Nadia Hemmings is the talent manager for Clarion Solicitors. She will be joining Yorkshire Legal for the first ever Yorkshire Legal Webinar on 6 March, discussing how to attract and retain legal talent.
Can you provide me with a brief overview of your career journey?
I’ve had a bit of a strange career in some ways! I started in recruitment after university and did about five years in agencies. I became a senior consultant quickly, working across many sectors in the Leeds area.
I did my marketing degree, and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do, so I recruited myself into a marketing job with the blessing of my employers. That led to ten years in regional marketing agencies. I became an executive director of the last agency I worked for, who were more East Yorkshire based. We worked with all different types of clients of different sizes, but that was more about developing marketing plans and executing marketing activity.
Then I got the opportunity to retrain as a primary school teacher, which is something I always thought I wanted to do! They were actively looking for people outside of industry, so I gave that a go. I have absolutely no regrets for doing it, but three years was enough. I decided teaching wasn’t for me, although I learned a lot.
Then I was really at a crossroads, and I had to decide what I wanted to do. Did I want to go back into marketing? And the honest answer was that I didn’t really. I really wanted to go back into recruitment, so that’s what I did!
I did six years in a recruitment agency again, but my role evolved a bit, in part due to Covid. My role was still focused on talent acquisition, but I was being asked by my bigger or more regular clients to do a lot broader talent activity with them. Then, I was approached by Clarion. I had been one of their suppliers and they were looking to bring somebody in house to manage talent for the first time. It was just a conversation that really spiralled into exactly what I was looking for.
This is my first in-house role but I’m loving every minute of it. The role is perfect because it brings my marketing and my recruitment career together, which was the real appeal.
“People want transparency in the recruitment process. They want integrity and they want good communication.”
How do you align your talent acquisition strategies with the needs of the legal community in Yorkshire?
Yorkshire isn’t that different from anywhere else in many ways. There are some small differences, some nuances, but I think fundamentally people want the same thing. Whether you’re looking for a lawyer or otherwise, what I hear again and again is just that people want transparency in the recruitment process. They want integrity and they want good communication. Those are the key things that recruiters are pulled up on, because some of them are terrible at it! But if you do those things, it doesn’t matter who you’re recruiting in, because that’s the fundamentals of what people want from the experience.
In Yorkshire, I think the impression you leave on people is far more important than it is in a lot of other places, like London where it’s transactional, because it is such a small market. In the Yorkshire jobs market and legal space, a lot of the work I’m doing is trying to be more proactive about building long-term relationships. Then I’d like to think, when someone is looking to move roles, I’m in a good place to approach them.
The other thing is reputation, because we’re in a small place, reputation really sticks. If you don’t have a good reputation as a firm where people enjoy working, it’s really damaging because people have fewer options, especially because there’s a huge competition for talent. This is one of the reasons Clarion appealed to me because they have a great reputation and deservedly so.
“Because we’re in a small place, reputation really sticks.”
How does your involvement in the legal community motivate and inspire you?
One of my main reasons for joining the legal market was because Clarion was so appealing. Clarion positions itself as being progressive and as a recruiter, that’s brilliant, because there’s so much work to be done in the legal space. We already do so many great things, but that’s not to say we’re doing everything right and we can look to other sectors for inspiration and ideas. The business is very open and constantly changing and improving, which mirrors how I want to work as well.
That really motivates me because I feel like I can really affect change. Specifically in terms of candidate experience, inclusion and some of our more alternative talent acquisition strategies. Not only am I helping Clarion to be better, but I’ve also identified a talent community within the Yorkshire legal space who are willing to collaborate and share ideas. We all have a duty to make the processes better for candidates and we’re in a very privileged position where we can affect someone’s life for the better.
When it’s someone’s career, I see that I have a duty to do the very best that I can for people. That really excites and inspires me.
Don’t forget to register for the Yorkshire Legal Webinar to hear insights from the region’s legal experts on 6 March!