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Jaspreet Bhogal; 10 years at Oyster.

jaspreet bhogal associate director oyster partnership

-By Jaspreet Bhogal, Associate Director, Oyster Partnership-

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I stepped into our then offices on Glasshouse Street and began my first day as a Trainee Recruitment Consultant at Oyster Partnership. 

Anniversaries tend to be a time to reflect, so I’ve looked back through the photo archives of the last decade and what’s interesting is that although the photos below absolutely tell my story, they also show that although 10 years have passed, and we’ve moved with the times, the fundamentals of Oyster are still going strong!  

The phones 

Much has changed over the years, we’ve invested in our IT systems, we’ve utilised platforms like LinkedIn more, and we all love the convenience of a quick email, but for me, the one thing that has always (and no doubt will always) remain a constant in recruitment is the good old-fashioned phone – you can’t beat it! 

I firmly believe that regardless of how technology progresses and how much AI gets involved in the industry, the phone will still reign supreme as the contact method of choice for recruiters but also for our clients and candidates – people buy from people (not robots!)  

recruitment consultant

Individual holiday targets  

Anyone who has worked at Oyster (past and present) will speak about how good the incentive package is, and the most sought-after incentives of all are the holidays! I have been extremely fortunate in my time to have visited some amazing cities but one that stands out more than most was Berlin – my first ever holiday with Oyster! 

I had been set my quarterly target and knew what I needed to do to get on holiday, I remember the team around me buzzing about the thought of going away, but it was such an unknown to me as the company I’d been at before didn’t offer quarterly holidays (much less to every single person that hit their target!) 

Lucky for me I hit the numbers I needed and off 7 of us went. February 2012, 6 months into my time with the company and we landed in -16 degree temperature, it was here I learned a valuable life lesson; stilettos and ice do not mix well together! 

Looking back, I can genuinely say that some of my favourite holidays of all time have been with Oyster, and although I may have “retired” from the company holiday scene, I genuinely love watching those around me hit their targets, go on their first holidays and come back with memories that will last a lifetime.  

Company holiday targets  

Although the quarterly holidays are amazing, the company’s yearly holiday targets are nothing short of incredible! Being told a year in advance that if we hit a certain target within 12 months we would all be off to Vegas was insane (but also seemed a little unimaginable!)

As the year drew to an end, we could see the numbers coming in, we knew we were close! I will never forget the extra hours we all put in, the help, the encouragement, the motivation we all gave each other to make sure it happened – and it did! I couldn’t believe it – not only had I already been to Berlin and Barcelona at this point, but I was also now off to Vegas – staying in The Wynn no less!

Looking back, this was absolutely my favourite Oyster incentive memory, not only because of how unbelievable the holiday was but because of how hard we had all worked to make it happen. 

Once the world opens up again, I know there will be more opportunities for trips like this, but if there was ever a holiday to tempt me out of retirement – this would be it!  

Achievers  

Achievers, a monthly event that precedes my time at Oyster. The concept is simple, hit a certain target in the month and you are out for the afternoon! The target isn’t easy, but it is achievable, after all, you need to demonstrate you’ve achieved. 

One of the perks of working in Piccadilly Circus is that when you’re ‘out’, you are out in Soho, Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Fitzrovia, and not only that you’re with your colleagues who like you have worked exceptionally hard that month to be there.

I couldn’t count how many of these lunches I’ve been fortunate enough to attend but the excitement never changes. I do remember my first-ever Achievers though, 5 of us went to Gaucho in Piccadilly and spent the afternoon enjoying the amazing food (and drink), and playing many games of fingers in (if you know, you know!).  

Although the holidays have had to take a back seat due to what’s going on at the moment, achievers is back and I can’t wait to get on one soon!   

Client meetings  

One of my favourite parts of my job as a recruiter was going out to see my clients, not only was it so valuable for me to be able to find out more about them, how they worked, where they worked, and what they would be looking for, but it also let me say thank you by offering to take them for lunch, taking some biscuits for the team, etc.

