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Recruitment is more than a numbers game. The strength of middle management in any organisation relies on understanding where and how unique qualities are rewarded.

Simon, our Director, knows what it takes for someone to thrive in a business that has the potential to change their life.

To celebrate SPE’s 10th birthday – as well as the launch of SPE Connect – we sat down and talked about what our new service means in a market that all too often takes people for granted…

What does SPE Connect represent for middle manager recruitment?

My role is to source the best candidates for our clients. I believe that we should be an extension of our clients’ own team, representing their brand in the market and supporting their recruitment drive. 

A recent example illustrates this. We were recently approached by a client that had a number of restaurants across the country to support them with some challenging appointments. Although I was aware of their business, I didn’t know too much about them as a company so I took the family to one of their local restaurants to find out what it was really like from a customer perspective. Whilst I was there, I spoke to staff, customers, the management professionals on-site… anyone who could give me a flavour of how the business works and what it was like to work for them – I even memorised the menu!

That’s the only way to become an extension of their team. I really don’t think you can talk to candidates in the market about a business unless you’ve experienced it first-hand, especially in hospitality, retail and leisure. A recruiter must understand the challenges a company is facing, as well as what it does extremely well.

That’s what SPE Connect is all about – treating people’s livelihoods with the care they deserve. SPE stands for the Latin phrase ‘scientia potentia est’ meaning ‘knowledge is power’. Without in-depth knowledge and regular contact, you can’t truly recognise a brand or individual’s aspirations.

How do you prepare candidates for a potential opportunity?

I like to make sure that my candidates are fully prepared if they enter into an interview process through us. For me, it is really important that they fully understand the role they are applying for, who it reports to, what the culture of the team and business is like, and all the other important sides to a role.

A job description doesn’t tell you where a company is heading in five years, or what the senior leaders are like. That’s where I come in. I aim to give people an idea of what it’s like to work for an organisation, so they can reach a decision based on having all the information.

Do any of your candidate relationships particularly stand out?

All of them to be honest. My first ever placement 11 years ago, was someone who had been a running a holiday/caravan park. He was really keen to progress his career and believed that he had the skills for something better, however he had struggled to convince recruiters to support him because of his current role.

We arranged to meet, and during that meeting it became very obvious that he was extremely driven and had some great commercial experience, so we discussed roles and companies that I thought would suit him and arranged for him to meet one of my clients in the pub sector – I just felt his experience and skills could really compliment what the Operations Director had said he was looking for. He got the job and has gone on to be a senior operator with one of the biggest pub companies in the country – I love the fact that we have stayed in touch and become good friends.

How do you identify someone for a role they may have not considered before?

We often engage candidates that may not have initially thought of looking at a particular brand. Some people make a judgement based on what their mates have told them. Yet we help them consider new things. Simply talking to candidates is enough to stoke interest.

Of course, there are times when I’ve approached someone, spoken to them, and thought, “You’re not right for this particular job, but you’re absolutely perfect for another.” And when a different opportunity arises, I bear them in mind.

Do skills transfer easily between your core sectors?

They definitely do. Passion is what motivates everyone in the hospitality sector – it may sometimes not pay as highly as other sectors, but it’s about making memories. I’ve understood that since I was young, waiting tables at my local golf club. I wanted to be a chef back then. Now I’m in an opportunity to support the best companies that help this passion grow.

Retail, leisure and hospitality have a lot of similarities these days. The key operator skills are the same. You’ve got to be customer-focused, commercially savvy, able to upsell, and ensure service delivery is of the very best standard.

The landscape is always changing too, regardless of sector – and that’s making brands more receptive to new skills and proficiencies.

You benefit from working closely with Daniel Cornwell’s Executive Search business.. How do your services complement each other?

Daniel knows everything about my clients, candidates, and the strategies I’m pursuing. This means he’s well placed to advise and coach senior leaders in tandem with my aims for the same organisation.

Once his networks need an area manager or another mid-tier figure, they come to me, because they trust in our shared quality. Equally, anyone who sees me on LinkedIn might get in touch with a senior-level job opportunity, which I’ll pass to him.

Between us, we have a network that can support any hiring initiative – and our clients know they’ll get the same drive, commitment and service levels.

We’re incredibly excited about where this brand will take us, and you. To enquire about middle management recruitment, call or message us today.