A new career in recruitment in New York City
Aleea Cherry spent close to a decade working within the legal industry, with seven years spent working as an asset finance attorney. Now an executive recruiter in the legal division at Robert Walters New York, Aleea shares how she transitioned from an attorney to recruitment and what traits are essential to succeed as a recruiter at Robert Walters.
Where did you work before joining Robert Walters?
I worked as an attorney at a national law firm in the UK for seven years before moving to New York City. A friend of mine who had worked in recruitment suggested that I consider it as a career. I didn’t realise just how in-demand people with industry experience are in recruitment but when you think about it, it does make a lot of sense –attorneys know that I understand their hiring challenges, motivations and career aspirations, because I used to be in their position.
Why did you want to work for Robert Walters?
I’d moved to a new city and I was looking for a career that would give me a fresh outlook and the opportunity to learn new skills, whilst also utilising the transferable skills I had developed as an attorney. Recruitment felt like it would give me that.
I already knew Robert Walters –in fact, I’d had a positive experience as a candidate many years ago, so I knew the company had an exceptional reputation in the recruitment industry. I saw an advertisement on LinkedIn for the role of executive recruiter in the legal team in New York and I decided to apply.
I’d looked at other recruitment firms during my job search but what really stood out to me was the way Robert Walters is structured. The team-based commission model strongly encourages teamwork and collaboration. When I was offered a role, I knew it would be the right choice for me at this stage in my career.
How were your skills transferable?
As an attorney, you are a consultant and your clients rely heavily on the advice you provide on a daily basis. The role of a recruitment consultant is very similar in this respect. You’re providing expert advice and guiding your candidates though what is a very important event in their life as well as their career.
Because of my experience as an attorney, I’m able to build credibility with clients and candidates quickly, and that trust is so important when I am advising candidates on how they can progress in their careers or helping a hiring manager find the right person for their team.
I love being able to draw on my experiences as a job seeker and an attorney when I’m helping and advising candidates on how to take the next step in their career. So, I really value the fact that building long-term relationships is a key focus at Robert Walters. We’re helping candidates not just find their next job but also to map out their career goals.
When I talk to candidates I remember the questions or misconceptions I had myself when I was looking to take that next step in my career, but now I have the knowledge and experience to be able to help talented attorneys find their next outstanding role.
Another skill that is essential for both attorneys and recruiters is organisation. In recruitment, we’re working with multiple candidates, clients and accounts at any one time, so you need to be organised to ensure you’re delivering a consistently high service. But it’s also what makes every day so interesting and fulfilling and I love the variety that every day brings.
What qualities do you think are essential to succeeding as a recruiter at Robert Walters?
You need to be personable and always remember you’re not just selling a product in recruitment. A career change is a really important decision in someone’s life, and we are the trusted advisor working with them as they come to the right decision. Our role is an extremely important one and you have to advise them appropriately and professionally.
Being able to talk to people and engage with them in meaningful conversations is also incredibly important – not just so you can help them find the right person for their business or make the right career choice, but because it helps you to get a deeper understanding of the market and the industry. You are a subject matter expert in recruitment and an industry specialist, so you should always be looking to build your knowledge of the key drivers impacting candidates and clients.
Why would you recommend a career at Robert Walters?
Robert Walters really encourages new thinking and ideas. The collaborative environment spans the globe which means that if you want to experience or live in a new country, you have the support of the business. There’s no limit to the career opportunities at Robert Walters.