It has been a while since we have shared a ‘5 mins with…’ but with new team members on board, we thought it was high time we found out a little more about one of our newest – HR Recruiter, Briony Jenkins. Briony is a recruitment consultant within our specialist HR team.
Tell us something people might not know about you?
I always like a challenge and set myself a new one every year. I have run a number of marathons, swam two miles in Lake Windermere (that was very cold!) and this year I am walking 50km with Team Totum as well as doing the Great North Run. I was also a guest on Boys and Girls (Channel 4 game show), presented by Vernon Kay and was brought on during the ‘shopping challenge’. I didn’t win and I don’t think the show was a success as it only lasted one season! But it was live TV and pretty scary, so I learnt how to manage my nerves.
Why did you join Totum when you did?
It was the right time. I had been raising my three children and decided to go back to work. I had previously worked for over ten years recruiting fee earners, but I was looking for a smaller firm where I would have a lot more visibility and the work would push me out of my comfort zone. It’s an amazing time to be in recruitment, particularly HR. It’s good to hear about what the new workplace will look like, how hybrid working will work in practice as well as the focus on mental health and wellbeing initiatives. Hybrid working is definitely here to stay – probably a mix of three days in the office and two days from home. It is the first question I am asked by candidates now and some firms will have to change their strategy if they want to retain talent.
What is your background?
I studied marketing at Newcastle University and on graduation joined Addleshaw Goddard in their internal marketing team in Leeds. I really enjoyed it but when I decided to move to London, I joined a recruitment agency supporting their legal team with their onboarding before becoming a recruitment consultant.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
My earliest memory is I wanted to be a lorry driver. I have no idea why – I think life on the road appealed to me! I enjoyed marketing at school – hence why I decided to do a marketing degree – but there is so much choice of jobs out there. I think working for professional services firms shows you just how many different options there are, and that there is much more to these firms than lawyers or accountants.
How did you get into recruiting?
I came to London and my first job was working for a recruitment agency. I quickly felt at home as every day is different and I love working with people, enjoy talking to candidates and having good relationships with the clients. I can really make an impact to someone’s career, sometimes supporting candidates to get into a law firm for the first time – it’s exciting.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
Grab every opportunity and learn as much as you can. Work out what is your main driver and don’t worry if it takes you longer than you think it should to progress… It can take time, so don’t panic. And keep up to date with your networks.
What is your biggest recruitment challenge?
It was during the financial down-turn as my role moved from recruiter to career coach for lawyers. I was recruiting property lawyers at the time, who had always been in demand and suddenly the tap was turned off and redundancies were being made for the first time in their career with little or no other opportunities. It was a difficult time and we had to find alternative roles for them and sometimes complete career changes.
What’s your top tip for candidates?
Always treat an interview as a two-way process. It is as much about you selling yourself and an employer finding out about you, as it is your opportunity to find out whether the role and the company are right for you. A good employer will take the opportunity to impress you too.
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