Because who better to explain the rationale behind my decision than the esteemed linguist, “Drizzy” Drake?

Posted 4 years ago

In 2012 I joined Michael Page HR and begun a journey which would ultimately lead me to, yesterday, fulfilling a lifelong ambition – to launch my own business. I will forever be indebted the company, and people within it, for the industry leading training and development I received, which transitioned a clueless graduate, in to someone who now has the audacity to think he can leave his salary and comforts behind and go it alone.

As someone setting up a new recruitment business, your biggest fear is always that nobody will use you, and you will run out of cash, and this is certainly something that worries me. I frequently question how I am going to claw business away from my well-known, established competitors; so I asked myself, how did I break in to new clients in my last job?

When first trying to develop my presence in the Media and Technology sectors on behalf of Michael Page, I found that many creative businesses or start-ups seemed to typically work with a smaller boutique recruitment agencies, who also supplied them with digital talent, amongst other specialisms.

It became apparent that I had an uphill battle on my hands, and so I reflected on how I would break down these barriers. How could I differentiate myself?

Reliability

The main piece of feedback I got from candidates on their experience with recruiters is that they always felt let down. No follow-ups, no feedback, mixed messages, mismanagement of expectations, over-promising and under-delivering. So that’s when it came to me – why don’t I just try my absolute hardest to do all of these (relatively easy) things, all of the time, and maybe just that alone will differentiate me?

Professionalism

Whilst these people had made the decision that they did not want to deal with a large corporation, they did fundamentally want to deal with someone who is professional, as either their own job search, or their own HR team depended on it. Maybe I could focus less on the “fluffy” stuff, and more on providing high-quality service – quick turnaround of high-quality CV’s, comprehensive market updates, thorough CV feedback and useful advice?

Fairness

I have to confess that my least favourite part of my job is negotiation. The truth is that I normally want the business so badly, that I don’t want to risk tempering the relationship over the sake of 1%! I also heard lots of people talking about instances where they had been held over a barrel by a recruiter over things like “temp-to-perm” fees. Inevitably this client would never use them again – so how does that make logical business sense? I hope I don’t live to regret saying this, but I would always rather shave a few percent off and have the opportunity to work with that person again. Am I clutching at straws, or could something this simple actually be one of my USP’s?

I achieved these things to varying degrees in my last job – sometimes I had to hold the line over fees, sometimes I too failed to call people back as a result of having to deal with a resignation in my team, an endless internal meeting, or something similar (not that these are actually a valid excuse by the way!) However, I did still feel that generally I made more of an effort in these areas than most, and ultimately I worked with lots of fantastic business along the way as a result, who I believed used me as a result of me, rather than the brand I was representing.

Now that I’m all on my own, I make all of the decisions and have no excuses either! These three areas are the foundation of my business plan for Hawkwood, and if you want to put me to the test then please get in touch at kristian@hawkwoodpartners.com or 0207 190 9555.