DEDICATED TO SUCCESS | Feature article
25 Sep 2017
Chris Jackson and Dale Swords, co-founding directors of Understanding Recruitment, sat down with The Global Recruiter to take a view on their business so far.
Q: How did Understanding Recruitment begin? Where was it first based and how did it grow to the point of international expansion?
A: We set up the business almost 10 years ago with the vision to build a high performing technology recruitment business our customers would be proud to be associated with and where we could gain fast and sustainable growth. Starting with just the two founding directors in a serviced office in St. Albans we’ve now grown to a team of nearly 40, operating within the UK market, predominantly within the London and Home Counties.
It’s been well documented some of the success stories UK recruiters have had in the US and we’re keen to carve out our own niche in that market and replicate the success we’ve had in the UK as well as providing further opportunities internally for our team who may be looking for International opportunities. The important thing for us is that we enter a market where we will be successful and where there is a genuine need, hence our decision to expand into the US over and above any other location.
Q: Why did you choose the sector you serve? Are these likely to be added to in the future and do you see these sectors evolving and offering new challenges to the company?
A: Four years ago, we took to the decision to break away from being a generalist tech recruiter into one specialising in software development as this is where we could see the demand from the market plus it’s what our customers were demanding. We currently have teams in Java, .Net, Front-End, Artificial Intelligence and DevOps as well as a Corporate Solutions and Contract team which provides our customers with the responsiveness they look for across their technology recruitment needs in what is a hugely competitive market. This decision has accelerated our growth by promoting higher average fees and improved productivity per head.
We will always evolve our specialisms in line with the developments within our sector. A few of our key markets are moving at a fast speed this it’s crucial we are ahead of the curve and delivering these talented and highly in-demand candidates. We fully encourage our employees to take some level of technical training so they have an appreciation of the specialism they are recruiting in.
Each individual sector provides its own challenge however one challenge we all suffer from is the shortage of highly skilled talent across the UK. This is where we find we can gain a competitive advantage for our clients with our network and extensive resources. We fully embrace, encourage and invest in creative and innovative methods when it comes to candidate attraction.
Q: What do you regard as the main challenges to the business at the moment and how are you changing/adapting to meet those challenges?
A: There’s always plenty of challenges, I would be worried if they suddenly disappeared. For us to hit the targets we have set we will go through a number of growing pains and it would naïve to think otherwise. Getting our key hires on board and continually developing our current talent will be pivotal to our success.
I’m sure the US will provide plenty more over time – it’s going to be a steep learning curve but I would like to think we’re well prepared at this stage.
Q: What is on the cards for the future at Understanding Recruitment? Are you looking to expand and if so where/how?
A: By the close of 2018 we are looking to get the St. Albans office up to a team of 70 (currently at 40). The US team of six will be looking at physically moving over towards the end of next year and alongside this we are looking to break into Europe and replicate the success we’ve seen within the UK and ultimately fulfill all our potential as a business within this booming tech sector.
Link to the article here