Congratulations on 20 years in the recruitment business! How does it feel to have reached such a massive milestone?
Thank you! I still recall my first day, the feelings of nervousness, apprehension and nagging thoughts about why I decided to join our industry. Happily I have not regretted my decision and can honestly count on one hand the days I have not wanted to come to work - all due to decisions I had made! I feel an immense amount of pride in being able to play a small part in the careers of so many colleagues and candidates. It is fair to say I have been very fortunate to work alongside many incredibly talented colleagues and collectively we have achieved so many of our objectives.
What would you say the biggest differences are in the industry between when you started out and now?
I would say in my experience the focus on your staff, your people, is the biggest evolution over the past twenty years. In the ‘not so’ good old days, there was little focus on staff training, personal development and wellbeing. Happily, today business leaders recognise the importance of their staff, who after all are the most important asset of any business.
Of course, the use of mobile technology and the ability to remain constantly connected is another one of the biggest differences. Back in 1999 we had the internet, email and mobile phones (who can forget the Nokia 3310!) but communities of interest such as LinkedIn and Xing did not exist, nor did WhatsApp. Today it is easier than ever to connect and maintain contact with candidates and decision makers. The world is much smaller today than, say, 10 or 20 years ago. And of course, the introduction of low-cost air travel means we can now meet our clients and candidates even easier today too.
Qualifying what a client or candidate wants has changed massively too. Due to technology and managed service providers, today direct communication is less because of the misconception it is not required. Yet the time wasted in failing to deliver right first time means I am starting to witness a swing back to more talk and less email, which can only be good for all parties involved in the recruitment process.
Is there anything that hasn’t changed at all?
I constantly get told we must evolve and move with the times, which of course you must do to ensure you maintain your competitive advantage, however in my opinion some things will never change in our industry.
The importance of developing and maintaining relationships has not changed. Maintaining regular contact, meeting and, more importantly, listening to clients and candidates will never change. No amount of artificial intelligence will take away the importance of the human touch and I have been fortunate to meet many inspiring individuals over the past two decades.
Of course, the importance of doing what you say you’re going to do, in the time scales agreed, has not changed either. Nor has the importance of taking responsibility for your actions.
The fun element of the industry has not changed much either! Happily, today we celebrate our successes as much as we did twenty years ago!
What advice would you give anyone in their first year as a recruiter to help them last as long as you have?
Love what you do - a career in recruitment, like so many other careers, requires the individual to treat their job as a vocation. To succeed you must prioritise your career. The most successful recruiters are those who are the hardest workers, the smartest professionals, and those who are prepared to plan long term. In life and in work, you get out what you put in - my advice to anyone in year one is to put the maximum amount of effort in and recognise you will receive the recognition and rewards you deserve. It does not happen overnight - have confidence that your endeavours will be rewarded.
I have been fortunate enough to work with many inspiring individuals and my advice to anyone in year one of their career is to surround themselves with experience - listen, learn and be inspired.
The life of a recruiter can be a little like being on a rollercoaster. Hold on tight, always look forward and enjoy the ride!! In my opinion the recruitment industry remains one of the most personally satisfying careers you could ever hope to pursue and I look forward to what the next twenty years has in store for the industry, Quanta and for me personally.