Alex McLeod: The Aberdeen finance market post-pandemic
Alex McLeod and Bruce Russell have over 50 years of recruitment experience between them. Their professional careers span four decades and they’re the go-to people for many clients and candidates – in one case, they’ve placed three generations of one family in jobs.
So the duo, who launched specialist finance and IT recruitment company Right People in the late 2000s, know their subject matter better than most when it comes to assessing the present-day market.
Alex started his career in financial services with a bank but moved on into a recruitment role after five years, finding his niche and enjoying the buzz of financial recruitment.
More than 25 years on – 13 of those with Right People – he shares a common philosophy with Bruce: putting people first. “We work closely with clients rather than being process-driven – we don’t deal with CVs; we deal with people,” he says.
“We’ve taken the time to get to know the business of our clients and to build trust with them. We’re very fortunate that a lot of our clients deal with us exclusively, which means a lot to us – it’s not just about the fees. When clients only come to us, we know we’ve done something right.”
Alex believes that priorities have changed as the business world emerges from the pandemic. He says: “There is a big emphasis on flexibility that wasn’t there before. A lot of candidates are happy to move jobs for the same salary, provided they’re going into a workplace that offers a good work-life balance and hybrid working. Whereas before, the focus was primarily on career and remuneration.”
He adds: “In the Aberdeen finance market, we are now seeing industry start to open up and there are lots of opportunities with companies looking to hire financial accountants, payroll staff, management accountants and financial controllers. In practice, there are vacancies in corporate finance, tax and audit.”
Former Banchory Academy pupil Alex balances his work life by making the most of family time with his two young children and enjoys the occasional game of golf in his spare time.
Right People has taken on a number of new clients in recent months, and in light of that growth the team is currently hiring for a Recruitment Consultant or Senior Recruitment Consultant.
Finance recruitment – Alex McLeod, director: Alex.McLeod@rightpeople.uk.net
Bruce Russell: Believing in Aberdeen has been key to our success
With more than 50 years’ combined recruitment experience, directors Bruce Russell and Alex McLeod have come a long way since setting up Right People in 2007.
The Aberdeen finance and IT specialist has a loyal customer base, from small firms to the Aberdeen operations of international operations.
It has always prided itself on solely being an Aberdeen firm – and never thought to set up a satellite office elsewhere in the UK when the going got tough in the Granite City.
Bruce said: “We know our market – and we stick to doing what we do best.”
A keen golfer and hillwalker, Bruce started his career in the bank, and stayed in that sector for 13 years. He then joined a recruitment firm and remained there for 14 years, before branching out on his own with Alex.
Bruce added: “Setting up our own company has been a great decision. We still source talented people for companies we worked with when we first started. We must be doing something right!
“Even during difficult economic times in the city and the surrounding area, we have always had clients willing to give us their roles. It may not have been as much as during busier periods, but they still came to us for their recruitment requirements.
“As a business we believe in Aberdeen. The city has been through some challenging times and seems to find a way to come through it.”
Bruce says there is currently a broad range of vacancies at present, from helpdesk and networking positions to more senior roles.
He said: “There’s a good mix of roles. This includes general support people, business analysts, system engineers, software developers and management positions.
“The market started picking in August last year and it has continued in 2021. We are extremely fortunate to have a loyal client base. The IT market does not show any signs of calming down. If anything, I expect demand to increase towards the end of the year.
“We’ve always had a strong understanding of our clients and the candidates – and that puts us in a strong position to find the right outcomes.”
In addition to Right People’s loyal customer base, the firm has picked up a number of new clients. This has been achieved through word of mouth and focused online networking. The Right People team are hopeful the recent positive signs are an indication that things are returning to some degree of normality.
IT recruitment – Bruce Russell, director: Bruce.Russell@rightpeople.uk.net
Next month Alex McLeod on the Aberdeen finance recruitment sector
Right People: Our trusted recruitment partner for more than 10 years
By Gordon Christie, Managing Director at IT Hotdesk
Right People director Bruce Russell understands what makes our business tick. It’s why Right People has been our technical recruitment partner of choice for more than 10 years.
We specifically look to bring client-focused individuals on board. IT people can sometimes be quite introverted, but our collaborative culture calls for staff to be communicative and engaging as they build relationships with clients – enabling them to identify what further technological solutions could improve their business and help realise their growth aspirations.
Right People are our end-to-end recruitment partner. We simply go to them with the brief and job specification and trust them to source the right candidates for us.
