Wow. Well this is one hell of a story!
Let me set the scene…
February 2020, I walk into the Candour Solutions headquarters excited to start my new venture in the world of recruitment having left a successful career.
Excited, nervous but keen to press on with the momentous challenge I had undertaken:
Zero Recruitment Experience…
No Industry Knowledge…
A whole new patch to build…
Oh, and throw in a global pandemic to suit! ?
As you can imagine, I was keen to move quickly and build an in-depth knowledge of the industry I’d be working in – placing IT professionals across the North West. The first few weeks consisted of going through the vigorous Candour Solutions training protocol, once completed it was time to build my network and understand the market!
My first issue was building a network of candidates and clients who knew who I was, with no prior North West patch, this would prove my first serious challenge. I started by connecting with candidates – at all hours of the day, no, really, I’d be lay in bed connecting with people in my space – having conversations with them about jobs they are applying for, what they look for in a recruiter, what information they would like to see more on, ultimately, I wanted to know how I could add value to their network but also I wanted to form an understanding and a relationship with everyone I was connected to. 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 3000… I was starting to build a network of excellent professionals in my space who I would be able to provide value to in some way.
But (and it was a big but), this was only a start in my quest to become a successful 360 Recruiter… I needed clients!! In a market that was quite frankly saturated with recruiters all fighting for the same roles at competative prices, I had to stand out, I had to market myself to each HM (Hiring Manager) or TA (Talent Acquisition) professional, once again, I had to make myself known…
From Day 1, I knew candours USPs… honesty, transparency, a willingness to embed ourselves in our clients company & to act as an extension of their internal teams, combined with the offering of donating a percentage of our fee to an amazing charity (The Lullaby Trust), I had solid foundations… but I need to also work out my USP, who did I want to be, how did I want to operate in the market and what value did I provide to the client! I spoke with potential clients everyday, conducting research on what they wanted and how I could help them in the future, my main focus was to build a strong relationship with them, something I soon realised was the key to recruitment and already a natural trait I had… this is what helped me bring on my very first client!
I had completed my first month at Candour, I had started to build a strong network of candidates and potential clients, the long nights attributing the database were paying off and I now had a few roles to focus on. I was excited, ambitious and very ready to push onto the next level – I already knew what I had to do be promoted, that was my goal from Day 1, it was time to start making tracks towards that and then, it all went wrong… COVID 19 struck… I was placed on Furlough.
It was going to be a long few months!
I was itching to get back to it but I didn’t know when I would return to work, all I could do was stay relevant, keep speaking with candidates, potential clients and keep learning! I took online courses, researched the latest tech, watched LinkedIn Tips, learnt how to market myself better, listened to podcasts, researched how I could incorporate other techniques to generate new business and of course, constantly watched the market, learning who was recruiting, who was growing and who I would ultimately look to work with upon my return!
August rapidly approached, I was fortunate enough have a short break in Spain before returning to work Mid-August… it was time to get back to it!
2 weeks later, I made my first placement. I was off to a great start, I now had a few great clients, interviews booked in and an immediate starter on the board, things were looking good…. and then it happened again… I caught COVID… then Tonsillitis… 2 weeks bed bound… Great!
It was now Mid-September and I had recovered from COVID19, 2 weeks later, another 2 placements. Brilliant. It was time to push on in Q4. I knew I had a great pipeline of candidates and I had my eyes set on promotion for Christmas… to put it simply, it wasn’t to be.
It went on and on and on…
But I wasn’t going to be beaten, I knew I could do it. I built a new pipeline, implemented new forms of Business Development, I was getting lots of traction. People knew who I was and loved my approach, there was light at the end of the tunnel, and I was clawing back at my target, I was almost there, Christmas was around the corner but I knew I could do it…
I was short on my target by one placement. Gutted.
It was a tough last couple of months, I was seeing the horrible side of recruitment, where things don’t go your way and you can be beaten up time and time again. My colleagues had told me about it, how they had seen recruiters get beaten up that much that they never recovered and ended up moving on.
That wasn’t going to me.
I reset over Christmas, formulated my goals for 2021 and come Jan 4th, I was ready to go.
21 days later I had smashed my Q1 target, earnt my promotion and had an amazing pipeline for the rest of 2021. 2 weeks from my 1-year anniversary in recruitment and I felt I had seen it all but I was still standing and loving it.
Bring on the rest.
“After many years in a HR role, in Stephen and his team at Candour, I have finally found the recruitment agency that is totally attuned to what Phoenix as a company requires. Candour is my one-stop shop for technical candidates!”Trevor Hutchinson, Phoenix Software
“Stephen did a great job of filling a Lead Software Engineer role that was proving very difficult. He submitted a range of quality CV’s quickly and followed our process throughout.”Becky O'Farrell, Covea Insurance
“I’ve worked with Stephen for around a year and we have developed a good working relationship. The Candour team are always available so there is never a gap in communication. This is so important when time is tight and you need to find the best talent as soon as possible.”Abigail Aldred, CNG
“When first speaking to Stephen, he had an honest interest in us as a company, not just what we needed experience and tech-wise, but the culture and the type of person we wanted to join. He gave frank and honest feedback to us and he filled the role in less than 2 weeks!!”Sophie Elms, Arbor Education
“What makes them stand out is that they truly listen to what our requirements for the perfect candidate are. They deliver on what they promise, and I very much feel they are working with Phoenix Software to ensure the right person for the role is recruited.”Clare Metcalfe, Phoenix Software
“I receive numerous pitches from recruitment companies. All promise, very few actually deliver. Stephen and the guys at Candour definitely fall into the latter category. They have become a vital part of our recruitment process and act as an invaluable extension of our business.”Taryn Mitchell-Clegg, IDHL Group
“They have never failed to deliver and always goes the extra mile for their clients and candidates (having been a candidate for Stephen myself too). As a small business, Candour truly understands the importance of finding the right people and help you cut through the noise.”Claire Penswick, CNG
“Stephen of Candour have managed to fill 3 QA Test Analyst roles for my team in Manchester. I was impressed by the quality of candidates they supplied.”Isha Soni, Push Doctor
“Stephen and the team found a selection of good candidates in very short timescales, this gave my team good options and ultimately providing the person we were looking for.”David Topley, TSYS
“Stephen has helped us to find very skilled resources for our open vacancies. I presented him with some challenges and he delivered extremely good candidates that we were struggling to find.”Mauricio Farache, Piksel
“Stephen is laser-focused in understanding a requirement and then proactively identifying ‘best in class’ candidates. It’s clear that he puts in the extra effort to find only the best – whatever it takes – and this makes for a very effective partnership in any recruitment.”Joel Albyn, Cap HPI
“Stephen consistently finds quality candidates that others seemingly cannot. This has been no more apparent than in the last few months where I have given him two very difficult technical requirements that he has filled in less than a week.”Jonathan Hill, GameSparks
“If you are looking to partner with a recruiter who will actually add value to your business and do what they commit to doing, I strongly recommend Stephen.”Gabriel Page, Amazon
“Stephen is simply one of the best recruiters in the business. He understands my needs as an employer and how to get results with the minimum of fuss. He gets you what you need, when you need it on time and on budget.”Samantha Allen, SSP
“Over nearly 10 years I have been lucky enough to take on many Engineers that have been supplied through Stephen and his company. Many have been the most talented individuals that I have had the privilege to work with, and all have enhanced our business positively.”Bruce Cass, Piksel