Building a recruitment career in Zurich

Rebecca Clark

Originally from Ireland, Rebecca Clark developed her recruitment career in London, Hong Kong and Singapore before joining Robert Walters Switzerland as a senior consultant in 2015. Rebecca now leads our financial and professional services team for both interim and permanent recruitment in Zurich. We asked her to share her career journey and why she thinks Switzerland is an exciting market for ambitious recruitment professionals.


What attracted you to joining Robert Walters?

I worked for a boutique firm recruiting legal professionals in Asia for eight years before deciding to relocate to Switzerland. I was introduced to Robert Walters by a contact in the industry and, after going through the interview process, I was offered the opportunity to join the interim management team as a senior consultant. Previously, I’d specialised in legal recruitment, so I was really excited by the challenge of working in a new sector, particularly one that was experiencing huge growth.

How does recruiting in Zurich differ from markets in Asia?

While the market is perhaps more process-driven in Switzerland, I’d say there are more similarities than differences. Whether you’re in Europe or Asia, establishing strong relationships with clients and candidates is crucial to your success as a recruiter, especially if you specialise in a particular sector. During my time in Singapore, I worked as an in-house legal recruiter, covering a very niche, relationship-driven market. This experience has been beneficial to developing my career at Robert Walters because the Zurich market is also very relationship-driven so establishing strong connections with your clients is crucial. Similarly, each candidate you meet has the potential to become a client so it’s important to invest time in building those relationships and ensure you’re adding value. 

What does an average day involve?

Typically, I begin the day with a coffee and a team meeting. The rest of the morning usually involves me speaking with clients and candidates, either face to face or over the phone. In my division, the work is very diverse and, on the interim side, our clients require roles to be filled within a short-time frame. I love the diversity this brings to my role, but it means I have to keep organised to stay on top.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

On a daily basis, I’m working with a range of professionals across Switzerland on really exciting and challenging projects. My role focuses on the legal and compliance within financial services, which I find really fascinating. In addition, across the team we are working with large and smaller consulting firms, new and disruptive technologies as well as core banking roles. These are established industries, so introducing a new approach to recruitment, such as interim can be a challenge. However, I really enjoy explaining the benefits of this service to clients and helping them to see how it can add value to their business.

How would you describe the culture in the Zurich office?

Teamwork is rewarded across the business and that’s really reflected in the Zurich office. We’re quite a small office and a really close-knit team. However, it’s a very mature environment and although people work closely together, everyone takes personal responsibility for their area of the business. We’re also a very social team arranging events around the year and in the Summer, we make use of the BBQ on our office balcony! 

What’s the best thing about working at Robert Walters? 

There are so many opportunities. Switzerland is an international hub, which makes it a very interesting market as you’re working across a very board range of cultures. Working for a global company means you also have an international network to tap into. The company offers consultants the opportunity to transfer internationally after two years’ service. I really like the fact that there are so many directions to take your career. Whether you want to make an international move, progress to a management position or develop into a new area of the business, you’re offered the support and guidance you need from the management team. I also really like the fact that there’s strong sense of entrepreneurialism here – people strive to do the best job they can.

What qualities do you need to succeed in recruitment? 

I’d say that you need to be self-motived and organised as well as having the ability to look at the bigger picture. There are a lot of highs and lows in recruitment and, while that makes it an exciting career choice, you can’t let the small errors or missed opportunities hold you back. If you’re able to look at the bigger picture and maintain your drive, you’ll be able to achieve long-term success. 

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