Why I’m proud of my Executive Search career

With the UK recruitment market reaching £141.2 billion just over a year ago, and weekly job postings doubling in 2023, it is clear that the recruitment industry is buoyant.

But, when faced with the challenge of discussing her career for Occupations Week at her daughter’s school, Executive Research Partner Nisha Patel was concerned her role was not significant enough in comparison to those of other children’s parents.

“I didn’t initially put myself forward,” said Nisha. “Other parents were Doctors, Dentists, Civil Engineers. One of the children’s parents is a highly successful Entrepreneur who owns over a dozen well known pizza franchises and took in fresh pizza that the kids were talking about for days after! I wondered what value I could add in comparison to these vocational roles.”

Eventually, Nisha was convinced by her daughter Ruby to present to the class, sharing her recruitment and talent acquisition expertise with the children.

Here, Nisha shares how the experience forced her to reflect on her role, and the reasons why she finds recruitment to be a fulfilling career.

Job Satisfaction

I always had an interest in HR and read this at University with a particular focus on the topic of job satisfaction. When I first read about Herzberg Two Factor Theory on job satisfaction involving Motivators and Hygiene Factors or Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, I was intrigued and even went on to write my dissertation around this topic, proudly achieving a First Class Honors award for my research. I am not saying this is what led me into a career in recruitment, but I have always had this deeper interest in the importance we place on the jobs that we undertake and the desire to achieve job satisfaction.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I strongly believe that our jobs are more than our livelihood. It shapes part of our identity, providing us with purpose, structure, and a sense of accomplishment. This leads us on to our career choices. When we are young, we are often asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, so I felt it was great that my daughter Ruby was being introduced to different occupations and the opportunity to learn about these job roles first hand.

Is being a recruiter a vocational career path?

For Occupations Week at my daughter’s school, parents were invited to present to the children, sharing the variety of jobs we all do each day. I was genuinely excited to hear about this topic and what Ruby may get the opportunity to learn.

I however didn’t put myself forward to take part. Although I am extremely proud of my career and feel like my role is one that that adds great value, I personally felt it was not “vocational enough” in comparison to the roles of other parents.  

My daughter was really upset that I didn’t want to present. This, coupled with her excitement at hearing from the other parents, led to me eventually agreeing to take part. But I was still not exactly clear on how I would describe what I do to four year olds!

How did I explain recruitment to four year olds?

With advice from friends and colleagues, I created a short presentation with an activity for the children to do. The goal was to explain what I do (in an interesting way) and to share how recruiters help identify peoples talents and find them a role they will enjoy and excel in.

One parent, a doctor, had taken in stethoscopes so the children could listen to each other’s hearts. A parent who was a science teacher had conducted experiments in the classroom. I got the children to help me to recruit!

We named ourselves Mayfield Recruitment (class name), and I took on the role of a client looking for people to join my business.  I had created handouts with images of different people and something they may use or come in contact with that could then help them in their job.  For example a person surrounded by animals, or an individual with a computer.  I described a person I needed for my business (for example a person who liked animals) and rewarded the children with chocolate money if they could identify the right person for the job.  The children eagerly took part and I felt they got a good understanding of the basic concept of what I do which is find the right person for the right role and vice versa.

The experience made me realise that, when I was at school, I was never introduced to the idea of recruitment as a career path. Even during university, I didn’t consider that I would embark on a career in recruitment or eventually Executive Search.

Like so many of my generation, I accidently walked into a recruitment role. A new graduate with little experience in industry outside of a work placement, I gained a summer job as an Administrator for a RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcer) –  this is where I cut my teeth in the sector, and I loved all aspects of the role.

So what is it about a career in talent acquisition that had kept me in the same sector for two decades? 

Making a difference to people’s lives

Even after all these years, I still get a ‘buzz’ when finding the right person for the client and job role. I genuinely still get ultimate job satisfaction from knowing I have introduced a candidate to a job role that will make them happy, help them to fulfil their career aspirations, allow them to earn more money, and move forward in their career.  In most cases, I help candidates find a role they would never of found on their own, as most of the mandates we work on are confidential.

Employer Branding

I enjoy understanding what makes an employer a great employer, and sharing this with candidates. Getting to know our clients is key. People are everything in recruitment, and building relationships is an essential part of the role.

Building relationships

Like I said, people are everything! If you don’t love (and I mean love) speaking to people, recruitment probably isn’t the job for you. I enjoy finding out about people’s aspirations, their skills, and their experience. I always say to those outside of the industry that I essentially get paid to be nosy!

Executive Search

My current role has been an interesting move forward in my career, and one I have relished. As an Executive Research Partner, I devise, lead and manage the Practice’s research strategy to identify top-tier candidates for executive mandates across different industries, in both the public and private sectors. I work across a range of organisations varying from blue chip multinationals, listed businesses, and owner-managed companies. My role is varied and I genuinely feel I can make a difference to our clients through the recruitment of critical roles for their C-suites.

Diversity and inclusivity

As a British-born Indian female, I feel it is important to celebrate diversity. I bring this belief to my role, working to ensure we present diverse shortlists to our clients, and utilise tools and techniques to create these shortlists.


I am incredibly proud of my career and have found a happy home at GRG Executive Search, working hard to add value to both clients and candidates alike. Also, important to me working alongside people who also share the passion I have for Recruitment.  I hope the insight into my role inspired my daughter and her class mates, and hope to continue encouraging people to enter the world of talent acquisition, as it can offer such a fulfilling career.

For more insights from the GRG Executive Search team, or to find out more about the Executive Search market, visit our insights page on our website.

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