It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since we joined Oyster. Starting as an academy of ten, there are now just three of us left!
It’s strange to think that the pandemic hit just after our one-year anniversary, and we were pushed into the unknown. Yet here we are, having all achieved a lot in the last three years.
To celebrate our three-year anniversary, we decided to sit down and ask each other a few questions.
What Were You Doing Before Oyster?
Holly: I did a few different things. I initially spent a few years working as a bar supervisor in a nightclub. I then worked for Santander in customer service.
Rakeem: Before Oyster, I worked at Five Guys as a chef, which gave me the opportunity to land a role in the head office as a recruitment coordinator.
Laurence: After finishing sixth form, I worked as a bartender in one of my local bars for a couple of years. Following that, I worked for an estate agency for five years before spending a year travelling around Australia.
Why Did You Choose Oyster?
Holly: I was moving to London and, after dropping out of university, I had no idea what to do! I had no idea what recruitment was; I thought it was a setting similar to the Jobcentre, but I saw a few jobs on LinkedIn and applied. After a few interviews with recruitment companies, I had almost given up hope until I had the call from Hannah asking me to attend an interview. I instantly felt like this was the right place for me to start a career. I was put through my paces in the interviews, but getting the call offering me the job made it all worth it!
Rakeem: A few colleagues from my previous role suggested that they thought I would do well in a career in recruitment. After researching what recruitment was about, I thought the next step was to find the right organisation that had a great environment. Before my interview with Oyster, I attended several interviews within various industries. When I stepped into the Oyster office, I felt the energy straight away. Meeting the managing director, senior management team, and other consultants helped me understand different people’s perspectives about the business, and straight away, I was sold. It’s a culture where we work extremely hard but have fun along the way, which I enjoy the most. I am glad I chose Oyster as I have met some amazing people.
Laurence: I’d just got home from travelling and wanted to try something new. Whilst I was working at the estate agency, I was headhunted by a recruitment agency and thought it would be an interesting option to explore. I interviewed with several agencies in London; however, none of them felt like the right fit. I was just about to move on and think of something else when my rec2rec convinced me to go to one last interview. I’m so happy that I agreed, as it instantly felt right.
What Has Been Your Highlight of the Last Three Years?
Holly: I’d have to say the Ibiza holiday last year, but also being promoted to senior consultant in March 2021.
Rakeem: I would say my recent holiday with Oyster when we all went to Barcelona. We all had such a fun time, and it was an enjoyable way to socialise outside of work settings.
Laurence: It would have to be my first Oyster holiday to Barcelona as well; it was such an unbelievable experience. However, it’s also difficult to look past the many evenings spent over in the comedy pub with the friends that I’ve made whilst working here.
Is There Anything You’d Do Differently?
Rakeem: I don’t think I would do anything differently. The process has helped me appreciate the work needed for the role and has allowed me to grow as a person in my professional and personal life.
Holly: I wouldn’t necessarily do anything differently, but I wish I had more confidence in my ability when I first started. I was very shy and barely spoke to anyone when I first started, which is hard to believe now!
Laurence: Not massively. I think one of the nicest things about Oyster is that the environment you’re in allows you to just be yourself. Everyone runs their own race, and although there may be mistakes here and there, that’s where you learn the best lessons.
What Has Been the Biggest Challenge?
Holly: Probably comparing myself to others, especially the academy I started with. Everyone seemed to do their first placement, pass probation, and become a recruitment consultant quite quickly, whereas it took me eight months! But where I am now has made me realise that it’s more important to focus on yourself – it doesn’t matter what others are doing.
Rakeem: There have been times in my career when I have seen people around me who may have been in a better position than myself. This affected me within the first year and a half of my career. However, learning to concentrate on myself and persevering through the tough moments has helped me and my work, which has enabled me to reach personal goals.
Laurence: For me, it has definitely been the pandemic. I’d spent the year grinding and getting to a point where I was just starting to make headway, and then, overnight, I was back to square one. I did, however, learn a lot about myself over that period, and I’m glad to say I came out the other side.
What Advice Would You Give to Someone Just Starting Out in Their Recruitment Career?
Holly: I would say prepare to work hard. Yes, recruitment is a tough industry, but the rewards are worth it. We’ve all been able to reach personal and professional goals in the last three years that wouldn’t be possible without working hard and persevering.
Rakeem: I would say to always feel free to ask for help and advice if you are unsure about something. People want to see you achieve and reach certain milestones in your career, so the best thing to do is speak to those who have followed the same path! If you do what is required and work hard, you will see the rewards at the end of it.
Laurence: My advice would be to remember that the work comes first. We’re incredibly lucky to be working for a company that is very generous and rewarding, but this only comes when you put in the hard yards. Also, I’d advise anyone just starting out to be happy to see other people excel and not take that as a reflection of whether they are better or not. I’ve seen people who start off really quickly and fizzle out. Likewise, I’ve seen people who start really slowly and are now some of our highest billing consultants.