Interview with Emma Ellis – Joint Owner of Ellis Mason Recruitment

What’s your favourite part of Recruitment?

My favourite part is the people. There is nothing more rewarding than changing someone’s life and helping them find a new job. To some people it is not as life changing, but to others, its everything. Some people are so unhappy in their work that they struggle to find the motivation to get up and go in. Seeing their face and hearing their joy when they get the job offer they really wanted, is a feeling I wish I could bottle and share with everyone.

I particularly enjoy working with juniors and people that have a lack of confidence. They often can’t see their own potential, but I can and so with them I can really make a difference, by opening doors that they would not have been able to open on their own.

Wow, 17 years! Have you always been in the same role?

As a fresh faced 20-year-old, I started by running a thriving Industrial temp desk and I don’t think I could have asked for a better start. It threw me straight into the deep end and was so mentally busy that I had no choice but to learn quickly and make a success of it. After 6 years in Industrial, I knew that I wanted to make the move over to Commercial however there was no opening for me at the time and so for the same company, I made the move to work for Head Office as an Internal Recruiter. It taught me a whole different skill set but at a much slower pace and if I’m honest, I missed working in a branch and so after 18 months I asked to be re-transferred back into branch. This time I took on the challenge of working as a permanent consultant and I’ve never looked back. Now that I have done the two, I know that I am a permy at heart. I love the interview process, the coaching and development of candidates and the impact that a permanent job can make to them. I’m glad that I have done both as it means that I can offer the full circle of recruitment to my clients but I definitely have a stronger affinity with the permanent side of the business.

What made you want to go it alone?

The honest answer is opportunity. My business partner Luke approached me and asked me if I had ever thought about it. In all honesty, I hadn’t, but when I took the time to think about it and think about the market, I thought that it was worth the gamble. See, when I first started in Recruitment, it was very much about the big players, the large corporates that everyone has heard of. This is changing though, and not just in the Recruitment industry but in most industries. People want to use the small, homegrown, more personable businesses. In most area’s you will find that the small businesses are the competition to look out for.

How do you make yourself stand out from the competition?

I wish there was a magic formula that I could give in answer to this, as being noticed as different is so hard in this competitive market. If you spotted my wording, I said being noticed as different rather than being different. Being different is not the challenge, being noticed for that difference is what is hard. To be different you just have to be yourself as Recruiting is so much about the person that is doing the recruiting for you. For example, me, my clients choose me as they know my strengths and my weaknesses, they know what my morals are and the way I conduct my relationships. I have strong relationships with a lot of my clients, I have fun with them and share special occasions with them. It makes me sad when I hear from a company that they don’t even know the person that recruits for them. It’s an old but very wise saying that ‘people buy from people’, I’m a believer that it doesn’t matter what the name is above the door, it’s about who’s inside that door.

Another way in which we stand out is our approach, working for ourselves enables us to tailor each recruitment solution every time. If we want to use more budget on advertising we can, if we want to use different advertising forums we can, there are lots more things that we can do that I never could have done when I worked for a larger firm.

Why do you think you are good at recruiting?

I think because, a job to me is never just a job. You spend more time at work in your life than you will anywhere else. It’s important to enjoy the atmosphere and environment that you are heading into every day. Matching to a job is so much deeper than just matching to a job spec. New employees need to be matched to the company values and ethos and the Manager and team they will be working with, as much, if not more than being skills matched to the job spec. Research shows that the majority of people leave their jobs due to their line manager – so if you only match on a CV and nothing else then its taking a gamble as to whether that person will stay long term. This is why we always ask companies to trust us and sometimes see people that they would not necessarily have done just going on their CV. This is the main reason I think I am good at recruiting. I think I also am a good judge of character and I’m not afraid to dip into uncomfortable questions and probe if I think I need to get to the truth.

Is Luke like you or different to you?

Very different, I think. Luke for a start had run his own business before and so he has more commercial experience than I do. He’s the thinker. I make decisions often based on my heart and Luke will open up discussions to make sure that I have thought about it clearly from all aspects.

He is great with a job spec. He can break down a job spec and learn a new job very easily, whereas I’m often the one going off job spec and pushing the boundaries. So far, I think we complement each other with our skill sets.

Do you ever have difference of opinions?

Yes, most definitely. Normally on the design or concept of something. Where it matters most, on the decisions we have to make regarding people, we generally have the same opinions. We have the same moral values, which is key.

What about a top tip to clients on interview?

Most companies now will know that there is a massive candidate shortage at present as unemployment is so low. So, my tip would be to make the interview an enjoyable experience and make sure that people leave, wanting to work there and if you see someone that you want then don’t hold back, make them an offer quickly before someone else snaps them up.

What’s next for Ellis Mason?

We’re currently re-designing our website and branding, which is super exciting for us. So, keep an eye out for the re-launch!

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