Like many when I graduated I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life – and that was scary! Up until this point, it all seemed pretty straight forward; go to school, pass GCSE’s, pass A-levels, go to Uni. But what next?
Whilst I loved my degree in Psychology I was adamant that I didn’t want to get further into debt by doing a masters and actually, I was just ready to get into the working world. I sat and thought about what skills I had, and after 5 years of working in retail, sales seemed like an obvious choice (or at least Google told me it was!) So, I took the first thing that was offered to me; IT sales – huge mistake! I lasted 3 months and pretty soon was thinking of any reason not to go to work. Then one random day I had a phone call from an internal recruiter at Hays who had seen my details on a job site. I really had no idea about who Hays were but the person on the phone asked me to go to their Kingston office to meet the manager. Given that this was 10 minutes from home and it meant I could stop travelling to North London to sell IT solutions; I jumped at the chance!
I turned up to my interview naively thinking that I was being interviewed as a candidate rather than as a recruiter, so it came as a shock when I was asked why I wanted to work for Hays! I managed to get myself through the first and second stage interview as well as a nerve-racking phone trial and on the 1st September 2009 I began my first day as a Recruiter.
When I think back to that day I had no assumption or even ambition necessarily that I was going to be in it for the long haul; after all who grows up wanting to be in recruitment? It was an industry I didn’t really know existed and I was told I’d be recruiting into Social Housing; again an industry I didn’t really know existed.
Looking back now, I find it funny how wrong I was; it wasn’t long before I was hooked! 10 years in the recruitment industry has done so much for me personally and professionally and I wouldn’t change it for the world! I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been mentored by some inspirational individuals and work alongside many who I would now consider close friends. I’ve of course also been able to learn about the business world, particularly as my career has progressed, and I would now consider myself actually quite commercial (something that was not the case for a very long time!)
8 years ago I moved to a comparatively smaller (tiny) Oyster Partnership. A Central London based agency with big plans and ambitions. What I loved (and still love) about Oyster is the hunger to be bigger, to be better, and to challenge the status quo. Fortunately for me I’ve watched and helped this small relatively unknown business grow into a real contender; but in true Oyster style, we’re not done yet!
It’s not been an easy road, and there were plenty of times where I wondered if I was doing the right thing, questioned my own ability or just thought that I’d had enough. However, looking back over the last decade the pro’s by far outweigh the cons.
Over the years I’ve met hundreds of recruiters but I’m yet to meet one that actively chose to get into the industry; most ‘fall in’ and this surprises me! I think more should be done at a younger age to raise awareness of what is such a special (not to mention successful) sector. We may occasionally be looked on negatively but there is so much good that is also done. In my earlier years, I loved nothing more than working with my clients and candidates to find the right fit and I prided myself in the service I gave. As a manager, I love nothing more than watching my staff develop and helping them realise and achieve their potential.
10 years in any role is a long time, but I’m pleased and lucky to say that although the company and my day to day may have changed I’m still as excited about this industry as I’ve ever been!
On this note ever thought about a career in recruitment? Oyster’s 2019 Academy will begin in a few weeks and Ali is on the lookout for the next generation! Find out more here!