Hannah is a Consultant in Totum’s specialist HR team, recruiting senior HR and Operations candidates within professional services and law firms.
5 mins with HR recruiter, Hannah Leon Soon
Hannah Leon Soon initially joined Totum to work as a researcher on leadership roles, a role she could easily flex around her children when they were little. She has now joined Totum’s growing People and HR team, specialising in Senior roles. We ask her about the challenges of her new role and her approach to life/work and horses.
Tell us something people might not know about you?
I love horses and riding and have done since I was little. In my mid-twenties I travelled Australia for a year and I worked on Magnetic Island at a Horse Ranch for a month. It was my job to lead the ride to take tourists on a hack through the bush and onto Horseshoe Bay, where we would gallop along the beach. We would then take the saddles off and swim on the horse as a finale. This was every day and I enjoyed it immensely. It’s actually the reason how I had my two front teeth knocked out! Whilst riding a skittish horse too fast, he reared and I got headbutted in my face! Although not my own, I do have front teeth thankfully!
Why did you join Totum when you did?
I joined Totum in 2018. I was referred by my neighbour, as I was looking for a part-time role that I could perform at home as I had two young children. I knew Totum was open to more agile ways of working, even before Covid and hybrid working became a ‘thing’. I started as a researcher and worked with the leadership team on retained projects.
Recruitment wasn’t new to me, as I started my career in the IT sector over 20 years ago, specialising in recruiting both technical and business professionals. Now my children are older, Totum asked if I would be interested in joining the People and HR team as a recruiter and here I am. I really enjoy it.
What is your background?
After school, I went to University and completed a Leisure & Tourism HND. From the age of 16 I knew I wanted to travel and explore the world, so instead of staying at Uni to go onto do a Degree, I decided that I would push to work on a cruise ship – travel whilst getting paid…win win! So, I got in contact with Ocean Images, a Cruise Ship Photography company, and asked if they had any jobs. In the meantime, I put myself on a photography course as I had no photography experience what’s so ever! Six months later they called to say a ship is leaving in two weeks and did I want to be on it!
This was classic ‘learn on the job’. I would take photos of the passengers for embarkation and on deck whilst cruising with glaciers, whales, sunsets etc in the background and also on the formal nights. I was also taught how to print the photos, which I loved. There was a photo lab below deck, and I really enjoyed this part of the job. No Photoshopping back then! I did this for four years and experienced the most amazing places.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
No surprises, I wanted to own lots of horses and be an Equine Vet. I still ride now but not so much unfortunately. My last ride was on an ex-racehorse and I virtually galloped for two hours. It was bliss but couldn’t walk for a week!
How did you get into recruiting?
I had stopped travelling and had just come back from Thailand. My eldest sister was having a baby so I was looking for a role in London where I could settle and be close to family. My sister was working in recruitment, and I joined her as a resourcer focusing on IT recruitment. I then progressed to a recruitment consultant role where I worked for nine years and was the account manager for BBC Worldwide where I recruited Project Managers and IT Business Analysts.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
Work hard and go for your passions. If you want to do something bad enough, do not give up. If you have an idea, find a way to do it and make it happen. There is always more than one way to get to where you want to be and sometimes following the expected Uni/degree route isn’t for everyone.