Why I fell in love with recruitment

Written by Robert Gould  •  Recruitment  •  14 February 2022

Sally Martin

For Resource Solutions’ Client Services Director Sally Martin, what began as a brief flirtation with recruitment turned into a 26-year-long love affair. We spoke to Sally about why she first fell head over heels for the industry, the highlights of her career so far, and how she’s kept the flame burning after all these years.

How did your relationship with recruitment begin?

I fell into recruitment purely by accident. Back in Australia, I applied for a job as an account manager at what I thought was an advertising agency but was actually a very large recruitment agency! I had my interview with their incredible female COO, and I found her to be super inspiring. Meeting her made me excited to explore recruitment further, and she’s one of the key reasons why I got into the industry.

Can you describe your recruitment journey?

I started off as a recruitment consultant at Robert Walters and worked my up to become a manager, then an associate director, and then a director. In 2017, I moved across to Resource Solutions, another arm of the Group, and took over as the Head of Talent Acquisition for the UK and US. As the organisation grew, I got to take on more responsibility around the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Within six months of being in that role, I took over Asia Pacific, and within 18 months, I took on India as well.

I’ve also had the opportunity to be seconded into some of our clients and I’ve recently moved into operations, which is very much the client-facing arm of our business. I’m now Client Services Director, working for an iconic mass media and entertainment brand.

What do you love most about recruitment?

I genuinely can’t think of another industry where you can work with so many like-minded individuals. The people I meet in recruitment are hard-working, driven, vibrant, and have a brilliant a sense of humour. It’s a close-knit challenger culture, but it’s still so much fun as well.

The opportunity to work with incredible brands and industry titans was always hugely appealing to me. I can remember when I started attending client meetings in London and feeling blown away as I stepped into these beautiful buildings. It was so exciting.

Finally, there’s a significant financial reward in recruitment. What you put in, you really do get out. When I first started in the industry, it quickly became evident how many opportunities I had. Plus, as a woman in recruitment, I noticed there was no difference between the financial reward I would earn and what a male colleague would earn. I’ve been in the industry for 26 years, so that was quite a significant thing for me to earn just as much as a man, back in the day.

Where have you travelled to as a recruiter?

Travelling is one of my favourite things about the job. I’ve loved being exposed to different cultures and meeting all kinds of interesting people. I don’t think I would have had so many opportunities to travel if I didn’t work in recruitment.

I’ve lived in Sydney and London, where I worked in recruitment. I’ve enjoyed amazing incentive trips to Barbados, Brussels, Las Vegas and Paris. Plus, whenever I’ve been travelling on my own to somewhere with a Group office – such as Singapore, Manila and Hyderabad – I would always make sure to visit the office in order to meet the friends I’ve made and create a global network. For Resource Solutions, I have spent extended time in Singapore, Manila and Hyderabad to work with my teams in these regions.

What skills have you picked up along your career journey?

Self-awareness. When I was younger, I didn’t realise how much I could impact someone, either positively or negatively. I’ve grown to understand that the way I respond as a leader and work with other departments has a real impact on the people around me, their day and their ability to do their jobs.

In addition, equipping myself with general business acumen has proven to be an invaluable skill. Recruiters make for fascinating dinner party guests, because we can talk about what is the market doing, and what is around the corner. If often floors my family when I’m able to talk about the market and range of companies I work with.

What have been the highlights of your recruitment career so far?

The people I’ve met, without a doubt. A lot of the people I’ve worked with during my 26 years in recruitment are lifelong friends. I’ve worked with several tight-knit and dedicated teams in the past, and when that synergy happens, it’s spectacular.

I’ve also had the privilege of developing the careers of individuals who’ve reported into me, and I’m incredibly proud of where they are today. That’s been really rewarding. I wouldn’t say I’m a natural born leader, but I’ve learned a lot about how to encourage, engage and empower people by observing the exceptional leaders I’ve worked for throughout my career at the Robert Walters Group.

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