It saves us valuable time sifting through the hundreds of CVs we would receive if we just posted on a jobs board or Linkedin. This is one of the main reasons we use Right People; it frees us up to concentrate on day-to-day operations and strategy.
Using Right People simplifies the whole recruitment process for us. They understand our business, and use that knowledge to identify the right candidates – people with the right attitude and the right skills.
The result: we get three CVs. We interview three people and we select one. It’s a streamlined process; one that means staff are not getting bogged down with emails, paperwork, chasing up candidates and arranging multiple interviews. We have experts working on our behalf. It’s a relationship founded first and foremost upon trust, and Bruce is easy to deal with.
We wouldn’t use anyone else for technical/IT recruitment and I would have no hesitation in recommending Right People’s services and expertise to others.
Right People and Bruce have been – and remain – valued contributors to the IT Hotdesk success story.
IT Hotdesk collaborates with companies to enable fit-for-purpose technology decisions for better business outcomes. Find out more about its strategic IT and technology solutions:
New recruit as Right People
targets further growth
Right People has added a new member to its team. Fraser Masson joins the firm as a recruitment consultant from a global car rental business where he was an assistant manager.
Established in 2008, Right People – which now has 70 years’ in-house recruitment expertise – is a leader in the finance, accountancy and IT recruitment sector in the north-east of Scotland.
In addition, Right People works with clients to provide personnel for roles in sales and marketing, HR and office support.
Bruce Russell, director at Right People, said: “Fraser showed the talent and the people skills to go from a graduate trainee to an assistant manager in just two years. We are delighted he has joined the Right People team as we look to continue our recent growth.”
Fraser, who has a BA in management with marketing from Robert Gordon University, will play a key role in supporting candidates and clients with HR, office support, logistics and procurement roles.
He said: “The skills gained in my previous position, such as engaging with customers to find out their needs and delivering first-rate outcomes, are relevant to this one. I’m delighted to be joining an ambitious recruitment business such as Right People.”
Bruce takes fundraising challenge right to the top
Bruce Russell, director of Right People, would scale any heights to raise funds for local charity Charlie House.
He has successfully completed his 50 in 150 Challenge, climbing 50 Munros within 150 days, three weeks ahead of schedule by scaling Carn an Tuirc, near Braemar, on Sunday.
Bruce also exceeded his fundraising target of £1,000, raising more than £1,400 for Charlie House, a local children’s charity which supports babies, children and young people with complex disabilities and life-limiting conditions in the North-east of Scotland.
Since beginning the challenge at the end of March, Bruce has walked 220 miles and, with a total ascent of 28,250m has scaled the equivalent of Everest (8848m) more than three times over.
Accompanying him on many of his climbs were his wife Clare and Charlie Dog, the charity’s fluffy toy mascot. A keen hillwalker, Bruce said he was elated to have completed his 50 in 150 fundraiser.
He said: “This was a much bigger challenge than I expected but the thought of those who would benefit kept me going.
“It’s such a worthwhile cause I’m delighted I could contribute. After climbing Munros right across Scotland it was nice to finish up relatively close to home. I was delighted to complete the challenge at the weekend and would like to thank everyone who has supported me.”
Kirsty Walker, Fundraising Co-ordinator at Charlie House, said: “What a fantastic achievement. We can’t thank Bruce enough for what he has done. He’s basically devoted much of his free time over the past four months to support our appeal to raise £8million to build a specialist support centre. His contribution will make a huge difference to the lives of many children and young people in the North-east of Scotland.”
Bruce has scaled 240 of the 282 Munros and hopes to complete them all before the end of 2021.
To make a donation, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bruce-russell5
Right People director takes on Munros challenge for charity
Bruce Russell, a director at Right People, is taking on a hillwalking challenge to raise money for an Aberdeen charity.
Bruce is aiming to climb 50 Munros in 150 Days in his spare time to raise at least £1,000 for Charlie House, a charity that supports babies, children and young people with complex disabilities and life-limiting conditions and their families in the North-east of Scotland.
A keen hillwalker, Bruce said: “I wanted to do something for charity and have combined my enjoyment of hillwalking to come up with this challenge. Charlie House is an extremely worthwhile cause and I’m hoping I can reach my target of £1,000. I’m really looking forward to the walks and raising money for charity at the same time.”
Bruce set off to Achnasheen on Saturday, March 30 and plans to complete the challenge by the end of August. Other locations this summer will include the Cairngorms, Torridon, Skye Cuillin Ridge – including the Inaccessible Pinnacle, Kintail, Glencoe, Lochaber and Ullapool.
