Having finished university with a 2.1 in Psychology, I was like most graduates… lost.
There was no obvious path to go down and I had no interest in continuing down the route of education, all I knew was that I was eager to start my career.
In the end, I grabbed the first thing offered to me – an IT sales role. Big mistake. I lasted 5 weeks before I was called by Hays, offering me an interview in their Kingston office, which was a convenient 10 minutes from home! I’d never considered recruitment as a career… largely because I’d never heard of recruitment before, but the promise of an easy commute was enough for me.
After two years at Hays, I decided it was time for a change. I was still eager to stay within the recruitment sector, but I wanted to explore working in London; I wanted to be part of a company that was growing, and I wanted to be on a journey with the company. Many interviews and 7 offers later, I received an email on LinkedIn from the then director at Oyster Partnership, asking if I’d had a bad day and wanted a change. Given that none of the 7 offers had felt right, I responded, and before I knew I was sat in an office in Soho, surrounded by no more than 9 other recruiters… and my new journey had begun.
The first year went by in a flash; I loved the buzz that a small group of individuals could create
The first year went by in a flash; I loved the buzz that a small group of individuals could create, the hunger everyone had was infectious, and working in the West End was the cherry on top. Unlike my previous role where the sheer number of employees meant there was room for individuals to hide, Oyster relied on every individual to pull their weight – how else would we grow? That drive meant we were working long hours, often in the office until 7/8pm, but none of us minded, we all had our eyes on a unified goal.
Looking back now my time as a recruiter was a real highlight for me; having targets to chase, getting to go out and meet new people every week, being on a busy sales floor and being rewarded generously for just doing my job, it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. That being said, it wasn’t always easy and smooth sailing; late nights could take their toll, building relationships with colleagues who, for whatever reason, then moved on was tough, and whilst we were having the most fun and had big dreams, reaching those goals seemed like a pipe dream.
As time went on, there were some big changes; Sasza took over as MD, and he quickly got stuck in putting plans in place, hiring in academies, and opening new divisions. Suddenly, I could see my career path opening. Having climbed the recruitment career path growing from Recruiter to Principal, all of a sudden, my next step seemed clear, and I was excited to start building a team.
The next few years were tough - I was trying to find my management style whilst watching others around me make it look easy
In the first 6 months I hired… and quickly lost my first trainee (management was hard!); I struggled with how to divide my time between training and recruiting, and I thought micromanagement was the way forward. Looking back now, I had some very questionable expectations. The next few years were tough - I was trying to find my management style whilst watching others around me make it look easy. I pushed to keep myself motivated through some poor retention periods, but in all honesty, it really made me question if management was right for me.
What never changed, though, was how supported I felt. Not only by Sasza, but also by my colleagues around me. Although we were going down our own paths and facing our own obstacles, as a management team, we were all close and kept each other motivated.
We often speak about the “penny drop” moment in recruitment, and whilst I picked up how to bill relatively quicky, learning how to manage was not the same. But somewhere around 2017 the penny dropped, and suddenly (albeit as this point it had been 3 years of trying) things started to fall into place. My team was growing, I was opening multiple new divisions, growing managers underneath me, as well as getting involved in areas like training company wide.
Fast forward to today (conveniently skipping the blip that was Covid) 11 years on, and I have reached Director level. Thinking back to the start of my recruitment career, and even my start at Oyster, I don’t think I ever thought I would get to this stage. For the first few years, recruitment had just been a thing that I was doing whilst I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. How wrong I was!
It’s easy to become passionate about a job you enjoy, and it’s even easier to become invested in a company that you love; from the buzz of recruiting to the Oyster holidays (nothing will ever beat our first trip to Vegas!), watching my staff grow and develop, and the countless opportunities Oyster has afforded me, both professionally and personally. I couldn’t have asked for more from a role that was supposed to be a “stop gap”!
So, what’s next?
2022 saw so much change for us: a new brand, new office, more hiring and new divisions. But that’s just the beginning. What keeps me motivated to come into work every day is knowing that the hunger we had as a 10-man band back in 2011 is still here. Our leadership and management team are stronger than ever, our next generation of team leaders is coming through and we have over 100 people all striving to keep us moving forward. Whether its new offices, new brands or international expansion, I have no doubt that we will get there and do it in true Oyster style.
If you'd like to explore a recruitment career with us, get in touch with us today.