Living and Learning…with Ruby Mulvaney


Living and Learning…with Ruby Mulvaney

Ruby started at Saragossa in January 2018, and has since progressed from Trainee to full Consultant. She tells us how important it is as a recruiter to learn to stick to your guns, as well as taking us through some of the highs and lows.

How have you developed your own specific style of working/unique client base?

My working style focuses mostly on reaching out to smart people and having actual conversations with them. Ultimately that’s the foundation of what I do, and that helps me to piece together the puzzle and make the connections between the right candidates and clients. I have yet to specialise in any one area of FinTech – I’m not yet 10 months into this, so I am reluctant to narrow my options too soon.

At the moment, my client base is made up of a couple of pre-existing accounts. So far, any other clients that I am building are all based on relationships with previous candidates who may need to hire within their own department further down the line.

How does Saragossa’s approach differ from that used by other recruiters?

I don’t know much about any other recruitment consultancies, or how they function. But I have heard horror stories (for lack of a better word). Other small/boutique agencies also exist, but we don’t just do mass sweeps of every developer or every engineer or every person with a particular job title, we want to make a good impression with every hire.

Saragossa doesn’t try to be ‘all things to all people’. You get that impression from big, faceless recruitment companies – the ones that have hundreds of people internationally working within multiple ‘verticals’ – and that’s okay, because those companies are important too. But we personally don’t just pour applicants at roles and hope one candidate in every hundred fit – that’s the opposite of Saragossa.

What advice would you give to yourself back when you were first starting out in recruitment?

I would tell myself to trust my gut more and push back when people challenged me.

Of course, those are both things that you learn with experience, but when I started it was important for me to be pleasing people, especially clients, and sometimes that meant biting my tongue even when I really disagreed with something. I am getting better at pushing back now, but it can be difficult.

What’s been the most difficult thing about working in recruitment so far?

The most difficult part is the rejections. It can really cast a negative shadow on your day, and sometimes your week. Whether it’s a candidate rejecting the role or a client rejecting a candidate, when something you were sure was going to come together falls through, that’s tough. When everything’s going well you feel on top of the world, but when you aren’t quite able to make it happen it can affect you for a little while.

You’re working with human beings at every stage of the process, so you’re constantly working to put things together knowing that at any minute somebody might change their mind or get influenced by something else. So many things are out of your control but when they go wrong it’s easy to still let yourself feel responsible. I know I’m definitely not to blame that a candidate has changed their mind about the new commute time, but I wish they’d thought about it sooner. The obvious solution is just to try not to let these sorts of things bother you too much – but that’s easier said than done sometimes.

What do you love most about recruitment?

I love picking up the phone and speaking to intelligent and articulate individuals, that’s it, that’s my favourite thing about every day. These people have spent their lives working with these complex technologies that I would never be able to comprehend, so the opportunity to work with them and learn even a little bit about how these technologies work is fun for me. I also love going into the city to meet these people – for dinner, drinks, or even just coffee. That’s a really fun and exciting part of my job, and I particularly love that I was trusted to go to these meetings even when I was still fairly junior.

I’m an empathetic person, and I genuinely want to know about the preferences and the backgrounds of these individuals. I like to ask why. I think that the why is the most important part.

What are a few things that you still want to work on/improve about your recruitment approach going forwards?

I am still learning how to push back at people for decisions I don’t agree with, but that’s tougher than I thought it would be. I think the hardest thing is that recruitment can be very up and down, and it is very easy to be knocked back by negative feedback or remarks from anyone. I still feel quite inexperienced, but I am really trying, and finding somebody a new job that they enjoy – along with a boost on their last salary – keeps me on cloud nine for weeks.

I want to work on my confidence, and convince myself that I really am as good as plenty of recruiters who have already been in this game for a while. I’ll get there eventually.

Saragossa are a talent provider specialising in the Financial Technology, Financial Operations and Data Science sectors. Our role is to match clients with high calibre candidates. Our work encompasses filling temporary contracts along with building permanent teams and resourcing projects. To find out more, please contact or call 020 7871 3666.

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