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In March 2021, Anthony Mills made the move to Marks Sattin Birmingham, after spending nine years at another recruitment company. Our Internal recruitment manager, Karen Chilton, chatted to Anthony about his career so far, what it’s like joining a new company during a pandemic, and some of his most memorable moments in recruitment. Anthony Mills Principal Consultant, Birmingham Contact Anthony Anthony, welcome to Marks Sattin! How are you settling in?What a start it has been! Although we are currently working remotely, everyone has taken the time to welcome me into the business. Luckily, with recruitment being a well-connected industry, I have either previously worked with, or met some of my colleagues in the past, so it has been pretty easy to settle in!How did you get into recruitment?Like most recruiters, by accident! However, my situation is a little different. My father had hopes of me becoming an accountant, and would often get me to help him with his business accounts. I studied accountancy as one of my subjects at A-level, and I studied accountancy & finance at degree level.However, I chose a career in business development and account management. In 2012, I decided to try mixing my business development and account management experience with my accountancy and finance studies to become a finance recruitment consultant, and I haven’t looked back since. So, I guess I did somewhat get into accountancy as per my father’s hopes, but in a weird sort of way!Tell us about your career so farI specialise in permanent and temporary positions across the West and East Midlands, primarily recruiting roles at the qualified level. My experience has allowed me to work with a range of companies, from FTSE 100/250 listed, multinational organisations, SME’s, private equity and venture capitalist backed.However, over the past seven years most of my work has been in the interim and contracting space, partnering with clients to recommend effective and efficient interim solutions to meet their needs. As a result, I have been able to acquire a sizeable interim finance network that continues to grow to this day!What do you enjoy most about your role?I have to say that the feeling of placing somebody in their “dream job”, and knowing that I have delivered a top class experience for my client is the best part of my work. I don’t believe that feeling could ever go away. In recruitment, you get the opportunity to learn a lot about the people and businesses you support, and I have built some genuine long-lasting relationships and even some good friendships off the back of it.Do you have any work-related embarrassing tales for us?It was just after Christmas and I had gained a few extra pounds. We were attending an important client meeting to take the brief of several senior finance vacancies. The weather was awful, and there had been torrential rain all morning, so we decided to take a little jog to get there as quickly as possible. As I took a few paces, I heard a tear. I looked down to discover my suit trouser was ripped!Like a true professional, I had to soldier on and attend the meeting. Luckily, my trusted colleague was on hand to give me his jacket which I strategically dangled over my arm to hide my unfortunate accident. We won the pitch and recruited the vacancies within the team, without the client suspecting a thing, and I learned a valuable lesson, always have a suit one size up ready for the winter months, or just eat fewer donuts! What swayed you to join Marks Sattin?The idea of being just a number has never interested me. I want to work for a business that invests in their people. Luckily, because I knew people who work at Marks Sattin, I had a good idea of what it would be like to work in the team. Ultimately, for me, the attraction was knowing that I could bring my skills and regional knowledge to a new business, and help the directors develop Marks Sattin's offering in the Midlands. I knew I could add value and go on a journey with the business. Marks Sattin is already a leading recruitment consultancy with offices in Birmingham, London, Reading, Surrey, Manchester, Leeds and Dublin. The business has been established for almost 35 years, plus Marks Sattin is owned by Gi Group, a leading global recruitment conglomerate which operates in over 40 countries. Whilst some businesses in their position may be complacent, there is a lot of drive and ambition within the business, and I knew I needed to be a part of it. In your opinion, why is Marks Sattin different from other consultancies?Well, I’ve never known another recruitment consultancy that has a golf simulator for us to use at our leisure, a spacious gym with all the equipment, and an awesome rooftop bar in their offices.I would also say that Marks Sattin genuinely live by what they say about “being a mature business”. Whilst commercial viability is central to any business, there isn’t any micromanagement, and the consultants are trusted to work in a way that works best for us to bring the best results. It has also been extremely refreshing for me to see first-hand Marks