Location: United Kingdom
What’s your background?
I have worked in the recruitment industry since 1997. I started out as a Consultant and after 3 months in the role an opportunity arose to manage the branch that I was in. From there I went on to open new locations and became an Area Manager. I was then tasked with driving performance in existing locations and gained promotion to Operations Manager. I mastered the art of remote management and was then asked to take on the role of Operations Director managing 38 locations across the UK.
Five years ago the opportunity to become Managing Director of Cordant People presented itself and I haven’t looked back since. Growing the brands I manage from general staffing and now branching into engineering recruitment.
As a recruiter, what advice do you have for Engineering managers (EMs)?
To recruit with an open mind. There are some excellent engineers in the marketplace from a diverse range of backgrounds that could add real value to your team(s) through their transferable skills, innovative solutions, exposure to alternative technologies and fresh approach.
How much time should EMs spend recruiting? And how should they best spend their time?
The key is to invest your time in the right areas of your recruitment process. Too many businesses still waste unnecessary time and resources in the latter stages of the process (interviews, additional stages, declined offers and replacement hires) rather than investing the correct amount of energy in the front end / earlier stages such as realistic assessment of the requirement, internal & external briefings, attraction process, culture fit and promotion of their offering.
Do you have any tips on sourcing diverse candidates? A lot of EMs are looking for diverse teams and find it difficult to achieve.
Diverse candidate attraction is only truly possible if you genuinely embed, maintain and champion inclusion within your own business. Once you have achieved this, promote your achievements externally and drive real change across your wider industry. Become the employer of choice for diverse candidates in your field.
What are common misunderstandings or mistakes that EMs make in hiring? And how can they avoid them?
Recruit purely in their own mould. Try to replace all of the skillsets of the leaving person in one hire – people develop skills over time within a business – you can’t always replace like for like. And remember! You only need one applicant to make one hire! There is a skills shortage – long & short lists are not always possible.
Any advice on writing job descriptions?
Don’t cut & paste. Don’t make them just generic. Think what you would want to know before applying for a job. Mix informing with attracting.
What are the top things that candidates are looking for and find important in your experience?
Work life balance has risen to the top of an applicant’s wishlist. For engineer’s in particular, it is then quite often to work with new technology or with innovative solutions or on exciting projects.
Besides Linkedin do you have any sites or tools you use to source candidates?
Our specialist network is by far our best means of identifying and attracting candidates. Companies want the best talent…..these are usually in full time employment…..and our role is to nurture relationships to seek out the right hire at the right time.
What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
I always try to see the best in any situation – no problems just opportunities.
If you could recommend one book to managers, what would it be and why?
It isn’t a managerial book but ‘The Dice Man’ by Luke Rhinehart changed the way I look at the world – it allows you to think about putting yourself into others shoes and how sometimes it is worth taking a risk in the name of progression.