Bally Sethi is the Head of Legal Search at ITHR Group and the winner of Permanent Consultant of the Year at the 2014 IRP Awards
RM: Congratulations on your award. How has 2014 been?
Thank you! It’s been a really good year – a bit of a roller coaster. We’ve been so busy with work in the Middle East and most of our focus has been there.
RM: You’re a qualified lawyer – what was the impetus for becoming a recruiter?
When I finished uni, I was very much encouraged to go down the barrister route, but my heart was never in it. I was interviewing for pupillage, but before I started, I was looking for legal recruitment positions. I enjoyed working in a more commercial environment, and I knew fairly early on that was what I wanted to do.
RM: What are some of the challenges of recruiting for the Middle East?
Culturally, it’s very different, and you’ve got to very mindful of that. It’s a bit harder out there because it’s very relationship-orientated, especially in legal recruitment.
I work more as a talent scout and I cherry-pick candidates I think are very good, and take them to companies they want to work for. From there, you start to build relationships with people out there. If you’re doing a good job and finding good candidates, they will keep coming back to you.
RM: What is the biggest challenge facing the recruitment industry?
Everybody seems to be hiring and there’s a massive demand for talent, but there’s a shortage of candidates. Law firms are very keen to retain their top guys and it’s very difficult to tempt people across.
RM: What piece of advice would you give your younger self on her first day?
Pay it forward. This is an industry about building relationships and building connections. If somebody calls me up on the evening or in the weekend seeking advice, you’ve got to do those things to build up your network, even if you don’t get a placement. I find that has really helped me this year: Most of those relationships started that way and are now transactional.
RM: What does 2015 hold?
We need to hire more staff and adding to the team and making it grow. My focus will remain in the Middle East and we need more to cover London and the US market as well.