As I approach my 21st birthday in recruitment (oh how I wish it was my age) I wanted to take time to reflect on the changes I have seen throughout my career.
I started out as an Administrator for an International Recruitment Agency, which for me was great as they had found me my first ever job when I moved to London at the tender age of 18. As with most people I had never thought of working in recruitment and it was simply by registering with my local office for work when I moved back to the Midlands and the manager asked if I wanted to work for her that was it, my recruitment journey had begun.
This was back in the day when you had to get 10 years of referencing for people – all handwritten and posted out to clients. When payroll took 3 days and I printed reports out on A3 sheets of paper which seemed to take over the office. You faxed CVs to clients and stood by the fax machine to wait for offers. I remember the sheer delight of coming back from maternity leave and finding out we had a new system which meant I simply inputted the hours for 300 + temporary workers onto a system hit a button and off it went.
I steadily learnt my craft, moved into a consultant role mainly working with major national banking contracts and then took that terrifying step into the world of sales! After a number of years eventually managing my own branches and setting branches up for major recruitment firms.
I moved into professional permanent recruitment in 2009 following the recession and redundancy starting with 6 years in fashion and then moving to Ashley Kate to focus on HR in 2015. I now head up a team of fantastic HR Consultants who cover the whole of the UK whilst I still focus on recruiting HR professionals across the Midlands.
For me, the way I have seen the market change and especially for me making a move from temporary staffing into working in specialist recruitment is how key even more so candidate care is.
When I was made redundant in 2009 the one thing that struck me was how awfully I was treated as a candidate and I really try to ensure that I put my candidates at the same level as my clients. I ensure I don’t forget my experience and this experience is shared with my team, and though it is the client who ultimately pays the fee it is the candidate whose life we are helping to change. Remembering they are people we are supporting not a commodity we are selling it vitality important.
I have seen the market change drastically in the last 21 years from their being branches on every high street to following 2009/10 businesses condensing their bricks and mortar to perhaps a few key offices, to fast forward 2020 and the current scenario where my goodness we have all regardless of industry had to adapt and change in some cases literally overnight.
We were fortunate at Ashley Kate HR & Finance that we had already implemented remote working for the team so the transition to the whole business working remotely this was “relatively” straightforward. However, I am amazed when I look back at how this has managed to teach me new skills, probably what I love about recruitment that you are constantly learning and having to adapt.
When it comes to adapting – over the last 2 decades I really have had to. From the young naive 21 year old wrestling with endless reams of paper to now being on the 4th floor as it were, I am now on video calls daily organising webinars for over 200 people through online booking systems, to doing video Interviews for my clients. I’ve not quite hit the dizzy realms of TikTok as my daughters have threatened to disown me if I do but give me time, I’m sure it has a place in the recruitment industry!
What I have learnt over 21 years is I love my jobs, my candidates and clients alike and hopefully I can continue for the next 21 years supporting businesses and job seekers on their journeys.
Jacqui Wall Head of HR Recruitment at Ashley Kate HR & Finance is an experienced HR recruiter with over 20 years of recruitment industry experience; both across the UK & Internationally. Currently heading up the HR recruitment team at Ashley Kate who cover a UK wide remit.