Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
Jemma Rawlins, associate director HR – Home Counties and South of England, Hudson 22/08/2012
Career interview with Jemma Rawlins, associate director HR – Home Counties and South of England, Hudson.
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Brief CV history
List your last four jobs:
- Hudson – Associate Director – Nov 2011
- Hudson – Managing Consultant – Jan 08 – Oct 2011
- Hudson – Principal Consultant – Dec 06 – Dec 07
- Hudson – Senior Consultant – Dec 05 – Nov 06
Q & A interview questions
Q. When you were a kid, what was your career dream?
A. It was probably the same as thousands of five year old girls… a nurse, policewoman or of course a princess.
Q. How did you get to where you are now?
A. After graduating from university with a Spanish and French degree, I knew I wanted to do something consultative, and people focused. I was also keen to make a difference to people’s lives – in one way or another. I was very fortunate to be accepted on a recruitment graduate scheme shortly after graduating. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Q. Who inspired you along your career journey, and why?
A. A friend of mine was working in recruitment and told me about the day-to-day realities of recruitment, including the highs and just as importantly the lows of the job. She pointed out that if you were passionate about helping people in realising their potential, the job was highly rewarding. Twelve years later I’ve not looked back. I’ve had many mentors throughout my career, each inspiring me along the way for different reasons.
Q. Why did you join your current organisation?
A. I had started studying for my CIPD while I was at my previous employer and I really wanted to apply the HR knowledge I had gained from this in a professional, knowledgeable and supportive environment. Hudson’s HR team had a great reputation in these respects so it was an easy decision for me to join Hudson.
Q. Describe your typical day.
A. Is there ever a typical day in recruitment?
It varies so much – no two days are the same. Generally it can range from being out of the office meeting clients and candidates or attending various networking and HR events, to working with the team behind the desk to drive new initiatives in line with our strategy and brand.
Q. What’s your greatest achievement?
A. Delivering a particularly difficult brief for a client, or finding a candidate their dream job is always really rewarding. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to achieve in this respect throughout my career, but if I do have to highlight one big achievement, it would be receiving the 2012 Hudson Chairman’s Award for collaboration. I think to an extent it sums up all my smaller achievements!
Q. What are your biggest challenges?
A. Telling candidates that they’ve not got the job is one of the hardest parts of being a recruiter, particularly when you know how much they wanted it. I suppose the flip side of this is that it does make placing a candidate even more rewarding, but it doesn’t make telling someone a client has gone with another candidate any easier!
Juggling everything to fit it all in to the working day is also a huge challenge – it could easily be a 24/7 job. This means it’s even more important to take the time to plan your day; of course with spare time factored in for the numerous urgent things that crop up and require your attention.
Q. What career advice would you give someone aspiring to your role?
A. I would say, knowing your clients, candidates and markets inside-out is critical – you can never know enough about them.
Combine your knowledge with delivering what you say you’re going to deliver, and you will be on a sure-track to success. It sounds simple, but I’m still amazed at the number of new clients and candidates we acquire because someone else didn’t take the time to listen to their needs and then manage their expectations properly.
Of course, some setbacks in recruitment are inevitable, but it’s how you handle and communicate these that will make you stand out – in the market, but also within your own organisation. It’s much easier to be passed over for promotion if you’re not demonstrating you’re committed to achieving the goals that you’ve said you would.
- Book(s): Anything that will make me cry – don’t ask me why!
- Website(s): Facebook - probably because I can never know too much about what’s going on!
- Music: All the usual suspects... Take That, Kylie, Madonna, Coldplay... although Jason Donovan was the first person I ever saw in concert!
- TV programme/film: The Apprentice is always fun to watch, particularly when there are recruitment consultants in the group!