Looking to the future - Dissolving the stigma

Recruitment has been around for many many years, but during the 80’s and 90s the industry grew exponentially and became the palpable presence in the service industry with lots of recruitment businesses quickly become rising stars of FTSE stock exchange. The industry was sales driven with sales floors filled with bright, ambitious individuals who joined at a time when making money was easy. But it was ‘sink or swim’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ - the salesfloors were driven by young, inexperienced managers working out how they get their next promotion, car and a better house.

I joined in late 90’s by this time the industry was already starting to mature, businesses recognised that there were problems. I remember ‘the quality team’ coming into my second company, Hays, to ensure that clients were looked after and service levels were measured but this was always trumped by most of the management ensuring that we pushed harder, long hours, late nights and making target at any cost. By the mid 00’s many recruiters had left the industry having had enough of the work hard/ play hard culture, some going ‘in-house’ swapping sales for stakeholder management.

Having been in the industry for a while now and having been a manager/ leader in businesses for over 20 years, I can honestly say that I was promoted too quickly. Don’t get me wrong I love what I do. But it was not until I met my first inspirational leader, Ian Soars who now sits on my board, that my focus shifted to what was important, which went deep in to my psyche - use your position of influence to create opportunities for people to live more fulfilled lives. Money was never the driving factor for me, it never will be; it was learning, developing, sharing ideas and giving people opportunities to grow. Using your influence in an ethical and hopefully authentic way. Giving feedback, ensuring candidates experience was as good as it can be. Nigel Lynn (now Morgan McKinley) was my next move and my first move into the management team. My mantra adapted and came from something Nigel said and became core to what I believed “look after the candidates and the clients will look after themselves.” People find the process of moving jobs hard, it is emotional and often hard to predict the risk, but the rewards can be life changing. But you need to pick the right escalator… better financial outcomes, better work/ life balance, learning and developing opportunities and fulfilment. It is not the placement that they want, it is good support and advice. This was proven by many of the candidates I placed becoming clients that came back to me and my team again and again.

In my late 20’s I set up my first business which was great, but after ten years I felt something was missing. It was a good business but, in many ways, felt like every other business. I founded it and convinced the two other founders to join in 2004. Co-ownership was good but after ten years it was time to take stock and reboot to get experience within larger businesses and plan for my next enterprise, Transcend Talent, to evolve the business model and make it relevant for the next 10 years . No low basics with the pitch of earning uncapped commission. I do not think commission is wrong, but it can create bad practice, sloppy work, cutting corners and only picking the ‘low hanging fruit’. I wanted everybody aligned to the goal of looking after the candidate’s best interests and working with interesting clients and offering the best possible service. So, we work as team to eliminate personal bias, no commission but have reward linked to clear outcomes and contribution which are aligned to our brand and values. Good performance is about long-term growth and sustainability not short-term wins.

It has not been easy scaling a business in the chaos of COVID19 but I have enjoyed the journey and most days have been fun and rewarding. I love my team and I am looking forward to 2021. I hope that we can realise the potential of the amazing team and work that we have put in 2020 and continue evolving our modern approach to recruitment and search offering services which go way beyond the traditional.

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