Sattin’s stance on diversity & inclusion across the Group. No matter your race/ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality or disability – being fairly represented with equal opportunity and having your voice heard is critical to any successful organisation with a diverse workforce. I learned that Marks Sattin really take this seriously and their diversity & inclusion committee has representation from a variety of groups within the business to increase our awareness and education. Not only is this practice followed internally, Marks Sattin partner with a number of external clients to ensure D&I is at the centre of the recruitment process, allowing for fair representation and minimising unconscious biases. I am really proud to be a part of a business that champions diversity & inclusion! What advice would you give to any consultants who are considering a move after working with another consultancy for a long time, as you were?To move roles after nine years as a consistently high performing consultant was daunting. It was a big decision to move, given my length of service and having a “safe” job during an uncertain time, it was a complex decision to make. Unfortunately, my partner was made redundant as a result of the pandemic, meaning I became the sole earner, and we were also expecting our second child (who we welcomed on May 2nd 2021). For anybody considering a move after being with an employer for a considerable period of time. I think the first piece of advice that I would give is to have self-belief. The thought of change can be such a daunting thing, but it can also be the best thing that you ever did! Anthony mills | Principle consultant There are businesses out there, like Marks Sattin, that can work in a fluid way, meaning they can shift and adapt to meet the needs of their employees, whether it be flexible work from home/office working, part-time/full-time. At Marks Sattin, entrepreneurial flair is celebrated and ideas aren’t dismissed before you’ve even finished your sentence. I would also advise that opening up an informal discussion with an agency doesn’t mean that you are tied in to anything, but instead it can be used to gauge whether they could meet your long term goals; if not, then they are not the business for you.Finally, tell us something not many people know about you.As a sports enthusiast, I represented my Regional Athletics team, where I had the chance to meet the GB Athletics and the Jamaican Athletics Teams. I also had the opportunity to play a “Cup Final” game as a teen for my football team at the Birmingham City Football Ground. I shouldn’t admit to that, being an Aston Villa fan!If you enjoyed reading Anthony's career story so far, and would like to learn more, check out our internal vacancies or contact me for a confidential chat about your career options with Marks Sattin.
As the year comes to a close, we thought we would share some market information on what we see happening within the Thames Valley region: How well have businesses been performing in the Thames Valley?There are definitely many positives to take away from the last 6 – 9 months and we have seen businesses adapt quickly and efficiently to the new world of hiring. Remote working has become the norm for many of us and it has been refreshing to hear good stories from around the area as to how teams have responded and how business operations have been working well for the majority. We are sure this is something that will continue to be the norm once we come through to a more “normal” time. Onboarding and interviewingWe have seen a dramatic change in the way these process would normal have worked, and maybe this is a step in the right direction? Through the year we have supported our clients and candidates in understanding best practices for video interviewing and virtual onboarding. For many businesses in our market they have been conducting their usual two stage processes, albeit with the necessary changes. The initial telephone interviews and two or more video interviews via Teams or Zoom, sometimes even WhatsApp video. These have all proven to be highly effective and we have seen success conducting many processes like this remotely during the course of the year. Onboarding remotely has been a positive experience for both our clients and our candidates starting new roles. We have luckily heard no horror stories which is amazing, especially considering that we were plunged into this new way of working without very much warning or time to plan these new remote processes. We are positive about these new tools we are using making attending interviews and integrating new employees easier than ever, and we're sure this was of working will carry through to the future of recruiting.The interim and temporary marketOne of the areas which we have been successful is helping business navigate their own situations by finding interim or temporary talent to meet certain demands. This has seen a boom in the desire for short term placements. If you're looking to hire during financial and tax year end, or if you're a candidate looking for an interim role - please get in touch here.
