Life as a recruiter

Matthew Wilcox our consultant managing the role

Ten years ago to the day, I started at Marks Sattin and felt it would be useful to share my experience for anyone looking at starting off in the recruitment industry.

I fell into recruitment (as many do). I’m sure the career officer at my old school is still instructing students to move into politics, medicine, military, banking etc. Unfortunately, none of these felt suitable and whilst many friends have gone on to achieve great things within these disciplines – I wanted a career that would allow me to be less governed, more interactive and dare I say it, chaotic!

Following stint(s) at university, I was 100% sure I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to work in a business, I knew I wanted to work with people; however I didn’t know what that looked like. I worked from an early age, originally in a sports shop whilst at school, then various bars through my gap year and university, telesales (for a bit) and interned for Mary Portas’ PR company, Yellow Door. None of these satisfied my interests and recruitment was introduced to me during a night out with a friend.

The in depth conversation consisted of:

“What skills do you need” - I asked.

“You need to think on your feet, be personable and sell” - he replied.

I was confident that I could think on my feet, I hoped that I was perceived as personable and selling, well that’s not something I had excelled in, but felt confident I could learn given the right training.

A week later, I had two offers on the table and decided to join Marks Sattin. Things were very different 10 years ago, only a single office on Haymarket with around 40 consultants. Initially, I commuted from the South coast which meant getting up at 06.00 and getting home at 20.30, it really wasn’t that bad – would be a lot easier with an iPad! Walking through the office on day one, I saw almost every facial expression and emotional sound known to man – from the jubilant screams of ‘YES’ to the unmistakable sound of a forehead dropping onto the desk in despair. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. I was intrigued, albeit a little apprehensive, this uncertainty was exciting.

A year in and I was absolutely loving it. The ability to be your own brand, originate relationships and meritocratic reward had meant that I was hooked. Things were going very well, candidates were in demand, clients were battling to secure talent and people in recruitment were busy finding people and enjoying the occasional mid week beer! That was until late in 2007, when the credit crunch arrived, and things changed dramatically. Marks Sattin, like so many others was unsure of the impact and severity of the crunch, so it was hard to create a meaningful strategy to cope with the declining market conditions. We scaled back our offering (not headcount) and moved people into the ‘core’ teams which the brand name is synonymous with. Consulting revenues took a real bashing and I moved into Commerce & Industry Qualified Temp. The market for temps in London was buoyant to say the least, however I had to learn a new skill in a very different landscape. Whilst canvassing businesses, I was often met with “Have you been living under a rock?” or “Did you not learn to read at school?”. To be honest, it was good to just hear a voice. Many clients had left their respective companies or slammed the phoned down when it connected.

A couple of years post crunch and business was really good, I had a number of temps out on assignment and repeat business with a number of firms. I enjoyed mentoring more junior staff and I moved into a managerial role.  In a sales business, often firms promote good billers into managers – with varying success in my opinion. I was cautious, however determined to make sure I continued learning and benefitted from this new exposure. I was fortunate enough to have a great existing team and make good hires (I’ve  since made my fair share of bad ones too!). We all grew personally, but more importantly as a unit – helping each other diffuse the lows and enjoy the highs. The time came when I wanted to experience something new as I had been managing in Commerce & Industry for two years and felt the time was right to move on. I didn’t want to leave Marks Sattin and after chats internally, I became Manager for Banking & Capital Markets Perm.

Moving into banking recruitment was arguably one of the most challenging roles I have had in my career. Learning the market, understanding the products and building a completely new client and candidate pool was an interesting and steep learning curve. The regulatory reform and lack of approved headcount in 2011 were clearly pretty big external challenges too! Like any team in any market, you sometimes need to go back to basics and make sure everyone knows their individual role and what the collective team strategy is. We restructured our offering to reflect the demand. We stabilised and then grew at a very healthy rate, building a good reputation in the market and attracting competitors to joins the ranks. We held career evenings, launched branded marketing campaigns and took on multiple vacancy mandates – we were working hard to build a strong team which was recognised internally and externally. Life was good, but steady and I felt another challenge was needed – something bigger this time.

