We caught up with our fun and outgoing recruiter Rachel Huey this week. We talked about everything from what motivates her to her proudest moment on the job.
How did you become a legal recruiter?
With some incredible luck and timing, I fell into the business right out of college. I majored in advertising in school but realized quickly that an agency job wasn’t going to be the career that really worked for me. So instead, I applied for a communications-oriented job that a legal recruiter had posted online on behalf of one of her clients in the Dallas area.
When I met with her, we had a lot to talk about but also agreed that the posted position wasn’t a fit for me. She then inquired whether I would be interested in working under her to learn to recruit professionals in the legal community. I said yes and, three years later, it’s still the best decision I have ever made. This job is not for the faint of heart, but it’s the best.
What’s been your favorite placement and why?
My favorite placement was the first time I placed a friend candidate with a friend client. One of my great friends was looking for an associate to start with his high-end litigation boutique, and I had another friend who was less-than-happy at her current gig. She was grinding it out at her firm and felt more like a pencil pusher than an advocate for her clients. She mentioned to me in passing over happy hour that she was kinda-sorta keeping her eyes out for a change, something with the right kind of work and culture fit. Though I knew the both of them from what felt like opposite ends of the universe, a light bulb went on.
This was the first time it didn’t feel like a formal process with marching orders and intense candidate searches; it was just natural. I made the introduction and the placement was easy and seamless. I think that was the moment I really understood what this job was about. The more I work to develop relationships with individual clients and candidates, the less it feels like work.
What’s been the hardest lesson you had to learn as a recruiter?
The hardest lesson I’ve had to learn is one that I’m still learning everyday! Patience, patience, patience…
What’s the best part of your day at work?
This answer will be all-too-typical: The best part of my day at work is when I’m talking to people. There’s a good bit of investigating and paperwork involved to keep this business running, but it’s “go time” when a meeting is coming up on my daily calendar. I have so many fantastic, outstanding, bomb.com (I could go on…) candidates, clients and colleagues that I get to spend my days chatting with, day in and day out. We are all heavily involved with the game of musical chairs that is a constant in the industry, and through our daily conversations about strategy and movement, I can better understand my clients and candidates. I also have awesome rapport with my teammates that’s really invaluable. All of this collaboration is not only fun and exciting, but it really helps everyone to move forward in the end.
What been your favorite trip you’ve taken as a recruiter?
I loved going to Seattle for the NALP convention in 2013. It was my first time to Seattle, my first time to a NALP event, and my first time to meet some of my West Coast/East Coast/International teammates in person. NALP is a great opportunity to spend time with our clients in a way that isn’t all so down-to-business. Everyone really gets out of their hardcore work mode and enjoys their time with each other, so it was an invaluable experience to go out with my clients and teammates to parties and dinners. To top it off, Seattle was one of the greatest cities I’ve visited to date.
What motivates you to get up and get to work in the morning?
To chase the feeling of my first placement. =)
If I wasn’t a recruiter, I’d be a ____________.
Hmm all ambition aside, I’d have to pick between two occupations:
1) This one is really out of left field, but I’d love to arrange scores or manage talent casting for films. I’m a huge movie buff, so to be able to do this relationship/personality/qualifications matching process in the film industry would be a dream. As far as soundtracks go, I’m always the person that puts together the playlist for any upcoming event. My friends know better than to ask me to head up decorating or cooking for a party (it’s just not a good idea), but I can pack a punch with music like nobody’s business.
2) I’d also love to be a flight attendant for British Airways or Emirates. I have a number of friends that work for both airlines and their lives seem way cooler than mine! On Tuesday they’ll post a picture from a cafe in Venice, and by Friday they’re on the Great Wall of China. They also meet thousands of really interesting people, so what’s not to like? (Other than airplane food…)
What’s been your proudest moment in the legal field?
My proudest moment to date was my first placement. I didn’t end up in legal recruiting like most of my colleagues who have a backgrounds working as lawyers/paraprofessionals, so it was a really nerve wracking situation to jump into this industry feet first and in the deep end. In fact my first boss’ favorite story to tell about me was on my first day as a legal recruiter when I shyly poked my head into her office to ask a “stupid question”. She responded the way all mentors do, by assuring me there is no such thing as a stupid question. So I asked, “What is litigation?” She didn’t fall out of her chair (as she should have), but needless to say I had a huge learning curve in front of me. In spite of that, about three weeks later I successfully made my first placement (a litigation candidate, nonetheless), and I was on top of the world.
You can find Rachel on Twitter, keeping you updated on the latest legal trends, or reach her at *protected email* for a conversation and career advice.