What does “people-first recruitment” actually mean?

Posted on Monday, April 19, 2021 by Andrea Prendergast

Every now and again, you have to step back and think about how far you've come, what you’re doing and where you’re trying to get to. Having completed a planned management buy-out of Ryder Reid Legal in 2018, my colleague and business partner, Callum Smith, and I had wanted to re-evaluate and revise the brand. We wanted to create something in our own image, something for the future and this latest chapter in the Ryder Reid story.

Like most other businesses, the lockdown had a big impact on us, even with our people working safely from home, we continued to operate as normally as possible, supporting our clients and candidates through what was an enormously disruptive and challenging time.

Positive change

With much having changed so dramatically in such a short time, we decided it really was time to think about what we were doing and where we were trying to get to, not just for our sake, but so that we could continue to meet the needs of our law firm clients and candidates.

To help us, we worked closely with Working Wonder, a London-based consultancy that drives positive, transformational change for businesses and their most important asset – their people. Our main aim and focus was our vision, mission, purpose and values, as well as our USP (unique selling proposition) – what makes us different.

Value judgement

We’re driven by our values and won’t ever compromise them. We’re committed to quality and strive to be the best, as it helps our law firm clients and candidates. We take responsibility and leave no stone unturned. We’re honest and make decisions because it’s the right thing to do, not because it suits our interests. We believe that we can achieve great things when we establish strong relationships with law firm clients and candidates.

What else do we stand for? We champion equality, diversity and inclusion. We recruit from as wide a talent pool as possible; it enables our clients to find the best talent. We’ve signed the Recruitment Agency Race Fairness Commitment, which seeks to ensure that black and minority ethnic candidates are treated fairly and equally throughout the recruitment process and given the opportunity to succeed.

We also champion flexible working, because we recognise that balancing professional and personal responsibilities is challenging. Both Callum [Smith – Ryder Reid co-owner] and I are both working parents, so we appreciate the benefits of working flexibly.

People first

I’m often asked what is the secret to successful recruitment and the answer is a simple one – people. If you connect the right people to the right opportunities, great things can happen.

We provide a “people-first” recruitment experience. It helps to make us different. We focus on people not positions and place people at the centre of the recruitment experience. We listen carefully to find out about their wants and needs. If you don’t do that, you won’t connect people to the right opportunities.

We’re a trusted recruitment partner for many leading US, international and UK law firms, including Magic Circle members. We help them to find the people they need to succeed. The fit must be right – it’s not just about experience or qualifications.

Right decisions

We also help candidates to find exciting new roles, maximise their earnings and achieve their full potential, but the opportunity must be right if that is to happen. We never send candidates for jobs for which they’re not suited. There really is no point.

We want to make recruitment as quick, stress-free and successful as possible. We work hard to get the best results for law firms and candidates. That’s more important than our fee, because we want to build long-term relationships with both. That’s only possible when decisions are made for the right reasons. Always putting people first enables us to do that.

Written by Andrea Prendergast, Ryder Reid Legal co-owner and Executive Search Director. Andrea started her recruitment career in 1998 in her hometown of Liverpool. She moved to London and joined Ryder Reid Legal in 2008, becoming a Director and shareholder three years later, before buying the business in 2018 with colleague, Callum Smith, Ryder Reid Legal Business Director.

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