Donations to the 50 Munros in 150 Days – Charlie House Fundraiser can be made here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bruce-russell5
Bruce will also post updates on a Facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/840910906256097/
10 candidate testimonials as Right People celebrates 10th birthday
Since Right People is celebrating its 10th anniversary, here are 10 testimonials from candidates. We regularly receive endorsements about our work – these are just a few examples:
1 “Just a big ‘thank you’ to Right People, in particular Kris Stuart, for all of the help and advice that has enabled me to land a great job. The team provided a level of service that went above and beyond my expectations in order to really get to know me and understand what I was trying to achieve with regards to my long-term career goals.”
2 “I registered with Right People after looking through yell.com. I was sent job opportunities the next day, and when a role came through which they felt I would be good for, they called me to discuss the role in detail and kept me up to date with what was happening. In addition, the Right People website has a lot of good interview tips which came in useful as I was nervous. After two different interviews, I have a new job.”
3 “Just a short note of thanks for the first-class service in relation to my new role at an oil and gas software provider. I was kept informed from start to finish and appreciated the straight-to-the-point attitude of Right People; a big difference to the ‘say anything’ style of many other companies.”
4 “When I was made redundant over a year ago, I registered with a lot of agencies in Aberdeen. Right People was the only agency that made me feel like a person They spoke to me about what I was looking for and what worked best for me.”
5 “Right People took an active interest in finding me a role. They continued to stay in touch and always called when a suitable role came up. In short, they never gave up until they found me a position. Now I am about to start a new chapter and it’s thanks to Bruce Russell and his team’s dedication and professionalism.”
6 “Anyone who believes all recruitment consultants are the same haven’t met Bruce Russell, director at Right People in Aberdeen. What sets Bruce apart is that he genuinely takes the time to get to know both clients and candidates. Bruce is different because he digs down past the CV to really find out what a candidate has done and is motivated by. He has the expertise and experience to see past the surface and as such has a far more accurate viewpoint that helps match people to the right positions.”
7 “I have had the pleasure of working with Bruce both as a client and as a candidate for over the past eight years. While sourcing technical and non-technical staff, Bruce and the team have been extremely efficient in presenting candidates that match the role criteria and providing the necessary support throughout the recruitment process.”
8 “Right People is professional and extremely knowledgeable about the recruitment market in Aberdeen.”
9 “I can recommend Right People without reservation to clients and candidates alike.”
10 “Personally, Alex was very understanding when I was torn about leaving a position I had been in for over 10 years. He provided me with invaluable advice and assistance throughout the job search. His ability to source the right job for you is second-to-none. I have no hesitation in recommending Alex McLeod and his team for recruitment purposes, whether it is for yourself or on behalf of your organisation.”
CASE STUDY: Glencraft, operations manager
Right People has a 10-year reputation for delivering first-class recruitment solutions across a broad range of business support functions, including accountancy & finance, IT, business support and sales & marketing.
Client: Glencraft, a registered charity employing people with disabilities, has attracted customers from the Middle East and China after moving into the luxury mattress market due to a drop in demand from its previous core market – the offshore oil and gas industry.
Role: The Aberdeen social enterprise – a mattress maker by royal appointment – is looking to increase sales abroad. Therefore, it required a manager to lead day-to-day operations, allowing Glencraft managing director, Graham McWilliam, to concentrate on the overall strategy of the business from a UK and global perspective. Due to a long-standing relationship, Graham contacted Right People director Bruce Russell to source the right person for this key position.
Action: Right People took time to understand the importance of the role as part of Glencraft’s growth strategy, the culture within the business and the level of manufacturing expertise required. Using its own database, advertising on job boards and network of contacts, Right People identified four relevant candidates from a number of CVs. Glencraft was happy with all four candidates, however, one stood out due to a first-rate track record in the manufacturing sector.
Outcome: Right People managed the process from beginning to end. Such was the importance of this role the candidate went through three interviews. The first with senior management at Glencraft, the second with Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (both organisations have a trusted relationship with Glencraft) and, finally, the candidate was interviewed by Glencraft chairman, Duncan Skinner, formerly chief financial officer of a global oil and gas business. The candidate was duly appointed, and Right People’s role was acknowledged in the company’s minutes.
Testimonial: Graham McWilliam, managing director at Glencraft, said: “Right People took time to understand what we were looking for and the importance of this position as part of our overall business development plan. This was a key role for the day-to-day functioning of the business and Right People identified the ideal candidate. We’re delighted with the outcome for such an important position within the business. It was a pleasure to work with Right People; a real partnership, and we would have no hesitation in working with them again.”
