Spotlight: RedLaw interviews…Jonathan Benjamin, RedLaw Director

By RedLaw | 05 Nov, 2018

As we move towards our 10th anniversary with some exciting plans for growth and expansion for the business, including the launch of a German and Offshore recruitment division, RedLaw Director, Jonathan Benjamin, was recently interviewed about making the decision to venture into the unknown leaving law to set up RedLaw with co founder Amy Hambleton all those years ago, the most important qualities needed as a legal headhunter and the success of RedLaw reaching the finals of 7 awards schemes this year…

 

Before moving into recruitment I never even knew I possessed passion, ambition, and enjoyment in the work place. As a lawyer, I turned up each day working with very nice people in a comfortable office and environment. Was I passionate about what I did? No. Did I enjoy what I did ? Not really. Did I have a burning ambition to become a partner? No. Did all these things bother me ? Yes.

I think the mental process starts a long time before you are actually working as a solicitor. There is a long journey that started years before at university, then law school, a two year training contract and then you have a practising certificate and you are a solicitor. You have finally arrived after a long journey. I guess what I didn’t appreciate, whilst I travelled the path, was that I wouldn’t like the final destination when I got there. I didn’t know you get off or leave during the journey and it’s hard to leave mentally when you arrive somewhere after a long journey! As my father in law told me at the time, “you are a volunteer and can leave at anytime”. However, it’s harder to leave than you think – for me it was fear – fear of what happens if I don’t like recruitment, fear of family and friends perception of what they would think of me changing from a solicitor to recruiter, fear of what it meant financially…… fear, fear, fear. That same wise father in law said to me, “fear is temporary and regret is permanent”. I knew there had to be more to spending 8-10 hours everyday of my life being average at a job (if I am honest with myself), averagely happy and averagely motivated. I took the plunge and moved to legal recruitment and fell in love with recruitment and 15 years later I still jump out of bed everyday with a passion, ambition and enjoyment.

 

What were you doing before you became a legal headhunter?

I was a real estate lawyer leaving private practice at 3pqe.

 

Was there a specific moment which made you decide to leave the law?

I think ‘that moment’ was being brave enough to take the leap of confidence in myself to change careers and venture into the unknown. From early on in my training contract, I wasn’t particularly stimulated by the law. Perhaps, real estate was the wrong practice area for me as it’s quite document focused transactional work. I was always much more a people person and have always been interested in people. I found the law firm environment too sedate for me and too office bound. My gut feeling early on was that it wasn’t for me but I wasn’t brave enough to step off the conveyor belt during my training contract and then I found myself in practice for another 3 years. Two of which were at a smaller regional firm to see if maybe it was the firm rather than being a lawyer. It was the law! As soon as I started in recruitment, Sunday nights changed as I was looking forward to going to work on Monday morning. I found a passion and ambition I never knew I had.

 

Did you consider any other alternatives to headhunting?

Oh yes, I interviewed and was offered many jobs including different practice areas in law, different law firms, as an in-house lawyer, a law school lecturer and I even got offered a role at the CPS! I didn’t know what to do and being a cautious lawyer I wanted to cover all bases before making a final decision.

 

What was it about headhunting that appealed to you? 

Picking up the phone and never knowing where that call might lead you. I speak to, and then meet, very interesting and varied people. At the end of the day, we are all busier than ever and there is nothing more professionally satisfying than speaking to someone on an initial headhunt call to when you help them secure the right move to the right firm for the right role.

 

What are the 3 most essential qualities a person needs to have if they are considering a career in recruitment?

  1. An open and honest approach. Be yourself.
  2. Persistence – often people might not be at their desks or be in open plan or be busy. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to speak it might mean just not then and there. You need to naturally be a persistent and tenacious person.
  3. Hard work – whatever career you are in, hard work equals success. Put plainly the more people you speak to and meet, the more successful you will be.

 

You have recently been awarded Highly Commended status in Recruiter’s ‘Best Professional Services Company to Work For’ award and this year and actually won the same award in 2017. The team has also reached the finals in multiple categories across seven different awards schemes throughout 2018, including Employer of the Year, Service Excellence and Newcomer of the Year. What traits do you think make you stand out from the crowd and how does your approach at RedLaw differ from other headhunters working in the legal sector? What factors would you attribute to your success?

  • Knowledge of the market
  • Hard work again
  • Integrity and honesty in how we recruit. We are giving the right careers advice everytime.

 

How would you describe the RedLaw culture in 3 words?

Honest, supportive and encouraging.

 

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day involves meetings. You might start for breakfast in Green Park followed by lunch in Borough market sandwiched with coffee meetings in Holborn and Liverpool Street. A good recruiter is never in the office too long and as well as getting to see and know London well, you are meeting different people at different stages of their life and career with different personal and professional aspirations.

 

What advice would you give to someone looking to move into headhunting/recruitment?

What are you waiting for? It’s a wonderful varied and rewarding career on all levels. It’s one of the few careers where you can be financially rewarded on the effort and success you personally put in. You are spending your time meeting people and helping them with one of the most important decisions of their life. You can make a difference!

 

What’s the best piece of advice ever given to you?

“Fear is temporary but regret is permanent.”

 

What is your greatest personal or professional achievement to date?

I have two. Personally marrying a very special lady and having my three wonderful children (most of the time!). Professionally, having created, with Amy, a recruitment agency that we know represents true values and integrity and has helped so many people.

RedLaw is actively recruiting to grow the business and we have a number of fantastic roles across all of our teams; Resource, Associate, Partner teams as well as building both a German and Offshore division. If you would be interested in joining an award winning team with an innovative team culture, please do contact us: info@redlawrecruitment.com.

 



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