum for relaxed networking with a few refreshments in the bar afterwards. Over the years we have had an increasing number of female players which has been great. These evenings have been really well received and have strengthened relationships, raising a good sum of money for worthwhile causes in the process such as CHAS and SAMH.

Outside of work, what do you like to do?

Outside of work, I am pretty busy running about after two young kids, an incredibly chatty five-year-old girl and a lively three-year-old boy. My wife and I enjoy going out for drinks and dinner when we get a night off together. We’re happy with a pint and a prosecco down our local pub although we have been known to treat ourselves to fancier nights out every now and again.

I must admit I’m a bit of a football geek and have been boring my wife recently trying to get her interested in the Euros – I think it’s making her miss my being in the office!  Hopefully when the pandemic lifts, we’ll get to go abroad again soon although I must admit I’ve really enjoyed exploring more of Scotland over the last year.


For more information about careers at Rutherford Cross, contact [email protected]