Right People Appoints Two Associate Directors
Right People has made two senior appointments.
Craig Mackenzie joins the business after nearly 10 years at Aberdeen Appointments Agency (AAA), while Kris Stuart is promoted from the position of recruitment team lead. Both will have the title associate director.
Bruce Russell, director at Right People, said: “We are delighted to welcome Craig to the business. His market knowledge and wealth of experience will be of great value to our clients.”
Craig said: “Right People has an excellent reputation in the market, and I look forward to playing my part in growing the business. I aim to add value for clients looking to recruit talented personnel in support of business development strategies. It’s about building trusted relationships and delivering successful outcomes.”
Kris Stuart is promoted after two years as recruitment team lead. He joined Right People as a senior consultant in 2015 having previously spent five years at Aberdeen Appointments Agency.
Alex McLeod, director at Right People, said: “The appointment of Kris as associate director is a reward for his hard work and dedication since he joined us. Together Kris and Craig will be working with myself and Bruce to take the business to the next level.”
Kris said: “I’m thrilled to be recognised for my commitment since I joined Right People. I’m looking forward to working with Craig to continue the development of the business and increase our market share.”
10-year landmark for Right People
Right People celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.
Established by directors Bruce Russell and Alex McLeod, the business primarily focuses on accountancy & finance, IT, business support and sales & marketing roles.
In the past month, however, Right People has added engineering & technical to it capabilities following the appointment of David Newbigging, who has more than 10 years’ experience in oil & gas, as a business consultant for this specific market. The company also recently moved to enhanced office space at 22 Exchange Street after being based at North Silver Street.
Bruce said: “Right People has come such a long way in the past 10 years. We’ve gone from working with a handful of companies to dealing with hundreds over the years. We’re very proud to be an Aberdeen-based company and very much focussed on recruitment primarily in and around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Alex said: “We’ve added to our capabilities in recent months and we’re very much looking forward to 2018 and beyond. We’ve been successful by having the right recruitment expertise within the business to deliver results, rather than having a one-size fits all approach. It stood us in good stead over the years.”
As part of the anniversary celebrations, the Right People team will be at Pittodrie for Aberdeen’s Scottish Cup match with St Mirren on Saturday, January 20.
What next after ACCA success?
A number of aspiring accountants from across the North-east will have recently become fully ACCA qualified.
This milestone should be celebrated, but the achievement also raises the question: what next?
Is the accountant happy at their workplace, or has their career path been set? Does the accountant want a change, or use their new-found career qualification to move in a different direction?
One thing is for sure – a newly qualified ACCA accountant will be in demand. Depending on experience, salaries can be in the region of £45,000, while financial controllers can expect to earn around £60,000 or more.
We understand the value of being ACCA qualified and got a first-hand insight into its advantages by supporting the ACCA Aberdeen dinner for eight years.
There is huge demand for ACCA-qualified people, even in this testing local economic climate. However, it will not be just the qualification companies will be looking for. They will be seeking other qualities in the candidates, in particular, how they will fit in with the rest of the team.
In addition, companies will be looking for qualified accountants to mentor those starting out on ACCA qualifications, or those that are part-qualified.
At Right People, we have a long-established track record of placing accountancy roles. We have supported small, medium and large businesses across a variety sectors including oil & gas, construction and practice & chartered accountancy firms.
We’re ideally placed to deliver successful outcomes for clients and candidates. We realise clients have a very specific set of requirements – it’s not just a case of being ACCA qualified. In short, they want the complete package.
As well as supporting companies, our expertise will assist ACCA-qualified candidates with the next stage in their career. It may the case that candidates are, in the meantime, happy where they are at present but we are here to pass on advice should the situation change.
Temp roles suggest promise for recruitment market
Alex McLeod, director at Right People
There are several reasons why we’ve experienced a sharp rise in placing temps at north-east companies.
It’s fair to say that, at the start of the year, the need for temporary workers in IT, finance and general office support roles were down on where they used to be.
Many companies simply didn’t have the budget to take on additional support, even if they wanted to. Staff were often covering extra duties and responsibilities.
This is beginning to change – and is it a sign of better things to come?
We’ve seen a 300% increase in the number of temps placed at businesses in Aberdeen and the surrounding area (we’re local and proud of it) since the start of the year.
