Scaling Peaks and Careers: Lessons from Munro Bagging

Rutherford Cross Consultant, Ally Deas illustrates his personal experience climbing Scotland’s Munros, connecting his approach to hiking with how he operates in his day-to-day life working for one of Scotland’s leading search and selection businesses.

Walking up a hill is so much more than a physical challenge; for me, it is a journey that teaches essential skills and imparts valuable lessons. Throughout this blog, I will explore how these lessons can also apply to my everyday life at Rutherford Cross.

‘Munro bagging’, the pursuit of climbing all 282 Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet in height from sea level, is a test of endurance, strategy, and resilience. As a recruitment consultant at Rutherford Cross, my daily journey might not take me up rugged peaks, but it shares remarkable similarities.


Setting the Foundation for Success

Planning is the cornerstone of any successful Munro expedition. You need to determine which mountains to climb, the route,  travel logistics, equipment, and much more. Similarly, as a recruitment consultant, planning my approach to a candidate and client management is paramount. Identifying potential candidates, understanding their career aspirations, and aligning them with the right opportunities requires a strategic plan. The better the plan, the smoother the climb; and the more successful the placement!


Navigating Complex Paths

Navigating the rough terrains of Munros requires proficiency in map reading. It’s about understanding the lay of the land and plotting the best route to the summit. In the world of recruitment, this skill translates to understanding the job market landscape and searching thoroughly to find the best talent. You need to be adept at reading market trends, understanding industry demands, and identifying the most promising candidates. This navigational expertise enables consultants like myself to guide clients and candidates effectively, ensuring a successful journey for both parties.


Tailoring Approaches for Different Landscapes

Every Munro is unique, with its own set of challenges and rewards, requiring the hiker to approach each one differently from the last. Similarly, every client and candidate is different and requires a tailored approach. Understanding the varied landscapes of industries, company cultures, and individual career paths allows us to provide bespoke advice and support. Recognising these differences is key to making meaningful connections and impactful placements.


Understanding Weather Conditions and Adapting to Change

Weather can be unpredictable in the mountains, and being prepared for sudden changes is crucial. Similarly, the recruitment industry is subject to fluctuating market conditions. We must be adaptable, and ready to pivot strategies when faced with unforeseen challenges such as shifts in the job market or changes in client requirements. By anticipating and adapting to changes, consultants can better support their clients and candidates, ensuring that they are well-prepared for any eventuality.


Researching Routes: Informed Decision-Making

Before setting out on a hill walk, I invest time in researching routes, reading trip reports, and gathering information about the terrain. This preparation ensures I can make informed decisions and avoid potential hazards. Thorough research is equally vital in recruitment as you will need to have an understanding of the specifics of each role, the culture of the hiring organisation, and the career aspirations of candidates, all of which allow for better matching and informed recommendations.

We are encouraged to diligently research and gather intelligence about markets and clients so we can provide superior guidance and high-quality placements. This research-oriented approach ensures that both candidates and clients are well-informed and well-prepared, leading to successful and lasting placements.


Reading Reports and Learning from Experience

One of the greatest shortcuts in life is to listen to those who have excelled in their field for years. Reading trip reports from others who have tackled the same peaks, gives me insights into potential pitfalls and best practices.  In comparison, being surrounded by excellence and some of the best in the game at Rutherford Cross has been instrumental in my development as a recruitment consultant. Staying up to date with industry reports, market analyses, and feedback from past recruitment cycles is invaluable. These reports help anticipate market movements, understand evolving client needs, and refine recruitment strategies.

By applying the lessons of Munro bagging—planning, organising, understanding the market, and thorough research—we equip ourselves to better serve our clients and candidates. We become trusted advisors, capable of navigating the complexities of the job market with confidence and expertise.


For more information on how Rutherford Cross can help you in your next career move, or if you are looking for recruitment support to expand your team, please reach out for a confidential discussion: [email protected].

Ally is also in charge of training for Livingston James Group’s Corporate Challenge this year. In September, we will be hiking Ben Nevis (16km of walking with a 1,345m climb) followed by a 7km canoe paddle, in aid of The Outward Bound Trust. To find out more or to donate, please click here.