My MD knew that I was having my professional ‘itch’ and wanted to try something new. He called me into his office with the Regional Director and asked if I would be interested in going to see the Reading office which covers the Thames Valley region, with a possible move on the cards. It was an opportunity to run an office, which is far closer to running a business than being one of 20 managers in London. I drove out to the office to understand the opportunity and knew it was the change I was looking for. Stepping into the office and meeting the existing team, I encountered many of the feelings I had when I took that first walk around the London office 10 years ago. Things were very different, there wasn’t the comfort of seeing my friends or having someone there to immediately turn to – it was great!

 In April, I will have been working the Thames Valley market for two years – time has flown by. The team has grown from 3 people to 10, revenues have increased dramatically and we are growing our client and candidate coverage day by day. We still have a lot of work to do, however things are moving in the right direction.  We operate across multiple industries, wide reaching geographies and at all levels, which means that professional life is varied, exciting and dare I say it, chaotic (at times).

In summary, I am an Associate Director of a leading recruitment business, I am happily married, I own a nice house and picking up the keys to my new car on Friday – all before the ripe age of 34!  

So if you are considering a role in recruitment, you could do far worse in my humble opinion!

11/04/16
posts

Related articles

Why you need finance contractors to bolster your business
Why you need finance contractors to bolster your business

Teaser

Financial Services

Content Type

General

24/06/24

Summary

The interim and contracting industry currently accounts for a third of the world’s working population and is projected to reach $500 billion in gross volume in the next five years. Why has there

Teaser

Contract work meets rapidly changing needs

Read full article
Ryan Johnson

by

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson

by

Ryan Johnson

London SMES are increasingly reliant on temporary workers
London SMES are increasingly reliant on temporary workers

Teaser

General

Content Type

General

06/06/24

Summary

According to research from Sonovate London SMES have become increasingly reliant on temporary workers. New research has revealed that there has been an increase in reliance from small and medi

Teaser

Are London SMEs increasingly reliant on temporary workers?

Read full article
Jamie Smith

by

Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith

by

Jamie Smith

Making the Most of Your First ACA Qualified Role in Industry
Making the Most of Your First ACA Qualified Role in Industry

Teaser

Commerce & Industry

Content Type

General

05/06/24

Summary

Transitioning from an accountancy practice into your first role in industry is a significant milestone in your professional journey. As a newly qualified accountant, you possess a robust fou

Teaser

Looking to make your first move into industry? We can help!

Read full article
Hannah Spears

by

Hannah Spears

Hannah Spears

by

Hannah Spears

jobs

Related jobs

Financial Controller

Salary:

£70,000 - £80,000 per annum

Location:

Kirkby, Merseyside

Industry

Energy, Resources and Industrial

Qualification

Fully qualified

Market

Commerce & Industry

Salary

£80,000 - £100,000

Job Discipline

Qualified Finance

Contract Type:

Contract

Description

Financial Controller role based in Kirkby on an initial 12 month fixed term contract paying anywhere between £70,000 and £80,000 with hybrid working

Reference

BBBH180898

Expiry Date

01/01/01

Nathan  Jones

Author

Nathan Jones
Find out more
FINANCIAL CONTROLLER

Salary:

€55,000 - €75,000 per annum

Location:

Schiphol-Rijk, North Holland

Industry

Transport & Logistics

Qualification

Part qualified

Market

Commerce & Industry

Salary

£60,000 - £70,000

Job Discipline

Part Qualified & Transactional Finance

Contract Type:

Permanent

Description

Momenteel zijn wij op zoek naar een Financial Controller voor een multinational in de logistics & supply chain. Dit bedrijf staat bekend als marktleider binnen innovatie, IT en maatwerkoplossingen.

Reference

BBBH180942

Expiry Date

01/01/01

Guido Buwalda

Author

Guido Buwalda
Find out more
Valuations Senior Manager

Salary:

Negotiable

Location:

London

Industry

Professional Services

Qualification

Fully qualified

Market

Financial Services

Salary

£100,000 - £125,000

Job Discipline

Qualified Finance

Contract Type:

Permanent

Description

Marks Sattin are delighted to be partnered with a global and leading accounting firm in recruiting for their high performing Valuations team at Senior Manager Grade.

