Happy Candidate Alert!

It was lovely of Zenon to leave this recommendation for Jordan earlier today.

“It’s a real pleasure working with Jordan. He has been quite professional, honest, patient and eager to help with anything. He shows real interest in his clients and actually listens to them. He is without a doubt one of the best recruiters I’ve encountered so far and I highly recommend him.”

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Playing The Long Game

I wrote a blog last year and mentioned the need for clients and candidates to work with a specialist recruiter. I’ve always believed niche and specialist is the way forward but never really been brave enough to be one. I’ve been a recruiter for 14 years and always worked the technology market, predominantly with Developers, but never specialised in a particular technology for any length of time.long-road-478155_1920

Niche recruitment agencies & consultants have a clear advantage over general recruitment agencies. They specialise, don’t try to cater for everyone and know their market, which is why I believe they deliver a superior service to clients & candidates. I no longer see a benefit of working across a wider market – there may seem to be more opportunities, but the reality is it is much harder to develop a specialist knowledge in a large sector and long-term you’ll make fewer placements and add far less value.

Over the last few months a serious injury has allowed me time to reflect and review my time in the recruitment industry – 14 years is a long time. I have always liked the security of having lots of clients who needed people and several ‘live vacancies’. The problem was they didn’t become placements. Placements I made were down to graft and luck rather than science or intelligent recruitment. I’d start every assignment from scratch and be working on 7 or 8 different types of roles at one time.

Late last year I bit the bullet and made a change and decided to work only within the ‘Ruby’ technology market. This allows me to really know my market and have my finger on the pulse. But it also means I have had to learn to say NO to new business from other markets, a daunting prospect for a small company. However, it’s been the best decision I ever made and in truth I should have made it years ago.

Saying no to jobs I could probably fill in favour of new business, lead chasing, endless voicemails and emails nobody replies to sounds crazy but I’m “playing the long game“. Recruitment these days is more about adding value than ever! I want to add more value to clients and candidates and I want to stay in the industry. Trying to work on lots of vacancies in lots of different verticals shows me that the recruiter is only really interested in making as much money as possible. Focusing on a niche market, becoming a specialist, is about delivering the best quality service and adding value, which will lead to loyal customers and repeat business.

It’s a tough call for a start-up because cash is king but nobody wants to be a flash in the pan either. Russell Clements, ex CEO of Computer Futures tells Roy Ripper that all good recruiters should “Know their market” “Be an expert” and to “Be famous for something“. Intellectual curiosity makes a different!!

I love that I’m no longer purely motivated by filling vacancies. I’m more interested in building long term relationships with clients and candidates. Repeat business is what drives me and this suits my motivations and skillset far better these days.

4 things to look for in a recruiter.

4 things to look for in a recruiter.

A good recruiter will make your life easier by saving you time and money. Here are the things you should look for in a recruiter:

1. Experience.
I used to believe that recruitment was a young persons game. I used to believe energy and enthusiasm were enough. I was wrong. The need to be experienced, level-headed and able to remove the emotion from situations is more vital than ever before. Recruitment is tough, tougher than ever in some markets. Experience helps you spot things quickly. I can instinctively spot a time waster, question a contractor who will never go permanent regardless of what he or she is saying, know when a candidate is going to cancel an interview or when an offer is going to be turned down. A good recruiter will also arrange interviews, chase for feedback, negotiate salary and, most importantly, save you time!

2. Specialist knowledge
I believe the best recruiters are market specialists. They have their finger on the pulse and know what’s happening and who’s who in the industry. In the technology sector it’s impossible for a recruiter to be a specialist in Python and PHP and .Net. How can one person possibly be the “go to” person in all 3 markets?

I know some businesses who have the same recruiter searching for sales people on a Monday, project managers on a Wednesday and IT Managers on a Friday. Placements are made by luck. It’s a 10% service at best, and not one I’d want.

Personally I like to work to an 80/20 rule, 80% of my time and energy is spent working in a specific market of technology. The other 20% of my time is spent working on briefs for key clients I’ve worked with over the years.

3. Trust and honesty

You should be open and honest with your recruiter about:
What you really want
What you’re prepared to pay
Who you’re already talking to
Where you are in the process

And they should be honest with you about:
The current state of the market
Whether your requirements are realistic
Whether the salary is realistic

If you get this right you will build a level of trust that will serve both of you in good stead for any future dealings.

I’d recommend you look for signs of push back and see this as a positive. I’d be more inclined to trust a recruiter that doesn’t agree with everything you say. If you’re not paying enough or have unrealistic expectations you need to know.

4. Deliver
Above all else a recruiter has to deliver. Building relationships is great, becoming friends and socialising with clients and candidates is a excellent perk of the job, but in my experience delivering the end result is what really matters. I worked with a recruiter who used to deliberately go to the other side of town to meet clients and buy them a beer every Friday. I’m sure they loved it but once he stopped delivering great CVs and making hires, the beer alone wasn’t enough to maintain the relationship.

It’s hard to judge delivery until you have given someone an opportunity but with so many good recruiters out there most of us know we have to make placements. If I were a client I wouldn’t be waiting for the next PSL review or worrying too much about how many cupcakes have been sent this week, my priority would be finding an experienced specialist recruiter who, first and foremost, delivers.

So there we go, some tips on choosing the right recruiter for your next hire!

For more information regarding this blog or Lewis Hollings please contact me on Jordan@Lewishollings.com or call me on 07858 973 473

My First Blog – 5 essential tips for job seekers

blog-684748_1920My First Blog – 5 essential tips for job seekers

I’ve been a recruiter for over 12 years. I’ve seen many things, had lots of different experiences and made plenty of mistakes. Despite many people suggesting I should, I’ve never written a blog or voluntarily shared information.

After interviewing a Senior Javascript Developer today, she thanked me for the insight and advice I’d given her. Lightbulb moment – perhaps after 12+ years as recruiter, I should start a blog and share my experiences with a wider audience.

So here goes; my first ever blog – ‘5 essential tips for job seekers’. Expect to see spelling mistakes, honesty and hopefully some insight and value.

1. Work with a decent recruiter

A good recruiter is worth their weight in gold. They should make your job search hassle free. You shouldn’t feel lied to, mislead or pressurised at any stage. Nobody should be calling your work number or emailing your boss. If this happens bin the recruiter!

2. Know what you want

What is your motivation for looking for a new job? What are your requirements? I’ve never had a client say to me “find me a candidate who only wants to earn more money”. It is important that you are clear about what you are looking for. I promise you, you are not only after a pay rise. Write down your goals and motivations, I ask every candidate I speak with to share their 3 main motivations for looking for a job with me. Money is never an acceptable answer.

3. Be clear about what you can offer

Make sure you understand what your skills and strengths are. These are the skills and areas you want to be working on in a new job so make that clear on your CV and to the recruiter. Most businesses want adaptable candidates with great attitudes who will chip-in with projects outside of the core focus without a hissy fit but rarely do they want a jack of all trades and a master of none.

4. Always attend interviews if offered

Candidates will regularly agree to an interview but then get offered something and cancel the interview, especially on the contract freelance market. I hear candidates saying I don’t want to waste his/her or mine time and I don’t agree with this at all. At worst, attending an interview is a good experience that will help you tailor what you like or don’t like about a business and/or your ability to interview, and at best you fall upon an amazing opportunity you didn’t know existed. I never understand why candidates or clients cancel interviews at short notice, make them shorter by all means, but never completely cancel them.

5. Be interview ready

An obvious one but always make sure you do some research about the company. You simply have no excuse not to know a quick elevator pitch about what the client does, and you should have looked up the interviewer up on Linkedin at the very least. And make sure you prepare your questions. They will give the interviewer an insight into your personality and culture fit. Questions should be about the job, company, role and responsibilities, not…

  • What are the working hours?
  • What’s the salary?
  • How much holiday do I get?
  • Can I leave early every Friday?

So there you go, my first ever blog. Only 5 pieces of advice but its 5 more than I had shared yesterday.

For more information regarding this blog or Lewis Hollings please contact me on Jordan@lewishollings.com or call me on 07858 973 473

Turning down a job: The right way and the wrong way

Turning down a job: The right way and the wrong way

With the market being so competitive, and so many clients looking to hire great staff, candidates are often faced with more than one job offer, meaning they have to let someone down.

When turning down a job you are left with two options – the right way and the wrong way.

Over the last 12 years I have several examples where people have turned down a job but actually end up building a good relationship with the client (and the recruiter) because they handle the situation with honesty. I have also seen many examples of people burning bridges completely and potentially damaging their own reputation.

Here are 3 examples of the wrong way, all true stories I’m afraid…

I was working on a Head of QA role for a client we had made multiple placements with. After a hard drawn out process they made an attractive offer to a candidate (I don’t mind saying it was an 11k fee). The candidate accepted and signed and returned the paperwork. I stayed in touch regularly and nothing seemed amiss. I text the candidate on the Sunday to wish him well for tomorrow; he replied thanking me. Monday came and at 10.30am the client called asking me where the candidate was. It was 4 months before I spoke to that candidate again!! He completely disappeared because he didn’t have the minerals to call me or the client to let us know.

Another example is an Account Director who was offered and accepted a role with agency. The candidate was available immediately and was due to start within the week. Nothing can go wrong, right? Wrong. Another no show on start date without a call or email! This time on the dreaded Monday morning I call the candidate and receive an abroad tone… The candidate had moved to Germany over the weekend to take on a new role that was “too good to turn down” and had “forgotten” to tell me or the client! Amazing.

The final example is, I hope, very rare. I had a developer referred to me by a friend. The candidate did really well in the interview, his work examples and experience were perfect but I was not convinced he really wanted the job. Something was niggling me. He continued with the process and accepted the role. I mentioned to the client that I’m not 100% convinced but both wanted to continue. Monday came and he started, the client was delighted and on Monday evening the candidate told me he had a good day. Tuesday morning came and I got the call… The candidate phoned the client to say he wasn’t returning because he didn’t know the job was working on a product and actually wants to work for an agency! He knew all along the role was as described. Extremely frustrating for the client who had to return to square one. The candidate completely misjudged the situation and felt by starting and not liking it was somehow different to turning it down when offered.

My advice is ‘honesty is the best policy’! It might be brutal and uncomfortable but brutal honesty is an absolute must. Be brave, pluck up the courage and make the call. Don’t rely on emails and certainly don’t put it off and hope it will go away.

I’d love to hear the horror stories you’ve experienced? Or maybe your reasons for turning down a job in the way you did?

For more information regarding this blog or Lewis Hollings please contact me on Jordan@Lewishollings.com or call me on 07858 973 473