Livingston James Group Graduate Scheme – Discovering a Career in Recruitment

Livingston James Group graduate trainee, Rachel Sim, shares her thoughts on her first three-month rotation with the Group’s executive search arm, Livingston James.

In October 2021, fresh out of University, I began my new role as Business Graduate for the Livingston James Group (LJG). The graduate scheme consists of four rotations around the brands of the Group (Livingston James, Hamilton Forth and Rutherford Cross), and finally three months spent within marketing and operations to complete the twelve-month programme.

With a background in marketing and communications, I hadn’t  considered recruitment as a career path until I came across LJG’s job advert on LinkedIn.  I was attracted to apply due to the variety of work and training opportunities that the graduate scheme offered. During each rotation of the graduate scheme, I would be mentored by a different individual, expanding the range of skills and leadership styles I would be exposed to.

Throughout the stages of the application process, my affinity for the business grew  due to the team’s welcoming and engaging manner and the company culture which they all exuded. Before long I was packing to move to Glasgow to start my new role.

Opportunities to Learn

Prior to starting with Livingston James Group, I had very little understanding of how the organisation operated or the processes involved in executive search. As the first graduate scheme employee for LJG there was a deal of flexibility around what responsibilities I would have, with open conversation between myself and the Livingston James team as to what I would enjoy and benefit from working on.

I have been fortunate to be exposed to a range of projects and responsibilities, assisting with market mapping, recruitment processes, marketing and research. Only by having the opportunity to be involved with such a range of projects am I starting to determine which aspects of the job I enjoy most.

One of the aspects I have enjoyed most has been research and market mapping. This is the process of building a target list of potential suitable candidates for a particular role and is typically developed using internal networks, CRM systems and online searches that result in headhunting. Working on a variety of projects as a Researcher has widened my understanding of the range of roles within an organisation and how responsibilities are distributed amongst employees.

This process also allowed me to research clients’ competitors and other organisations, developing understanding and knowledge of a vast array of sectors. This part of the recruitment is centred around data, whereas the next stage of the process is much more interactive and enables the Consultant to start to develop relationships with candidates; something I have thoroughly enjoyed.

At Livingston James Group, quality of relationships rather than quantity, is key. This culture enables Consultants and Researchers to spend time understanding individuals’ talents and motivations for a role, and ultimately to ensure the most suitable candidate is selected – someone who will have a lasting positive impact on the organisation.

I have learned that investing time in getting to know clients and candidates is the most rewarding thing you can do as a Search Consultant. It takes a long time to build your network but putting the time in to understand each individuals’ needs ensures the best possible outcome for all parties.

Professional Development

Throughout my initial rotation within Livingston James, I have also enjoyed studying Jim McNeish’s human potential psychology modules which have helped me to not only better understand different personality types, but also better understand myself and my workplace and relationship preferences.

LJG places great emphasis on continuous professional and personal development and I have been impressed by the opportunities available to me so far. These are typically fairly informal in nature and allow sharing of ideas and learning – something which is very valuable to me at this stage of my career and I look forward to continuing this journey in the remainder of my Graduate Programme.

What’s Next?

Although I had not previously considered recruitment as a career path, I have become passionate about working in this sector and developing my skillset.

I have recently transitioned from the executive search specialist brand Livingston James, to my next role with the Group’s digital and technology recruitment specialists, Hamilton Forth giving me the opportunity to experience recruitment within another industry and at a mid – senior level as opposed to executive. I look forward to developing my skills in the recruitment industry over the next eight months of the graduate programme.


If you are interested in a career in recruitment or to find out more about Livingston James Group’s Graduate Programme, contact [email protected] for a confidential discussion.

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