The main factor behind this increase is that many teams are working at capacity; staff have gone above and beyond to support their employer – but that’s a finite commodity. It’s not sustainable.
With teams short-handed, after redundancies or colleagues not being replaced, bosses are realising they have to look after the workers that have remained with the business. To do so, many have gone down the temp route.
We’ve seen a specific requirement for temp roles in finance and IT departments. This usually reflects a rise in sales and invoicing, while on the IT front it indicates a step up in project work. The business is doing better, and, therefore, extra support is required.
More broadly, it suggests companies are dipping a toe back into recruitment. But rather than looking at permanent, full-time roles, firms are meantime looking to take on temps. This gives them a degree of flexibility; often, for the temp worker, it can lead to a full-time position.
I’m wary of using that hackneyed phrase ‘green shoots of recovery’, but there are signs that more and more companies are looking to add the right people to their teams. Let’s hope it’s not a temporary situation, but one that continues to develop.
Right People in charity boost for mountain rescuers
Right People is to donate a percentage of profits to help a north-east life-saving rescue team.
The business is supporting Braemar Mountain Rescue Team – its nominated charity for 2017 – by donating 10% of profits made from new temp hires during July and August.
Right People opted to support the organisation after one of its directors came across a real-life hilltop emergency.
Bruce Russell, a co-founder of the business, assisted rescuers when a walker suffered a dislocated shoulder on a Munro near Loch Lomond in April this year.
The woman was 3,000ft up Beinn Chabhair, near Inverarnan, Stirlingshire, when she was airlifted by a coastguard helicopter after a call was made to Killin Mountain Rescue Team.
Alex McLeod, co-founder and director at Right People, said: “We are delighted to support Braemar Mountain Rescue Team with a donation from us based on new temporary personnel hires in July and August.
“The plan is to raise more than £1,000 in total for a very worthwhile cause. We realise the value of the rescue teams.”
As part of the fundraising drive, Bruce is taking part in the Illuminator Half Marathon on Saturday, October 28 (2017) at The Glen Tanar Estate, near Aboyne.
Bruce will be walking the 15-mile route, while his wife Clare – an experienced Metro Aberdeen club athlete – will be running the course on which entrants wear a headtorch to help navigate the night-time event.
Bruce has already raised more than £600 towards the £1,000 target. To support Right People and raise funds for Braemar Mountain Rescue Team visit:
Mountain experience inspires Bruce to raise money for rescue team
Right People director Bruce Russell is raising money for rescuers after witnessing a hilltop mercy mission earlier this year.
Bruce is supporting Braemar Mountain Rescue team by taking part in the Illuminator Half Marathon on Saturday, October 28 (2017) at The Glen Tanar Estate, near Aboyne.
He will be walking the 15-mile route, while wife Clare – an experienced Metro Aberdeen club athlete – will be running the course on which entrants wear a headtorch to help navigate the night-time event.
Bruce, who has bagged more than 120 Munros, was inspired to raise money for Braemar Mountain Rescue after coming across a real-life rescue in early April.
He assisted rescuers when a walker suffered a dislocated shoulder on a Munro near Loch Lomond. The woman was 3,000ft up Beinn Chabhair, near Inverarnan, Stirlingshire, when she was airlifted by a coastguard helicopter after a call was made to Killin Mountain Rescue Team.
Bruce said: “I experienced the first-class expertise of rescue teams. My wife and I came across the injured person and her friend. I helped the coastguard and the woman, who was in considerable pain.
“As regulars on the hills it made us realise just what an important service rescue teams provide. We decided to support Braemar Mountain Rescue as the area they cover is the one we most often visit.
“My wife is an experienced runner and will be finishing way ahead of me in the Illuminator event, but the important thing for me is to take part and complete the fundraising challenge.
“In addition, Right People felt as a business it was important to actively support the community in which we operate. Hopefully we can reach the target to help Braemar Mountain Rescue.”
In preparation for the fundraiser Bruce will be taking on the nine Munros in the Fannichs – between Dingwall and Ullapool – in a day. Bruce and Clare will also be tackling 15 Munros near Newtonmore and walking The Great Glen Way between Fort William and Inverness over the next few months.
More than £300 of the £1,000 target has been raised. To support Bruce and raise funds for Braemar Mountain Rescue visit:
Software developer jobs in high demand
Bruce Russell, director at Aberdeen recruitment business Right People
The oil and gas industry is undergoing a period of unprecedented change – but with it comes an opportunity to look at things from a different angle.
