AI Issue 4 2017

Acquisition International - April 2017 71 People at the Heart of Recruitment they are sick and enjoy paid holidays. Our company make sure that our temporary/flexible work force are paid a fair wage, and we also pay all legislative costs relating to NI contributions, tax, pension and holiday pay, but it seems that other firms are getting away under the ‘flexible working/self employed’ banner without contributing to the UK. Therefore, we are seeing a notable change in the balance of the workforce which is not helping the UK flourish as it should.” Prior to launching Love Success, Julia and Jane were two of the original founding directors of Huntress that launched in 2000 and they grew the business to over 400 staff. Jane and Julia remained on the board for 9 years before undertaking a management buyout. The firm had 22 offices and turnover in excess of £100 million when it was sold for £40 million. In terms of the staff that work for them now, Julia says they are amazing and that 40% of their staff have been working with them for several years and followed them from their previous companies. This is testament to their leadership and a massive vote of confidence to them both as these staff walked away from fantastic salaries and bonuses to work with Jane and Julia on their brand new start up and all the risks that entail with new companies. Jane adds that what they do at Love Success is not seen as the norm in recruitment, she explains, “We do offer truly flexible working without compromising on bonus earnings for our staff. We are able to offer this in return for long-term commitment. We have been through several births, marriages and divorces and we care greatly about our staff providing support whenever they need it.” “We know that in everyone’s lives there will be times when they need time off or a reduction in hours to support their families or for a personal situation, and we provide this as we know we get it back ten- fold in their commitment to us. Other recruitment agencies we know, don’t allow anything but full-time working, which we believe is incredibly limiting and doesn’t promote commitment or longevity within the talent force.” Enviable Breadth of Clients in London Turning to clients, Love Success works with thousands of different clients every year from every business sector, 70% of which are repeat customers, which is proof that people believe in and rely on the service the firm provides. Jane adds that they do regular surveys to ensure that the service being provided is always at optimum quality, for all of their clients, and that they visit their clients on a regular basis to ensure that they are maintaining the level of service. In terms of the future, even following BREXIT, things have got much busier for Love Success and they have been inundated. Jane says that they were nervous when the BREXIT result came out and of the impact this could have on London companies, professional services and banking in particular. “However, we have seen that office rental rates in the city have taken a dip which is a slight indication of the concern within the City businesses. Also, immediately after the decision was made our high salaried positions (£150K plus) were put on hold for a month or so. Other than these two indicators, we have not been affected in our business. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite! We are on target to achieve a turnover of £8 million this year, but we are watching very carefully and talking with our clients constantly about the effect of BREXIT.” Julia adds that businesses will adjust in time and that they have gone through several tough times including recessions in the past 27 years in the recruitment industry and is very confident the UK will get through this too. Having said that, Jane adds that recruitment companies with a very small client base are the ones to be wary of. If one of those clients withdraws their business, it can have a catastrophic affect to that small recruitment business. Love Success are fortunate that their business model of supplying to a high number of clients ensures the stability of the company. This business model has seen them through many recessions in the past. Love Success provides to a wide range of industries and this is obviously a winning formula for them. Evolving with technology Julia says, “The challenge now is definitely the new way of communication through social media and how to embrace the right ones without affecting your brand. As such we believe the different sites offer their own plus points with Facebook being fun, Twitter for immediate responses, Instagram for visual impact/branding and LinkedIn is for professional networking. But you can’t solely rely on these to build your business. We use them to enhance our offering but it doesn’t deflect from the success we have in relationship building with our clients from visiting them in person. We also ensure that we meet all our applicants before working on their behalf or sending them out temping.” “A lot of people try to build better technology to replace recruitment agencies. However technology cannot replace the face-to-face reality in uncovering the real applicant and their strengths and skills on offer. Recruitment companies are people based businesses, so computers cannot convey an applicant’s personality or passion or even persuade a client to see a wildcard person for example. We get to know our candidates and gain their trust, having nurtured advised and supported them throughout the process. It’s from this engagement that we get a true picture and feel of where they would be ideally suited. These very important attributes are never evident via a computerised copy of a CV. Technology is great to enhance but should not be the only tool used” Julia adds. Creating History Jane concludes that, “anybody who wants to get on in life with a burning desire and ambition will do well. There are so many companies in London and the South East - it’s a great place to be. You don’t always need a first-class degree; it is all about the person, their approach and energy. In a recent survey we compiled we found that 20% of the top PAs had a degree. Therefore, if a client insists on only looking at “degree educated PAs” then they automatically miss out on 80% of very talented PAs! When we inform our clients of this the majority change their mind. We always ask our clients if they want us to supply them with the best CV or the best candidate? There’s a huge difference.” Jane remarks that from her own personal experience, and her experience in employing recruitment consultants, that becoming a recruitment consultant is not generally the first choice as a career when finishing college or university. “I don’t know anybody that has planned to be a recruiter from day one. For me, the idea was actually sold to me by a temp who worked in my office. I called a very well known agency in London and they refused to see me initially because I “had no sales experience.” I challenged them on this point, adding that if I was willing to drive all the way from Manchester to London for an interview to try to convince them otherwise, then they should really see me. They did and the rest is history!”