- WHEN DID YOU START THE BUSINESS?
The idea for the business was a long time in the making, with the seeds sewn a year or so previously when we were both working at the same legal practice in Cardiff.
We have both practised law for around 20 years as Solicitors and we were each responsible for recruiting staff to join our respective teams.
It was this experience on the client side of engaging with recruiters that made us realise that there was a gap in the market for a consultancy specialising exclusively in legal positions. And in February 2016 we formally established Zest Recruitment & Consultancy.
2. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO START WHEN YOU DID?
As legal practitioners working for some of the country’s most well-known and established law firms, we regularly engaged external recruitment agency’s to help us. However, our experience of working with agencies was not as we had hoped – frustrated by and large by the lack of knowledge and real understanding of the nuances and challenges facing law firms like the last one we were working together at.
That company had grown from two to almost 500 people within 10 years. But although their rate of growth is undeniably impressive, the rate of expansion within many law firms across the country continues to grow apace. In fact, according to The Law Society, the legal sector has grown by 8% in 12 months.
This brings with it a number of key challenges – the procurement of great legal talent to fill the roles that are needed being the most critical.
Most of these roles – two-thirds to be precise – are in solicitor’s firms. But many law firms are under increasing pressure to battle the dual challenges of securing the right talent that they need in the here and now, while retaining that which they already have. This is where we can make a real difference.
3. WHAT MARKETS DO YOU SERVE?
From our bases in Bath and Cardiff, we work with law firms across the South West, Wales and increasingly throughout the North West. We cover all legal disciplines with a particular focus on Litigation, Negligence, Personal Injury, Employment, Commercial Property and Conveyancing.
4. HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF FROM YOUR COMPETITION?
Zest Recruitment & Consultancy is the very first Legal recruitment agency in Wales and the South West that is run by fully qualified legal practitioners. The type of recruitment business that we wanted to engage didn’t exist, so we created it ourselves.
Because we have come from within the legal sector itself, we have a clear advantage over all other recruitment providers operating in the same space. Our understanding is based on a practical experience – we understand the industry intrinsically from ground level to the boardroom, which no other agency can claim.
5. HOW TO YOU GET YOUR NAME ‘OUT THERE’?
Being a specialist recruiter is one thing, but unless we get our name known and recognised, that accounts for nothing. Having been former legal practitioners for almost 40 years between us we have a formidable network of contacts that we are able to tap into, but we’re also very proactive on the promotional side too.
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn combine well to help us raise our online brand awareness and get ourselves on the radar for some of the law firms we would love to partner with.
We also undertake other PR-related activity, both on a regional and national level. For instance, we recently featured in two of the law industry’s most recognised and influential media outlets, as well as appearing in a host of business and local press too. Simply put, the more opportunities we have to be seen, the more recognisable we become and that in itself brings with it an endorsement that we are a recruitment partner of choice.
6. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE BUSINESS IN THREE YEARS?
We have ambitious growth plans for the business but our ambition does not come at a cost to the quality of service we provide.
The business is fast-making a name for itself because of this focus on quality, and we are growing steadily, at the right pace and in the right way and providing we continue like this we will realise our long-term goals sooner.
Rhiannon Cambrook-Woods and Kate Shorney-Morris were interviewed by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins