What prompted you to start your business?
I am often asked this question and my answer is always the same in that business exists to solve a problem. Property has always been my passion and I saw a gap in the market for a “Specialist Estate Agency Recruiter” with a difference. Not only did I have a solid and successful Estate Agency background, but I had also worked as a Divisional Manager in the medical recruitment sector for both the NHS and Private Sectors, so I decided to utilize my experience of both industries.
What were your business aims?
I started my business in 2006 to deliver a recruitment service which saves valuable time and enables our clients to focus on driving productivity and results and to plug the gaps in their business before they become a problem. Therefore, rather than offices being understaffed (which affects the day to day operation and ultimately, the bottom line) I wanted to offer what I call succession recruitment. This would be combined with a more personalized service to both my candidates and clients and for me this was all about ensuring that our external resources complemented our client’s own recruitment efforts and adding real value to their business.
What makes you different to other recruiters in your profession?
Ultimately, we are ex Estate Agents recruiting for property professionals and interview like Sales Managers and listen to our Hiring Managers requirements taking accurate instructions accordingly. We check for gaps in employment and avoid job hoppers and our company motto is “Quality and not quantity”. We DO NOT just send out candidates’ CV’s in the hope that if we throw enough mud at the wall some will stick.
Following our initial telephone interview, we will also provide our clients with a CV synopsis. This provides their career highlights together with our opinion of them, thus painting a picture of the candidate. Many clients rely on our synopsis rather than look at the CV.
In the end, the success of our service is built on strong relationships and ultimately the service we provide to both clients and candidates. With our candidates, we fully understand just how important it is that they find the right workplace ‘fit’ for them to further their career.
Can you elaborate on your Estate Agency background?
I offer an unrivalled knowledge of the property sector totalling 12 years of residential Estate Agency experience, having worked within both Corporate and Independent Estate Agency for high profile companies such as Bairstow Eves Countrywide, Beresfords Group and Douglas Allen (Arun Estates).
I started my property career in the property boom of 1988 with Douglas Allen Spiro – now Douglas Allen (Arun Estates) and what a time this was to enter Estate Agency with properties literally flying out the door.
I went through fast promotions based solely on merit and was then head hunted to join Bairstow Eves Countrywide as a Senior Negotiator and Lister. Over the years, I won numerous awards to include top Negotiator in the East region in 1994, driving away with a brand-new Escort Cabriolet Convertible as my new company car, top Lister in the East region in 1995 and 1996 and also with the highest average fee.
This all culminated in being appointed to my first Branch Managers position in 1997. After inheriting a loss-making office, I topped the improvers champions league in 1998, writing 50% more business than the previous year and almost double the improvement shown by my second-place rival. I also came 3rd in the East region on profit – Everyone loves an award. I ended my Estate Agency career with the well-respected Beresfords Group as a Branch Manager.
How long have you been established?
I have been successfully trading now for over 12 years, which is a milestone that I am extremely proud of and as the strapline in my company logo mentions – Let us solve the puzzle.
Who do you recruit for and where do you cover?
Our reputation and integrity have enabled us to forge ongoing relationships with some of the most respected and renowned names in both Corporate and Independent Estate Agency, and we are proud to be included onto numerous Preferred Supplier Lists. We have achieved this by sourcing and placing candidates at all levels within residential sales, lettings, property management and financial services up to and including Regional Sales and Lettings Directors.
We have 3 offices and cover the whole of the UK and our success has seen us match the perfect candidate with the perfect job in all four corners of the United Kingdom from Brighton to Glasgow and Merthyr Tydfil to Norwich.
What’s your property background?
Having ultimately operated at Regional Manager level within Bairstow Eves and Abbotts Countrywide, I bring a combined total of 13 years of Estate Agency and Financial Services expertise to the table. At one stage, I was responsible for delivering performance and profitability throughout a network of 19 offices.
I quickly realized that being responsible for the hands-on training, development and coaching of a region of that size, was pretty much a full-time recruitment role in itself. I dealt with all of my recruitment at the time without the aid of an external recruitment agency, which made my role much more challenging.
I often felt I needed a niche service to assist with the burden of recruitment; someone who understood my role and the challenges I faced, who could save me time and energy sourcing robust candidates.
What about now?
I have now accrued over 9 years’ experience specializing in Estate Agency and Financial Services recruitment. Here I am offering that exact service to those who are in a similar position to where I was. My goal being to understand my clients’ needs and to save them time, so they can proactively increase their profits, as opposed to reactively chasing their tail due to gaps in their business.
Over the years I have reviewed countless CV’s and have interviewed thousands of candidates. Since dedicating my career to recruitment, I have personally placed high quality candidates into positions at all levels, from Trainees, to Managing Directors and everything in between. Once I assist a client with filling their vacancies, I will work closely with them
How did you become involved with recruitment?
I had spent my entire working career in law. I worked for a total of thirty years at two major City law firms: seven years with Fieldfisher and twenty-three years with Berwin Leighton Paisner Solicitors – who were named a top-five ‘legal game changer of the last decade’ by the Financial Times.
At both firms I was a successful Licensing (alcohol and gambling) Practitioner acting for many well-known companies’ such as JD Wetherspoons, Premier Inn, Café Rouge, Travelodge, Whitbread – to name but a few. I had numerous highlights, including creating some innovative legal arguments, changing from 11am to 10am (prior to the alteration to the law that enabled “24-hour drinking”) the opening hours of pubs in most of England and Wales, and also being awarded “Supplier of the Year” by JD Wetherspoon.
However, in my last four years, I took on a new role which involved managing and recruiting paralegals to the firm. There had previously been an over emphasis on people’s backgrounds, and which university they attended, but I was determined to recruit on talent alone. I am very proud that a number of the paralegals I took on, including a number rejected by other firms, not only shone, but obtained training contracts to be solicitors.
So why Estate Agency recruitment?
After my firm opened an office in Manchester, and moved the paralegal team there, I wasn’t ready to move to another part of the country, but I was ready for a change of career.
Having thoroughly enjoyed my four years of recruitment, I wanted to stay in the industry, and initially thought about legal recruitment. However, having been friends with Steve for years, and knowing we shared a similar work ethic, I dropped a few very unsubtle(!) hints about joining him.
I particularly wanted to work with Steve, because having been used to working to very high standards, I knew the longevity of Steve’s business and his success was due entirely to his quality of service. We had a chat and Steve asked me to join him.
How are you finding it?
I started over a year ago and the time has simply flown by. I like to think that my previous experience makes me well versed in finding the best talent up against tight deadlines and that (having worked in a legal environment) I bring a sharp-eye for detail and professionalism. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our clients, their needs and requirements. I’m particularly pleased to have already obtained a number of new clients and successfully recruited for them too.
It’s also great to be able to help candidates progress their careers. I do my utmost to prepare candidates thoroughly for their interviews, to give them the best possible chance to do themselves justice.
Finally, working with Steve and Adam has been brilliant. Although we’re in different parts of the country, we’re in regular contact and have a lot of fun. Stability in my working life is key to me, because the longer you work in a role, the more your expertise comes into play. Therefore, the number of years Steve and Adam have spent in the industry, and in particular working together, is hugely attractive to me and I look forward to working with them for many years to come.