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It’s not every day an employee celebrates 15 years working with a company – and certainly not every day that employee is the Managing Director of the organisation! To recognise our MD’s significant achievement, he wrote this piece about his career journey at Marks Sattin so far, how the recruitment industry has evolved, and his ambitions for Marks Sattin’s future. “Marks Sattin was referred to me by a friend, and I haven’t looked back” I heard about Marks Sattin from a friend upon completing my business degree. I liked the sound of the company culture and was particularly keen on the idea of leaving Cheltenham for the bright lights of London. Despite having never considered a career in recruitment, I jumped at the chance to join Marks Sattin and started as a graduate, focusing on the part-qualified temporary market. “Marks Sattin – and in particular the temporary market - is a great place for anyone wanting to start their career in recruitment” Despite taking the job largely as a way to get myself to London, I was soon embedded in the recruitment world. The part qualified temporary market was the perfect breeding ground for a successful career. The rapid pace and high volume of work taught me that you need a deep understanding of your market and the organisation to be able to operate with quality and at a high intensity, something I have carried on throughout my career. My next move was to the qualified finance team, which I started managing after three years in the business, and within five years, I was Director for the London banking and financial services team and focusing personally on executive and interim roles. After identifying an opportunity to combine the interim and contract service offerings into one streamlined business area, I grew that side of the business before being appointed to Managing Director in 2016. “I’ve enjoyed rapid career progression at Marks Sattin” By my late 20’s I was running a 40-person division, and I put my success down to a couple of factors: as a fast-growing business, Marks Sattin presented many opportunities for career development, particularly within the financial services and banking space, which was an underdeveloped practice at the time for Marks Sattin. Furthermore, I was very focused and determined about where I wanted to get to. As a big rugby follower I have always seen the value in teamwork and camaraderie to get you through the good and the bad times, something that rugby ingrains in you from a young age. The Marks Sattin way is to promote based on execution and potential, not age or experience. If you deliver great results, uphold our values and have the ability to do more, we will always have a way of growing you and furthering your career. “I’ve made many long lasting friendships along the way” I always have, and still do have fun at work. We have a strong focus on company culture, and I have made friends for life throughout my time here so far. A good proportion of the current management team come from my early days with the company and two of my first team of three are still with the business today. I even met my wife Sarah through Marks Sattin! “The recruitment landscape has shifted dramatically in the last 15 years” One of the most significant changes I have seen is the move to more RPO models and direct hiring, plus the obvious technological transformation that has permeated every sector in the past decade. Technology has had both a positive and negative impact on recruitment, with more data available to inform choices and improve lines of communication, this definitely boosts accuracy and efficiency. However the downside of digital is that it can create laziness on all sides of the recruitment equation. The industry’s best recruiters are still those out there building human relationships and making personal contact with candidates and clients, which is one of Marks Sattin’s strengths as a brand and one of the reasons for my own personal success. Barriers to entering the recruitment industry are low, which means many agencies come and go, and the strongest surviving companies are those that are willing to evolve with technology while still retaining that personal touch and building relationships. “2019 was Marks Sattin’s first year under new ownership” Marks Sattin was acquired by Gi Group in 2018, a move that has helped not just with the reach of our business, but also the services available. As well as leveraging each other’s client portfolios, the acquisition has allowed us to be part of a truly global full-service HR and Staffing business, using Gi Group’s expertise in executive coaching, training and career transition services to offer an end-to-end recruitment solution under one umbrella. With Marks Sattin now operating from seven different locations in Ireland and the UK, the scope of the business is much broader than the London-centric days of old, and the acquisition has certainly helped with this and will continue to support further growth both domestic and internationally. “There have been a lot of learning curves since I began my professional career” If I were to give a young professional some advice, (not that I’m very old!), I would say it’s important not to be intimidated by someone’s job title or seniority, even when you’re just starting out with little experience. Being open, friendly and polite along with acting with honesty and integrity is generally an approach that works with everyone, and it has stood me in good stead throughout my career. “2020 is a huge year for us, with even more growth expected” 2019 was a strong year for Marks Sattin and I predict that 2020 will be even bigger. We launched four new revenue streams last year (risk, compliance, internal audit and HR) and a new office location (Surrey), so this year we will focus on investing in these as well as looking at adjacent revenue streams to help grow the business. As always, we will invest in our people. I am committed to growing offices and introducing teams and business lines where the demand lies. There will also be a focus on relationship-led recruitment, building on from 2019 when we hosted or partnered on a whopping 30 events across our offices. This is only possible when you have committed sales teams to do the work on organising events for their clients and candidates, as well as a fantastic marketing and support team. “Our client base is unique and provides massive opportunities for us as a business” Marks Sattin is not a business that relies heavily on just one or two major clients, which is unique within recruitment. Our largest client accounts for less than 3% of our total revenue, this is a testament to our stability and presents further opportunity for growth with existing and new clients. “We know what we do is good, but we always want to improve” While Marks Sattin has experienced great success in recent years, it’s important to always be evolving and look at ways to improve. We are proud that of our ten Directors, five are home grown graduates and across them the average tenure in the company is twelve and a half years, which makes us truly unique. Resisting the institutionalisation that can befall other recruitment companies we do also make a point of hiring from different backgrounds and businesses, gathering new ideas and trialling different ways of working. I have big ambitions to take our business to new heights, as a team anything is possible, and we’ll support each other all the way. Interested in joining a forward-thinking, relationship-driven recruitment company that genuinely cares about its people? We’d love to hear from you. Find out more about careers with Marks Sattin or get in touch to start a conversation.