One Year in Recruitment: Five Things you will Learn

Rutherford Cross’ interim and contract finance specialist, Mollie Rogerson reflects on her role as a recruitment consultant one year on, providing advice for those starting a new career.

It doesn’t feel long ago that I was reflecting on 3 months with Rutherford Cross: one year on and I have certainly learnt a lot. I was under no illusion that recruitment was going to be easy, but the highs definitely outweigh the lows. Being surrounded by such a supportive team at Rutherford Cross, as well as the wider Livingston James Group, has allowed me to make mistakes, learn from them and grow. As I reflect on one year at the business, there are five standout pieces of advice I would give to anyone starting a new career, particularly within recruitment.


“No” is Just a Word

Something that I have realised and even carried with me outside of work is that “no” is just a word. It is seen as the worst-case scenario in a lot of conversations you may have: no, it’s not a good time to speak; no, we are not looking to add to our team; no, I am happy in my current role. It is never personal, and the more I have taken on the mindset that “no” is just a word, the easier it becomes to hear and accept the outcome.

In many cases it is possible to turn a “no” into a positive. For example, you could set up an informal coffee meeting to catch up on the market or you could invite them to an upcoming event that may be of interest to them. This can lead to a mutual feeling that the conversation has been constructive.

Picking up the phone and calling someone you don’t know (whether a candidate or a client) may seem daunting, but if you are phoning with a purpose, you can add real value for that person.


It is Okay to Feel Overwhelmed

Starting a new career can be scary and no one expects you to know everything straight away. It’s okay to say when it all feels too much. Talking about how you are feeling with someone such as a peer, your boss or a mentor, is sometimes the best way to put things into perspective and help you realise you are more in control than you thought.

Writing a to-do list and knowing what is a priority can make things seem more manageable whilst also ensuring you are setting realistic goals and timeframes. It is so satisfying, taking a pen or highlighter and crossing each thing off as it is completed, and is a clear reminder of everything you have achieved.

This past year I have experienced a whole range of emotions and the support and guidance that Derek Lauder, Director at Rutherford Cross, has given me has been invaluable. With a combination of structured training sessions, on the job feedback and 5-minute coffee catch-ups; I have developed immensely, and I know that he is always there to discuss any questions or concerns I may have.


Use your Network

People like helping people. If your colleague knows someone, ask them for an introduction, or look at who your mutual connections are on LinkedIn. A warm introduction is more likely to be successful than a cold email or call.

If you are given the opportunity to attend networking events, make the most of them; request an attendee list, if appropriate, and introduce yourself to as many people as possible.

At Rutherford Cross, we support our communities through our fantastic events programme. We run virtual events such as Next Generation CFO and Interim Roundtables; as well as in person events in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, including  Planning Your Career Journey. We also support a range of charities with informal events such as Charity Football tournaments and our annual Leon Smith Tennis Event.


Celebrate the Small Wins

As much as we all wish it could, unfortunately not everything will always go to plan, so make sure you celebrate the small wins; getting a new role on, finding a great candidate or setting up client meetings with people you may not have worked with previously. These may all seem like very small things, but looking for the positives in every day can change your whole outlook and perspective. If today wasn’t a great day, there is always tomorrow.

At the Livingston James Group we put a big focus on our core values. We have found that if you are continuing to live by them each day, there will be positive outcomes. Supporting colleagues, clients and candidates, as well as the wider community, will continue to help you build strong relationships and bring you small wins each day – even if it’s as small as grabbing a coffee to catch up.


Consider Mentoring

Having someone acting as your mentor can be invaluable. They can help in many ways: giving advice and guidance, supporting you to achieve long term goals, sharing their experiences with tricky situations etc. As part of the wider Livingston James Group, we are surrounded by a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Mentoring is not something I had considered when joining Rutherford Cross, but I found myself turning to Livingston James Director, Sophie Randles for advice, as she is someone I respect and admire. Mentoring can take many different forms; I know many of my peers reach out to other senior consultants they admire to get advice and guidance. For me, mentoring is setting up an hour’s session once a quarter to discuss specific topics and ask questions. I prepare a list of questions around experiences, how to approach certain situations and general advice, which we discuss during our session. Others have a less formal approach and will grab a coffee for half an hour every few weeks to catch up.

I have been extremely lucky to be surrounded by an excellent team, and the support I have received is great. Can recruitment be hard? Yes. Will you get knocked back? Yes. But the highs definitely outweigh the lows. It can be an emotional rollercoaster, and surrounding yourself with the right people inside and outside of work will make it a whole lot easier.

I once heard someone refer to recruitment as “champagne and razor blades.” That might be the case for some businesses but not necessarily all. The champagne I can agree with; celebrating all the big and small wins has allowed me to have some incredible experiences. The razor blade side, not so much. Maybe that’s because I have been lucky enough to feel comfortable sharing how I am feeling when I have been overwhelmed and, as such, have been well prepared to handle new and challenging situations.

It has been a great first year with Rutherford Cross; I have learnt a lot, both professionally and personally, and I look forward to seeing what the next year will bring!


If you are interested in a career in recruitment, please get in touch with our team to see whether Rutherford Cross could be a good fit, or visit our careers page for more information.

E: [email protected] or [email protected]

T: 0131 603 8111