John Quach | Principal Director
How did you embark on your career with Marks Sattin?
Unlike the bulk of my colleagues, I took a slightly different path when I first joined Marks Sattin. I didn’t attend university and instead worked for almost 10 years in retail sales. Suffice to say I was a slightly more mature hire when I joined recruitment but it was the best career move I ever made. I was rather frustrated with the opportunities at my previous employer where I was given little recognition for my efforts and performance. I wanted to join a company where promotions were given on merit and not reputation. I had heard of Marks Sattin through my girlfriend/now wife who mentioned I should try recruitment as I seemed to have the natural ability of building relationships and being sociable.
I lined up a number of interviews and whilst I had been offered another position in recruitment, I decided to join Marks Sattin. I had of course, been asked the usual interview questions, albeit the few interesting curve balls thrown in by my prospective boss which helped me make my decision to join Marks Sattin. To this day the MD still reminds me of the Burberry tie I wore on my first day (never seen again), which I still keep on my desk as a reminder of how far I have come since I first joined.
How long have you been with MS and how have you evolved with the business?
I’m now in my 11th year at Marks Sattin and apart from a few speed bumps I have to say recruitment is truly a lucrative career. I have seen the company move and progress in all kinds of directions and I have also made some lifelong friends. My old boss and now MD is someone I consider a friend and the culture we have at Marks Sattin is like no other.
This job is really about what you make of it and as with any job it can be tough and monotonous.We are however encouraged to network and maintain relationships with all of our candidates and clients which means this isn’t an average desk job. Working in financial services means I have worked with some outstanding clients from FTSE to SMEs where we have wined and dined in some of the best restaurants in London.
Why the principal route?
We are allowed to carve out our own career path at Marks Sattin and we are given a lot of trust an autonomy to produce results in the most effective way possible. It used to be a well-known fact in business that if you wanted career progression you had to manage people. I am one of few people who took on that role and experienced career regression, this proved to me that management isn’t for everyone! I was given the opportunity to set up a brand new team and enter a new market and I’ll be the first to admit that it wasn’t successful. Thankfully our now MD offered me a different career path, one which placed me on the route to become a director without the management piece. I was aware that my time was better spent focusing on building a brand rather than building a team as I find more pleasure in billing than developing consultants. My job is not only to be one of Marks Sattins’ top billers but also to utilise my existing network to benefit other consultants in the business via introductions or job passes.
I became the first Principal Associate Director and then the first Principal Director at Marks Sattin which is a huge achievement. This goes to show that there are different careers paths for everyone at Marks Sattin, this has created an excellent and diverse management team.
When you first start out in recruitment you need to put in the ground work, it took me the best part of three years to build out my network of clients. This meant a lot of late nights and early starts, however this is not something you can maintain after five years in the job, you would literally burn out. Thankfully the business has matured along with the employees. I have the benefit of flexible working which has allowed me to raise two beautiful daughters and watch them grow up. I’m not aware of many companies in recruitment that offer this flexibility to staff in such a sales driven environment, we’ve certainly shifted with the times. When I first joined we had around two employees with children and now we have considerably more!
10 years with one recruitment firm is not as common as you would like to think. Marks Sattin really do reward performance and whilst the majority of people in sales positions care solely about money it’s the intangibles that keep me happy; the flexible working hours, the culture, the people and of course the money!
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At Marks Sattin we pride ourselves on supporting our people to be as successful as they can be. One way we do this is through our Road to Success initiative, which provides incentive for our new recruits who have between zero to three months experience in recruitment. The aim of this initiative is to encourage them to hit a billing target within their first two years and, in return, they receive £2,000 towards a holiday of their choice! A career in recruitment can be extremely rewarding and is one of the few industries where you are in control of your own earnings. We provide excellent training programmes for our new and inexperienced consultants, meaning you will receive the best in house training to help you fast track your career and get established in your specialist market. Some short stories from our previous winners: Denford Mukarati joined us in 2016 and is the first winner of our Road to Success initiative. He has consistently worked to hit his goals and continues to drive new business. Well done Denford - read his story here. Alex Simmons joined us in 2018 and is another winner of our Road to Success initiative. He is hardworking, likeable and is always pushing himself to hit personal and organisational goals. Congratulations on winning, Alex - read more of his story here. Nick Georgiou joined after leaving his role of an electrical apprentice in 2016, at the ripe age of 19, and never looked back! He is a committed team player, who believes strongly in the statement that "fear kills more dreams than failure ever will." Congratulations Nick - read more of his story.
