Can you briefly outline your background and experience as a recruitment consultant and your current role at 360 Search?
I began my career in the recruitment industry in 2009 after spending a year travelling and learning some valuable life lessons. It soon became clear that I had a flair for the process involved in sourcing candidates, matching skill sets to clients’ needs, understanding the cultures within different organisations and business development which I particularly enjoy. I was fortunate to gain experience across a multiple of industries such as FMCG, Hospitality, Pharmaceutical and Financial. I developed an interest in the Financial Services and as a result met Lynda Barnes through a mutual friend. I now specialise in the Insurance Markets and Compliance across a number of disciplines. I have been with 360 Search Ltd since November 2012 and thoroughly enjoy working with the team.
In what sectors and job roles is 360 Search experiencing the most recruitment activity?
At 360 Search Ltd we are most active in markets such as, Insurance and Financial Services including, Commercial and General Insurance, Life and Pensions, Wealth Management, Investments, Consulting, Property, Accounting and Actuarial. We have seen an increased demand across a couple of industries with the compliance and property markets standing out. On the 360 Search property desk our clients are currently hiring in the areas of property sales, property management, surveyors, and asset managers. Compliance is a little more complex due to a segregation of roles in the compliance market. Previously companies had one or two people responsible for all aspects of compliance. Disciplines are now, more and more being divided, lending itself to people responsible for business functions such as AML, Risk, and Data Protection etc. We are experiencing an increase in compliance hires across Funds, Banking and Asset/Wealth Management.
Separately, we are experiencing a demand from our Insurance clients for talent with finely tuned business development skills and technical ability. Brokers with strong Insurance experience and developed relationships are invaluable as the market is extremely competitive and relationship led. Clients are also increasingly seeking out individuals that are on their way to achieving ACII.
Finally, the introduction of change initiatives has led to an upsurge in business analysis skills with a reviewing of services and even core product lines. This has led to companies seeking process review talent and people with analytical and project management capabilities.
Is LinkedIn a friend or foe to your business?
LinkedIn is a powerful tool and has played an integral part in allowing access to individuals outside of our network. We have embraced this and use LinkedIn daily as part of our selection process. LinkedIn and search combined with industry wise head hunting provides a discrete and effective consultancy service to our clients. We are also heavily involved in sourcing individuals at a senior level and LinkedIn can assist us in this.
To answer your question directly, it is certainly a friend to our business.
What skills do people need to acquire to boost their employment prospects?
What I believe stands out is an individual’s communication skills. I have interviewed my fair share of professionals and to distinguish between those that are above average and those that are exceptional is their confidence during an interview, their ability to communicate what they are thinking and their conviction in the delivery of this.
To give an example, you face a final interview situation and it comes down to you and one other. Your competition has equally as much work experience as you however, on paper you hold an advantage based on your strong academic background but, you do not get the job and you are left wondering why. I have seen this situation a number of times with the deciding factor simply coming down to the other person’s ability to demonstrate his or her experience to date, showcase their personality and clearly outline their motivators whilst connecting with the employer. This I can assure you, is not as easy as it sounds.
An important factor is interview preparation. It’s imperative that you show the employer your understanding of the job you are applying for coupled with why you are the right hire for them and they are the right company for you.
There is huge competition in the market and those who have a defined focus tend to get ahead quicker. I notice that from a young age they have a visualisation of the steps involved in achieving their career goal. They also seem to replicate this focus in their personal life.
What advice would you give to people trying to secure the right role?
I would advise people relax as much as possible, do not over think your answers and keep a positive outlook. Be true to yourself and answer in a way that you believe is right. It can work against someone giving a “text book” answer, this is not always what the employer wants to hear as you can not be all to all people. Exposing your personality and demonstrating who you are in your answers is a powerful combination. I really enjoy holding interviews when there is a sense of warmth, personality and enthusiasm.
Finally, I would advise people to provide examples of their work experience and responsibilities to date. It is important to back what you are saying with solid and relevant examples; this involves preparation and knowing your CV. You can help the employer to visualise you working in their company by providing them with examples of that difficult customer you have managed to help or that deadline and target you manage you reach. This will bring you closer to that job you so desire.