As the industry focuses on operational performance and costs, companies are either reviewing their own systems or upgrading their offering to the wider market with a view to future-proofing their business.
It’s no coincidence we’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of companies in the oil and gas supply chain urgently requiring talented software developers.
The upshot is talented people with niche software skills are in strong demand, regardless of the headwinds facing the wider industry.
Of course the rising demand for better, smarter technologies brings its own particular problem; namely, finding the right person for the right job.
But whether it’s algorithms, optimisation, analytics, tracking solutions, automation, real-time reporting, wearable devices or 3D printing, software developers have a valued role to play in the oil and gas industry – now and in the future.
Software developer opportunities: http://rightpeople.uk.net/category/it/
Industry advice for students across Aberdeen
Students from across Aberdeen have benefitted from specialist advice given by the city’s leading IT recruiters, Right People.
The company delivered presentations to IT students at events hosted by both North-East Scotland College and Robert Gordon University.
Craig Buchan, IT recruitment consultant at Right People, visited North-East Scotland College in Aberdeen to highlight the fact that the students have various options after college either in education or employment as well as providing practical tips on CVs and how to stand out in front of employers.
Craig said: “It was great to meet the students and explain to them that there are many options after college and give them advice heading straight into employment”
“It’s crucial that businesses and recruiters like ourselves engage with the students in Aberdeen to help bridge the gap between education and the world of work. The sessions allowed us to break the ice with students and tell them about the value we add to their job search.”
Right People also attended an employability event organised by the School of Computing at Robert Gordon University (RGU).
The company was represented by director Bruce Russell and Craig Buchan. Craig delivered a presentation highlighting the value recruitment companies bring to graduates during their job-search as well as providing interview pointers and CV advice.
Craig’s presentation was followed by a question-and-answer session and informal networking.
Bruce Russell, director at Right People, said: “We were delighted to be involved in both of these events, which gave the company a great opportunity to meet and interact with a number of talented young people.”
We’re all different – and that’s the way I like IT
Bruce Russell, director
In this job I’ve met happy people, grumpy people, indifferent people, positive people, rude people (haven’t we all met them?) … and even crazy people. Everyone is different. And you know what? It’s why I love this job.
Even from an early age I wanted to engage with people, I just wasn’t sure whether it would be as a brain surgeon (er … maybe not!) or a bus driver.
I never purposefully set out to work in recruitment. I registered with three agencies and was offered a position with each. They must have seen something in me – and that’s a real recruitment skill; one I trust to be in my armoury today.
I’ve seen a great number of changes in IT recruitment over the past 20 years – not least the fact that no one else was specialising solely in IT back then.
It’s remarkable to think that once-upon-a-time sourcing an IT specialist was lumped into the engineering department at recruitment companies. That’s a bit like asking Sir Alex Ferguson to find the next basketball superstar; two specialisms are totally different, each requiring a unique set of skills.
The 1990s saw the advent of Windows operating systems, the dot com era of boom and bust and the threat of the Millennium Bug – all of these were game-changers in terms of how businesses came to see IT as a help rather than a hindrance to achieving business success.
Today chief executives, MDs, CFOs, HR directors, IT bosses, and senior management all understand the importance of finding talented IT personnel to ensure the smooth continuity of business operations.
I bet at this very moment someone in an office somewhere in the north-east will be looking to improve the IT department perhaps with the view of improving efficiencies and enhancing productivity for the business as a whole …
Luckily for them we know the right people.
Getting it right on the recruitment front
Alex McLeod, director
Too often recruitment companies are not recognised for being part of a dedicated team helping businesses to grow.
It is an issue that perhaps stems from the occasions when client businesses are provided with ill-advised ‘quick-hit’ placements, or provided with a deluge of irrelevant CVs that simply don’t match role requirements.
It is a disconnect that does the recruitment industry no favours: an industry, incidentally, that I retain a real passion for, despite the constant headlines of economic doom and gloom in Aberdeen and the North-east of Scotland.
The key to a successful outcome for all is developing trusted relationships with clients and candidates by meeting them face-to-face, gaining an understanding of requirements, and identifying opportunities.
It takes time, commitment, talent and effort to be a first-rate recruiter. Simply put it is essential to fully understand the client’s immediate and long-term goals when sourcing talented staff to help the business develop.
We do tend to hear the same things from companies let down by recruitment agencies. Here’s our guide to avoiding these issues and having a successful recruitment strategy in place, whether your market is buoyant or in the middle of a downturn.