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When did you join us? I joined Marks Sattin in November 2016 at the ripe age of 19. What’s the best thing about working at Marks Sattin? For me it’s the flexibility and autonomy. Of course, when you first start you need to find your feet, but once you hit your KPIs and are established in your market, you are trusted by people of all levels to do your job. Do you feel like you’ve got a clear career path with us and why? Definitely. When I joined Marks Sattin, I am pretty sure I was the first non-grad junior hire. At the time, I had no experience or understanding of the financial world or recruitment. The management team accommodated this and I spent my first two months as an intern, learning from the best on all things from what our clients do to the full recruitment process. After a few months I was promoted to Associate Consultant where I was solely working with candidates. After yet another promotion to consultant, I was challenged with starting a new desk from scratch. This proved really successful and the compliance desk has flourished ever since. This challenge led me to my new title of senior consultant. The next step would be either working towards becoming a manager or a principal consultant. The value at Marks Sattin lies in the way you aren’t syphoned into one path, they give you options! How do you keep yourself motivated on the rollercoaster of recruitment? This is a great question as it is one of the hardest things. Recruitment is known to have a high turnover, I think this is due to people enjoying the highs but not being able to deal with the lows. For me, the best way to keep motivated is to realise that you cannot control everything and fate/luck will play a big part in most of the processes you go through. The second is to have a balance in your life. In my first nine months as a 360 consultant I did nothing else apart from live sleep and breathe recruitment, which resulted in great revenue but led to me being burning out. It’s safe to say I have learnt my lesson. It’s really beneficial to have an end goal in recruitment and be disciplined in order to achieve it, such as buying a house, making £10,000 or buying a new car. Mine has always been the ability to own my own time and manage that myself. I discipline myself and live by the code “fear kills more dreams than failure ever will” and apply this to all aspects of my life. By having these goals you know you are constantly working towards something. What is your most memorable placement? My second retainer definitely! I was emailed by a client saying that another client had passed them over my details. Great start in my mind! The initial conversations were very consultative and they let me know they were speaking to other agencies in order to determine who would get the role. They decided to work with me and I quickly found them a number of suitable candidates and placed one resulting in a total fee of around £40k! Where will we find you at the weekend? At the gym. I do a sport called Crossfit which is essentially a horrible mix of Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and cardio. Random fact about you? I am a really good cook. Read more 'Road to Success' stories here.
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Denford Mukarati | Senior Consultant When did you join the company? September 2016. Tell us about your journey with the company so far? When I started at Marks Sattin I had no previous experience in finance recruitment, and I was aware there were gaps in my knowledge. I originally joined as part of the commerce and industry team focusing on temp part qualified roles. Within my first two years I was given the opportunity to move across divisions and join the financial services team focusing on the same market. Since then, I've continually improved, producing personal record quarters and gaining a deeper understanding of my market. Congratulations on winning £2K to spend on your dream holiday! Do you know where you are going to go? I think it's going to be Dubai! Why do you think you were the first consultant to win this coveted prize? The training programmes at Marks Sattin gave me the confidence in my ability to recruit, this coupled with the great network I have built within the financial services market, has ensured that I have everything I need to succeed. What is the most rewarding part of being a recruitment consultant? Taking clients out on lunches and taking candidates out to celebrate their placements. It's really great to have full control of your day, with a culture where you are encouraged to get out and not be stuck at your desk. Commission is also a big rewarding factor and motivator. What is the most challenging part about being in recruitment? Initially, it's building a temp book and keeping it consistent. This has proven to be the most challenging part of my job. Nevertheless, the financial services market is really fast paced and I'm rarely short of candidates or live jobs. It also helps that the candidate database and retained clients at Marks Sattin are fantastic. Overall, being a recruitment consultant is demanding and you have to continually put the hours in to reap the rewards. Tell us something not many people know about you? I always buy trainers one shoe size smaller. Read more 'Road to Success' stories here.