New York - it’s a State of Mind, 18 Months in the Big Apple!


When I reflect on my first blog for Elliott Scott HR, I was only just settling into a new country, and new career.

Since then, I’ve spoken with hundreds of HR professionals through recruiting senior roles in Legal and Financial Services markets across the US, and successfully “matched” many great candidates with amazing roles at global clients. I have helped co-host 3 major Elliott Scott HR events with Arcadia Consulting at the Empire State Building and facilitated roundtables in partnership with for our network of talented HR professionals. All this in addition to surviving the subway, achieving a credit rating to be proud of, attending major US sporting events, ticking off some of the 50 states and meeting some incredible friends and colleagues. 

Through my journey as an HR recruiter and a New Yorker, here are some of the things I have learnt:

1) Embrace the new but never lose sight of the old: I’ve continued to build new professional and personal networks here and it’s been incredibly satisfying. However, in the craziness of day-to-day life, it’s important to maintain touch with your old friends and colleagues - no matter how far away they are. I’m fortunate to have a global network, but staying in touch takes time and effort, it’s hard but crucial. 

2) Resumes: There continues to be a view that to appeal to a hiring manager in the US, one needs to “Americanize” a CV; confining it to one page. How does a senior candidate convey 10+ years of valuable experience on one page effectively, with enough detail to raise interest? Short answer- you can’t. So far, my clients have the same opinion. The best approach continues to be: review the job description, tailor your CV to highlight the requirements you fulfil and account for any career gaps (which are not a bad thing). 

3) Knowledge is power: I’ve accumulated huge amounts of knowledge about variations in the candidate market nation-wide, via working on roles in NYC, Chicago, Washington, LA and even Kansas City. It has been fascinating to observe workforce trends across Financial Services such as the impact of relocating functions to low-cost locations, mergers/ acquisitions and the rethinking of RPO models. It has also been exciting to see law firms in particular, be more open on candidate industry backgrounds and requests for flexibility. These are times of change. My previous experience as a Legal HR Manager and in-house recruiter has been invaluable – particularly when dealing with partnership environments! I’m looking forward to learning more. 

4) Communicate, communicate, communicate: This can be regular text, email, call, or in the world of social media, a “like” or a “comment”. The overwhelming positive piece of feedback from my candidates, is that there is no such thing as an “over-communicator” in the job process. As a candidate myself in the past, I always appreciated hearing some news, even if it was “no news”. The same applies with friends and family, the regular “are you ok?” WhatsApp from my Mother has been avoided with a quick weekly “hello”!

5) Resilience: My skin is now tougher than ever before (and not just due to the harsh weather!). People are not robots and are unpredictable. To survive, you need to quickly work through some of your natural emotional reactions and just move on. 

6) Remain emotionally connected: Never lose sight of your empathetic side. It will serve you well. Letting the knocks impact you slightly is not a bad thing, you will become stronger - it just might take some time to work out what lesson you are learning! I’m an example of someone who took a risk, whilst maintaining an open mind and a “growth mind-set”. I’ve learnt from a few falls (which taught me a lot about anti-fragility) and some emotional moments but what an amazing experience I’ve had.

7) Life is fast, very fast, grasp it: Speed and quick decisions are everything. The pace of life in NYC is rapid. Candidates are on the market/off the market, friends are arriving/departing and companies relocating/building/merging. It isn’t always easy but you need to prioritise and plan.

I signed off my last article with the statement “once you make it here (NYC), there’s nothing you can’t do.” One of my recommendations when it all seems a bit overwhelming is to walk along the streets and just “look up”. One glimpse of the iconic skyline and you’ll have a sense of wonder - this is a city, like no other. It is a place that teaches us new things every day. We can apply this to our work as well, taking a moment to look at the big picture and appreciate all the learning opportunities. As Ferris Bueller says “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.

So, to all my candidates and clients reading this, as we head into 2020 together – I would urge you to listen, watch, communicate constantly, and ensure you are the author of your story by telling it well and value trusted relationships always. Most importantly - enjoy it!

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