#accounting #lifeatHJ #womeninbusiness
After graduating from Cass Business School, the only thing that Georgina (or ‘George’ as she is better known) knew for certain was that she wanted to move from London to Brighton. Of course there was rent to pay and it just so happened recruitment companies in Brighton were hiring at that time!
“I had no idea if I’d like recruitment,” admits George. “In the back on my mind I knew that I could always look for something else if I didn’t enjoy it. But here I am, ten years later! In fact, from the start, I really enjoyed it - especially after I filled my first position!
“I liked the fact that we took a real genuine interest in the clients and candidates. We wanted to know what kinds of personalities worked in a business, what was the culture like, what fits would make people happy?
“We built meaningful relationships with the candidates, so they got to know us and trusted our opinion. You find candidates you’ve worked with in the past coming back to you as they trust your opinion, and that always feel great!
“Most importantly, Harvey John has always been a great place to work. We encourage each other through the ups and downs and have a laugh along the way. Some of my closest friends are people I met working here.
“I know that the recruitment industry isn’t necessarily always like this. You hear about companies where the internal competition is as prominent as with actual competitors. That doesn’t help anyone. It has never been like that at Harvey John. We're always very supportive of each other and want our colleagues to do well.
"We're always very supportive of each other and want our colleagues to do well."
“And you get support from the business as well. If you want to do any professional courses or learning it has always been encouraged. Harvey John is not shy of investing in people. So I have always had a personal coach and someone there to mentor me. I have benefited from Business Coaching support from Helen Harvey and Si Conroy, and we also have Anne-Marie Tribe as an inhouse Trainer now as well.”
George began her recruitment career during one of the toughest periods for the industry. In 2010, the economy was still in the midst of the deep recession caused by the banking crisis.
“It was tough to build a desk in that market. You’re asking companies that may be struggling themselves to trust in you as an unknown entity. It’s an industry where you never really know a good recruiter until you’ve worked with them and they’ve proven themselves. Reputation and past relationship are everything. But you need to be given that chance to prove yourself which is hard to fight for as a beginner. The market was very scrappy – a bit like now on my 10 year anniversary! But such are the ups and downs of recruitment.
When asked, George is proud of what she has achieved in her time at Harvey John: “I’ve been pretty consistent over the years (touch wood!) which is valuable in a growing small business that wants to reinvest. I believe I’ve helped contribute to where we are today which is a lovely feeling. I’m very proud of Harvey John as a business and what it’s achieved through all of our contributions.
“I was their first Associate Director which was a proud day. We have my fellow ADs Hayley, Alex and Guy now too, and deservedly so, but I guess I get to say I was the first! I didn’t get there the fastest after joining though I must admit!
“And the fact that I have maintained some clients since my very first year in recruitment makes me very happy. You really benefit from longevity of relationships and client understanding.
Managing Director David Waddell certainly appreciates the role that George has played in the success of the business. He says, “Recruitment is not rocket science but then it’s not easy either! Georgina gets it. She always has!
“She has the right blend of sales, account management, high level communication and listening skills, a deep understanding of her niche and, above all, empathy with a twist of humour! Harvey John would not be where it is today without George’s commitment and hard work; I can’t thank her and recommend her highly enough!”
"Georgina gets it. She always has!" - David Waddell
George has seen plenty of changes in the industry over the last ten years, but one thing has stayed the same – the Managing Director!
“David has always been on hand to give advice, not just on work matters, but outside of work as well. You feel he really cares about you. He was hugely supportive when my mum fell ill, through years of treatment, and when she passed away.
"Also, through the ups as well. In our appraisals he would always ask what my ambitions were and what I wanted to achieve. When I said it was my dream to travel, his response was to work out how to make it happen. We decided to plan ahead to make the trip happen without disrupting the business. In fact, it probably helped the business as we recruited Alex to cover my leave, and Alex is now one of the key people in the business.
“David kept my job open and I set off for a trip of a lifetime taking in 11 countries in five months in Asia and the Americas.”
Ten years on, and George is now facing the same challenge she had to tackle in her early days: how to recruit in a recession.
On the plus side she can look back at the hard work she has already put into the role. “We have always placed the emphasis on relationship building rather than playing the numbers game. We don’t work on the basis of metrics. We don’t say, ‘We must get X number of CVs out every single day, every single week’. We’re much more service focused and we’re not going to bombard a client with CVs that aren’t right for the role, just to get our numbers up. Our clients know and respect this.
“It has certainly become much more competitive again as there are fewer jobs out there. I guess I have the experience of being through something similar before and I have the trust that we will come through the other side. I just don’t know when. Some clients think we will be back to normal in a couple of months, others see this going on for years before we see a proper recovery. But we crack on nevertheless!
“I’m excited to see what the next 10 years brings and how the industry changes. I’m confident Harvey John will continue growing and I look forward to being a part of it. Sure there will be a million more ups and downs along the way but as long as we don’t run out of tea I’m sure we’ll be fine!"
Georgina Trudgill is an Associate Director in the Accountancy Division at Harvey John.
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