My ‘patch’ as a recruitment consultant was London, so normally it would be myself and our now Head of People, Hannah Clarke, that would set out together a couple of times a week to all parts of the capital, from Ealing to Wembley, to Bromley, to Walthamstow and everywhere in between we would turn up with goodies, CVs, (and of course our heels in our bag for a quick shoe change outside the offices!).  

Since 2020 we have used Teams and Zoom as a way of replacing these in-person meetings but as we and our clients start heading back into the office, I look forward to meeting people face to face very soon!  

Training 

As my role has progressed, I have become more involved in creating and delivering the training to our new Academies as they join, as well as sessions for existing staff.

Although the thought of standing up in front of any number of people for the longest time terrified me, it genuinely is now a part of my job that I love! Watching Trainees join on day one and seeing them get through the Academy, do deals, earn a commission, and achieve great things is incredible to see and when they come up to me years later and say a trick I taught them in a session helped them in some way is amazing to hear.  

We are currently hiring for 20 new Trainees, the most we’ve hired at one time, and behind the scenes, I’m currently rewriting our Temp Academy to make it fit for the world we now all live in – I can’t wait to start delivering it in September to our new recruits!  

Promotions  

Oyster has always been (and continues to be) very black and white, if you do X you will receive Y and the career path is no different. It has changed over the years and new avenues have emerged as well as a clear structure on how to reach the next level. I can remember how stressful it was at each stage trying to hit the criteria to get up the next step on the ladder. 

I am also not too proud to admit I wasn’t successful each time I went for a promotion, and I got knocked back a couple of times. However, I was always given clear direction about what I needed to focus on to make sure I made it the next time. 

Every time I’ve been promoted the sense of achievement is immense, not only because I’m furthering my career but because I know I’ve earned it (the promotion celebrations are pretty epic too!)  

Awards  

As we’ve grown bigger, we’ve developed our brand and as a result, we’ve been shortlisted over the years for more and more awards.

A big achievement for me was being shortlisted for Manager of the Year at the IIP Awards a few years ago. It’s always a great night out, and the anticipation of hearing the winners is always huge!  

Awards season is upon us again and be it virtually or in person, we’ll be there with our fingers crossed! Special good luck to our MD Sasza who is up for Leader of the Year at this year’s Tiara Awards and Recruiter Awards!  

Growth  

As I stepped into management it really was a bit of an unknown – I hadn’t done it before, and I had no idea if I’d be any good at it, and if I’m completely honest, at the start I really wasn’t! I tried (and failed) many times to figure out my management style, I struggled to spin all the plates, and looking back now I was trying to run before I could walk! 

I remember speaking to Sasza, frustrated that I couldn’t grow the team, we were the underdog, worked incredibly hard but something wasn’t working.

Then something clicked, the team over the years has gone from strength to strength, the smallest to the biggest, the least number of divisions to the most, and I couldn’t be prouder.  

Although I don’t recruit anymore, watching individuals develop, get promoted, earn a commission, buy properties, take their families on holidays, etc is what now keeps me motivated.  

Support  

Recruitment has its highs and lows at all levels of your journey. Whether it’s a candidate falling out, a staff member leaving, or suddenly having to work from home during a global pandemic and your markets being decimated, you need those around you to pick you up.

Looking through years of photos, the one thing that stands out for me is how incredibly lucky I am to work with the people I do, and although the faces may have changed over the years, the ethos, and fabric of what makes someone Oyster has remained.

I’ve made friends for life, learned from the best in the industry, and whilst celebrating our highs is epic, having the support of my colleagues during the lows has been irreplaceable.  


The Author…

Associate Director oyster partnership

Jaspreet Bhogal

Associate Director, Oyster Partnership

Jas joined Oyster Partnership back in 2011 after working at Hays for 2 years. Since then Jas has led on all things Social Housing, along the way she has been growing not only her reputation but also the Oyster brand within the Housing Industry.

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