“We used a recruitment company in the past; it didn’t work out and we won’t be using one ever again.”
The chances are the wrong recruitment company was used for the project; one that may have had little or no experience in that particular sector of business. The recruitment company may have sent too many CVs to executives, trying to fill the position as quickly and cheaply as possible in order to move onto the next opportunity for a ‘quick hit’ rather than treating each position on its own merits. Your recruitment partner should understand the market and company culture, and present you with two to three strong candidates and perhaps a left-field or back-up suggestion too.
“Recruitment companies are too expensive. I don’t know what they do.”
If it is expensive to hire the right people, it is even more expensive to hire the wrong people. You should ask your recruitment partner about their track record and industry expertise, and get an overview of their recent successes and how they have made a difference to businesses. You should also ask about fees and how they will be paid. A good recruitment partner should get to know you and the business, taking to time to understand what sort of person will fit in with the rest of the team. A combination of our database, advertising and other tools will help find the right person for the role. The only problem should be which one of the talented candidates presented should get the job.
“My recruitment company has my CV, but doesn’t know me as an individual.”
As a candidate, you deserve the same care and attention as a fee-paying client. Your recruitment company should get to know you to understand what you are looking for in a job and the types of workplaces you would be best suited for. They should also give you advice and guidance to help you develop your CV, skills and prepare for interviews.
“The recruitment company found someone with a great CV, but they didn’t fit in.”
At Right People, we meet candidates face-to-face. We’ll often get more from this meeting than from their CV, learning about their personality and the sort of roles they would be suitable for. Your recruitment partner should understand your business; they should engage with senior management to discuss the type of people you are looking to recruit and how they would develop within the company.
“My other recruitment partners have reduced their rates, why haven’t you?”
By reducing rates, is your recruitment partner reducing their time spent on sourcing the right person? Expertise, service and quality matter when selecting candidates; we would advise not to underestimate their value in the actual recruitment process. This is not a quick fix, where dozens of CVs with various capabilities are thrown at people – a good recruitment partner will work diligently to take the time to source the right person for the right job. A successful outcome leads to additional projects for the recruitment partner.
It is important to find the right recruitment agency for you; one that understands your industry and is proactive in finding the best candidates for every job. Get it wrong, and there could implications for the business further down the line.
Countdown to making key signings for your team
Kris Stuart, senior recruitment consultant
With a number of high-end candidates and talented youngsters suddenly becoming available due to market forces, the frenetic pace of the Aberdeen jobs scene can sometimes feel like transfer deadline day.
In such a market, where change and opportunities present themselves at short notice, it can pay dividends to have a trusted recruitment partner – one that understands client and candidate needs and possesses a strong network of contacts.
While recruitment should be an ongoing, strategic process, there are peak times – sometimes due to the sudden availability of quality clients – when certain factors can combine to intensify the need for experienced recruiters to come to the fore.
And, just like in the footballing world, businesses can be caught short in certain key positions by a top performer leaving the company, increased demand for their services or a change in conventional thinking.
Times like these call for fast and decisive action from senior management to help ensure the continued success of the business.
Even the most successful teams can sometimes require an injection of talent in order to provide fresh impetus, regardless of the current climate. As well as short-term thinking, there is also the need for a long-term strategy; one that covers experienced staff and planning for the future by sourcing the best young talent when good times return.
True, taking on new personnel does pose certain risks: what will the market be like in three or six months? Will they fit into the company culture? Will they clash with existing members of staff? However, the potential benefits in investing in the right people can be huge for businesses.
Whatever your budget or the global appeal of your brand, tackling recruitment issues head on, when the right opportunity presents itself, should help create a winning formula.
Focus on the individual not just the CV
Craig Mackenzie, recruitment consultant
By focusing on the individual rather than simply what’s listed on their CV, companies could avoid missing out on talented people that can grow with the business.
Whenever I am approached by a client with a specific role to fill the first thing to establish is: who will be the right fit for the company. Working in this field, you develop an understanding of what makes each business tick and the kind of person who would complement their existing team.
Ultimately, in the majority of cases, it does boil down to whether that person has the relevant skills and experience to perform the role. However, it’s not always possible to determine this from their CV alone.
It can be tough to transition from a sales role, for example, if you would like a new challenge in a different industry sector. Depending on how senior the position is, there may be some scope to put a candidate forward who doesn’t necessarily have as much experience but does tick a number of boxes in terms of their soft-skills and attitude.
In addition, there are a number of things candidates can do to help elevate themselves above the rest of the competition.
