What does it take to succeed in recruitment?

Adam Woolley

After working for recruitment firms in the UK, Adam Woolley decided to take his career stateside, joining Robert Walters New York in 2017 as an executive recruiter. We talk to Adam about how he got started in recruitment, the benefits of working for a global organisation and what he enjoys most about his career. 

How did you get your start in recruitment?

I initially started my career in sales but I knew others who worked in recruitment – in fact, both my brother and sister work in the recruitment industry. Seeing the variety that a recruitment role offers is what attracted me to making the switch. I liked how you could be speaking to a c-level marketer in a global company one day and then helping a small start-up to build out their team the next. 

I worked in two small recruitment firms in the UK before moving to New York, both with fewer than 100 staff globally. I had the travel bug and wanted to live outside of London, and professionally New York was a great opportunity, especially for anyone looking to try recruitment in a new city – it’s a pretty phenomenal place to live!

Why did you want to work for Robert Walters?

Robert Walters has a reputation for excellence and I was looking for a company that had a global presence. I had heard really great things from other recruiters and from clients as well, so I was excited at the prospect of working somewhere with a positive reputation and a good workplace culture. 

What opportunities are available in the New York office?

I joined Robert Walters New York in January 2017, as a junior executive recruiter and in March this year, I was promoted to senior executive recruiter. 

The business is undergoing huge growth so there’s a lot of opportunities here, especially for professionals in the early stages of their recruitment career. Over the past few years, we’ve worked hard to build a strong client base so growing our team is a really key focus for us at the moment. In the last few months, I’ve been working with my manager, Nick Louca, to implement new mentoring programmes to support our junior team members. It’s really rewarding to be able to work with junior members of staff and help them develop and build their confidence as recruitment professionals. 

What advice would you give to someone considering a move into recruitment?

A career in recruitment can be hugely rewarding but it’s certainly no walk in the park. You need to be committed. So, it’s important to recruit in an area that you’re passionate about. Recruitment is a relationship-driven industry so having a genuine interest in the sector you’re working in and how your client’s business works on a day-to-day basis is really key to building those strong connections. Similarly, understanding how an industry works and maintaining an awareness of the latest trends enables you to really add value to your clients.

I’d also say that it’s important to think about your long-term career goals as that will help you determine whether a company is the right choice for you. For example, working for a global recruitment consultancy like Robert Walters means that you have the opportunity to move into different teams or even internationally. In smaller, boutique firms, access to these kinds of opportunities are more limited. 

What qualities do you think are essential to succeed as a recruiter at Robert Walters?

Being driven is key – you need to be willing to work hard and keep motivated. Professionalism is also an essential trait – it’s not about finding someone a job; it’s about working out the best solution that’s really going to add value to your clients and candidates. 

I think honesty is important as well. If you’re working on a role that isn’t exactly right for your candidate, you need to be able to advise them. In the long run, doing so will earn you a reputable relationship with your candidate and they will refer other great candidates to the business as well.

Why would you recommend a career at Robert Walters New York?

In New York, we have all the benefits of an established business with the marketing resources and global mobility, but there’s also flexibility to create your own market here. New York is so fast-paced. It’s a really exciting place to be and, if you’re willing to get out and meet the right people, you can build a market and a presence pretty quickly.


Interested in a career in recruitment? Please send an up-to-date resume to Liz Boston at liz.boston@robertwalters.co or call +1 415 815 3797.