Reference

BBBH168599

Expiry Date

01/01/01

Daniel Horton

Author

Daniel Horton
Find out more
Senior Finance Business Partner

Salary:

£80,000 - £85,000 per annum

Location:

Reading, Berkshire

Industry

Consumer & Retail

Qualification

Fully qualified

Market

Commerce & Industry

Salary

£80,000 - £100,000

Job Discipline

Qualified Finance

Contract Type:

Permanent

Description

Senior Finance Business Partner - Reading (2 days in office) - Salary to £85,000

Reference

BBBH180937

Expiry Date

01/01/01

Neil Burton

Author

Neil Burton
Neil Burton

Author

Neil Burton
Find out more
Interim Financial Reporting Accountant

Salary:

Up to £60,000 per annum

Location:

West Yorkshire

Industry

Business Services

Qualification

Fully qualified

Market

Professional Services

Salary

£60,000 - £70,000

Job Discipline

Qualified Finance

Contract Type:

Contract

Description

This is a remote role and they're looking for interim support for a period of 4 Months.

Reference

NH - 180899

Expiry Date

01/01/01

Niamh Hellewell Find out more
Assistant Management Accountant

Salary:

£40,000 - £45,000 per annum

Location:

Croydon, London

Industry

Investment Management

Qualification

Part qualified

Market

Financial Services

Salary

£40,000 - £50,000

Job Discipline

Part Qualified & Transactional Finance

Contract Type:

Permanent

Description

A Management Accountant position to join a growing finance team to assist the Finance Director with accounting & strategic needs.

Reference

BBBH180925

Expiry Date

01/01/01

Thomas  Steel

Author

Thomas Steel
Find out more
Finance Assistant

Salary:

Up to £30,000 per annum

Location:

Croydon, London

Industry

Investment Management

Qualification

None specified

Market

Financial Services

Salary

£30,000 - £35,000

Job Discipline

Part Qualified & Transactional Finance

Contract Type:

Permanent

Description

A Finance Assistant position to join a growing finance team for an Investment Management firm in Croydon!

Reference

BBBH180916

Expiry Date

01/01/01

Thomas  Steel

Author

Thomas Steel
Find out more
Treasury Manager

Salary:

€80,000 - €110,000 per annum

Location:

Amsterdam, North Holland

Industry

Transport & Logistics

Qualification

Fully qualified

Market

Commerce & Industry

Salary

£80,000 - £100,000

Job Discipline

Treasury

Contract Type:

Permanent

Description

Momenteel zijn wij voor een internationaal logistiek bedrijf dat actief is in 10 Europese landen, op zoek naar een Treasury Manager om de volledige treasury structuur neer te zetten op groepsniveau

Reference

BBBH180918

Expiry Date

01/01/01

Guido Buwalda

Author

Guido Buwalda
Find out more
Finance Director

Salary:

€120,000 - €170,000 per annum

Location:

Amsterdam, North Holland

Industry

Transport & Logistics

Qualification

Fully qualified

Market

Commerce & Industry

Salary

£125,000 - £175,000

Job Discipline

Qualified Finance

Contract Type:

Permanent

Description

Voor een internationaal logistiek bedrijf zijn wij op zoek naar een Finance Director. De Finance Director gaat aan de slag met het opzetten van een internationale financiële en fiscale structuur

Reference

BBBH180913

Expiry Date

01/01/01

Guido Buwalda

Author

Guido Buwalda
Find out more
Supply Chain Business Analyst - S/4Hana

Salary:

£60,000 - £70,000 per annum + 15% bonus

Location:

London

Industry

Media & Communications

Qualification

None specified

Market

Commerce & Industry

Salary

£70,000 - £80,000

Job Discipline

Business Analysis

Contract Type:

Permanent

Description

Business Analyst role to sit within the Supply Chain function working on an SAP S/4 Hana implementation programme.

Reference

BBBH180462

Expiry Date

01/01/01

James  Thompson Find out more
View all jobs