1 Ensure your CV is well laid out with a clear structure; for instance, with key information prioritised from top to bottom starting with your current role and key achievements listed in chronological order.
2 Try to personalise your application as much as possible. Often, people are reluctant to share too much information but, as long as it’s relevant to the role you’re applying for, if you’ve done it then it should be included.
3 Do your homework. Find out what the company you’re applying does and where your personal experience can benefit them. Tailor your application to show that you’ve understood what makes that business unique and the specific demands required of the role.
4 Similarly, if you’re invited to attend an interview, research the people you will be meeting in order to learn about their personal background and experience. Even if it’s just a quick check of their LinkedIn profile, it can show you possess initiative to potential employers.
5 Explore different avenues. Want to work for an operator? Perhaps there is a smaller company where you can gain the relevant skills and credentials in a role where training is more readily available, particularly if you wish to work in a technical discipline.
While it can be time-consuming for companies to sift through a pile of CVs, especially if many of them are not relevant, using a trusted recruitment partner can help add value to the selection process.
It’s vital that recruiters take the time to get to know the candidates they are putting forward for interview; starting with face-to-face contact and then building rapport through regular contact. By building and developing this kind of relationship you will be better placed to assess that person’s individual strengths.
Don’t let a lack of experience stand in the way of your dream job
Kris Stuart, IT recruitment consultant
With another summer’s graduation celebrations been and gone, the jobs market is awash again with talented and enthusiastic young people eager to make their way in the world of work.
One mantra that is sure to be ringing in their ears as they attempt to negotiate the pitfalls of interviewing for ‘proper jobs’ is experience, experience, experience.
For us recruiters, faced with the client brief, we need to weigh up the individual candidate’s strengths and weaknesses to determine whether that person will be a good fit for the wider company culture.
Yes, experience often comes high up the list but there’s an awful lot more to it than just that.
Ultimately, it comes down to trusting your gut feeling. When you meet this person – and provided you have followed the brief – would they be a good fit for the client?
I recently met with an IT graduate; fresh out of university and with no relevant experience to speak of. Move along, nothing to see here, you might well think.
And yet I was so impressed with how he came across that I cut the interview short halfway through. Now I can assure you this is not a regular occurrence, he was genuinely that good
Even though his CV was no better than average I could tell, nearly right away, that his personality and ambitions were totally in line with the company’s own aims.
Two hours after my first meeting with him – less time than your standard Hollywood flick – he had been offered a job with the client, a software development company in Aberdeen.
Recruitment can’t only be process-driven; it has to take a broader look at the motivations of both the company and the job seeker.
On this occasion, I didn’t make the placement based on his experience – or lack of. That went out the window as soon as we sat down and it became clear to me what was important to this person and what made him tick.
When you stick to recruitment by numbers, automatically tossing aside a CV because it has a few holes, then you run the risk of overlooking someone who could be perfect for the job and be right for the business.
Is your recruitment agency seeing beyond your CV?
Bruce Russell, recruitment consultant
Although it doesn’t provoke quite the same level of anxiety as a job interview, meeting a recruitment consultant for the first time can be a daunting proposition for job seekers.
Over the past few months I’ve taken a slightly different tactic when in this situation and began to ask people what expectations they have of me as a recruiter.
Honestly, I felt a bit weird at first because it obviously made the person sitting across from me a little uncomfortable.
It was clear that, for many, this was something they had never paused to think about, let alone been asked directly. But it was for this very reason that I stuck with it.
True, most of the responses I received were fairly typical such as career advice, getting them in front of employers and all-important interview preparation.
While these things are all important, it’s not really what I would consider the chief value of enlisting the help of a recruiter such as myself.
For some, perhaps those first entering the job market, they are eager to take any job that comes their way. But for the experienced recruiter, it is all about finding the right people for the right jobs.
If I was in the job seeker’s shoes, I would look for maximum added value with help to achieve what I cannot on my own.
I would expect more from a recruiter than them simply firing my CV out to a few companies – not all of them relevant – because, at the end of the day, I could do this myself.
I would expect a recruiter to know the company I want to work for, as well as the wider industry, inside-out, having built-up professional relationships with key decision-makers.
This means finding a recruiter who will spend time getting to know you as an individual; not just what it says in your CV.
It’s about finding out that person’s strengths (and weaknesses) in order to find the right sort of workplace culture that will help them be successful in their chosen career.
When this partnership is successful it can make all the difference in getting a CV out of the no and maybe piles and putting that candidate in front of potential employers.