27 March 2017
After taking a year out travelling following graduation, Simon started out at Hydrogen as a researcher back in February 2012. He now manages a team of five in our Business Transformation practice, specialising in digital banking.
“I was lucky to start off in the same team that I’m in now and get to work on one of our big accounts as Hydrogen is a top supplier for this major UK banking group. So I could count on a high volume of jobs and interviews which enabled me to learn about the recruitment process quickly. This allowed me to progress without moving team or sector. After three to four months, I became a consultant, so there was more ownership of my work. At this time, digital banking was really taking off so I was able to focus and develop this niche. From there, I was promoted to senior consultant, mentoring new joiners, so effectively leading a team within a team before becoming a manager in 2015. The career paths here are really clearly mapped out and consistent across the business.
“My team know what I expect from them, they have their Most Powerful Actions (MPAs) and deal targets but they know I’m there to help and support too. But most importantly, they’re motivated individuals – you need to have the right attitude in this job. More and more of my time is now spent on people management but growing the team means more opportunity. In terms of my own career plan, getting promoted to director with a couple of teams under you is a future goal. But for now, I want to grow my team and billings, have more people to focus on different markets to maximise our revenue and ensure everyone gets the right development.
“What I like about my job is that it’s fast-paced, you’ve constantly got jobs every day and candidates in process, you’ve got people interviewing who you meet for feedback, some new starters going through vetting. There’s lots of pipeline, which is great. You’re always on the go! People aside, we’ve got a great infrastructure – payroll, compliance, onboarding, finance & marketing – everything is geared to help you succeed. People know the Hydrogen brand and want to work with us. It’s a really fun culture, a hard-working sales environment that’s competitive. We’ve all got somebody we’re ranking against ourselves, which helps motivate you. But we’re all good mates too. As part of our staff incentives programme, I’ve been to Las Vegas, Mexico, Ibiza and in April I’ll be skiing in Val Thorens!
“It’s always frustrating when you place someone in a role only to hear (you can tell from their voice) that they’re backing out. You’ve told the manager, sold them in, they’ve accepted the role and then you have to call the client up and say he or she has been counteroffered or that something’s come up. Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often. The other frustration is that when a programme comes to an end you can lose a big chunk of your contract book. But that’s the nature of contract recruitment.
“The hardest part of the job? Time management. We have to balance servicing our clients with winning new business whilst ensuring we also give the best possible service to our candidates. The other big challenge is maintaining my contract book and personal income billing plus the responsibilities for the team hitting their targets. It’s difficult to juggle the two.
Best career advice
“I always remember our CEO comparing recruitment to going to the gym in that those who do the best always have a plan and work the hardest. If you’re thinking about your plan for the day on the way to work you’re more likely to do better than those asleep on the tube who only switch on when they get to the office! It stuck with me and it’s a mindset I’ve adopted ever since.”
Simon’s five top tips
You’ve got to be competitive: set yourself targets to keep motivated and driven
Observe others around you who are doing well – what can you learn from them?
Experience teaches you to manipulate the process in your favour to reach a ‘win-win’ situation
Stay focused on your priorities and don’t let distractions slow you down
Plan, plan, plan – prepare ahead so that you know what you need to achieve each day