From Industry Specialist to Recruitment Consultant - Sue's Journey

Sue O'Donovan's headshot

We are always looking for people from any industry and level, whether experienced recruiters or not, to join our growing team in the North of England. But it is a common misconception that people believe they need to have experience in recruitment to join our team. HR Managing Consultant Sue O'Donovan's career story will prove that you don't have to have any prior recruitment experience to have a successful career in recruitment.

Sue O'Donovan, HR Managing Consultant at Nigel Wright Group
Previously Accounts Assistant


I never had any idea what I wanted to be when I grew up!  I knew I wanted a successful career but had no burning desire to do anything specific which made it difficult what I graduated to decide what to do next.  I knew I wanted to do something customer-facing as had always enjoyed working in retail and hospitality roles throughout college and university education.  I loved speaking to people and enjoyed the buzz of providing great service.

What was your first job?

My first proper job was in accountancy which I fell into through my language skills.  They needed someone who could speak German and I somehow passed the entrance test and was good at maths which made me the ideal candidate for the role!  After a few exciting years of working abroad in Germany and studying CIMA, I interviewed for Accounts Assistant roles for a variety of companies.  Ultimately, I couldn’t get excited about any of the opportunities but really enjoyed the interview process. I applied for a job to work for a local education recruitment agency, but there wasn’t a good culture fit, and although my entire family were teachers, I didn’t see myself having a career there.

Why Nigel Wright?

I used to get regular update calls from my Consultant at Nigel Wright and after turning down another opportunity within a local business, she suggested the idea of working for Nigel Wright. I sought advice from a friend who worked in recruitment, and she talked me through the role and the expectations. I was excited about my future career opportunities and where that might take me, and the future financial benefits were also very tempting.  I loved the idea of being able to use my people skills and competitive spirit and be part of a highly professional business. 

After a challenging interview process with a number of Managers and Directors, I was offered a role within the finance team, developing the Junior Temp Finance desk.  This was a great training role and the market was so busy with great opportunities, I was also able to use my accountancy experience to build credibility with clients and understand the roles.

Following a successful year in this role, I took the opportunity to move across into HR recruitment and this is where I have specialised ever since.  Following a brief hiatus with a competitor in London, I moved back to the North East and felt like I was returning home when I re-joined Nigel Wright in 2010, back in the HR recruitment team supporting our fantastic clients across the region.

Since returning to Nigel Wright I have enjoyed a promotion to Managing Consultant alongside having two beautiful daughters who keep me busy and motivated!  I enjoy the freedom and autonomy in the role and have built up a strong network of HR leaders through hosting regular HR Directors network which keeps us really close to the market. The most exciting part of our role is learning about new organisations and meeting such a wide variety of people. No two clients are ever the same, so each assignment we work on is unique and provides different challenges. The opportunity to work with some of the region’s best leaders keeps me engaged, challenged and I feel like I’m always learning.

Why a career in recruitment?

For anyone looking for a career in recruitment, I would urge them to explore it thoroughly and understand the highs and lows that come with the job.  It’s high pressured and really demanding as we all want to provide exceptional service to our clients and beat our competition. Nigel Wright offers excellent training and development, no matter where you are in your career, and it really sticks to its values which are well aligned to my own personal beliefs and ways of working.  If you come with an open mind and are eager to learn and work hard, it is such a rewarding and exciting career. Ultimately you get what you put in; the rewards are most definitely there in the long run! 

Interested in joining our team?

If you’re interested in becoming a Recruitment Consultant, we’d love to speak to you. Nigel Wright Group is the number one regional recruiter for professionals across the North of England and we are currently looking for Recruitment Consultants to join our team. Visit our careers microsite to find out more and to apply to join our team as a Recruitment Consultant.

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