Recruitment company owners are a diverse bunch. Much like the consultants they employ, they all have different back stories, reasons for entering recruitment, and a different ethos at the heart of the companies they run.
The team from Hunted sat down with our Founder, Matthew Eames and had a few questions to ask him.
How did you get into recruitment? I originally worked in Lloyd’s of London between ’93 and ’98 as an underwriter. I felt somewhat undervalued and under rewarded and had aspirations to be more successful, so I decided to look for a job that was more suited to my interpersonal skills and earning aspirations. I had a girlfriend at the time who was working in recruitment, so I decided to look into the industry.
How did you find the transition into recruitment? I already had 5 years’ experience working in the city, interacting with a wide variety of personalities and age groups. I was also working in a sales environment, which allowed me to use my communication and interpersonal skills. Working in an environment such as Lloyd’s, you need to build your relationship management skills quickly, which is also a key aspect of being a good recruiter. It turned out to be a really good grounding for me before stepping into recruitment.
What led you to the decision to set up your own recruitment business? I’d always wanted my own business. I identified an opportunity to build a recruitment business like Eames that satisfied a gap in the market not being covered by existing firms.
Some recruitment bosses decide to let the business run themselves, others are more hands on. What’s your approach? To build a successful recruitment business you personally need to adapt and change over time as the company grows. At one point in the early years I was the Managing Director whilst also being a team leader and the company’s top biller. That’s not a role I suggest to anyone who values their spare time! I’ve always been very involved in the business, and I think it’s crucial to remain client facing. I’ve just changed roles again and promoted internally, moving Guy Day to the CEO role, which has allowed me to move back to a more client facing role again. Crucially this means each of us is playing to our strengths, something the business will benefit from.
How do you find a balance between responsibilities as a business leader aside from your client-facing activities? Careful diary management and leading by example! I go out and pitch with the consultants, attend PSL review meetings and am constantly tracking talented recruiters in the market. It’s important to make myself available to and have contact with all the staff at Eames as that’s the best contribution I can make to the success of the firm.
Eames is a global business. What challenges have you faced expanding overseas? For us it was finding the right people, because joining a start-up doesn’t appeal to everyone. I’m pleased to say though, with some perseverance, we made the overseas expansion into Asia a success. Singapore opened in 2010, and remains a strong operation with over 30 people and we also opened Hong Kong last year which is already up to 12 people.
Do you promote global mobility and do consultants to relocate to different offices with Eames? Yes we do. We’ve seconded a number of people from London over to Asia over the years, which has worked incredibly well. As the business grows, we’ll certainly see more of that happen. It’s open to everyone who works for the company.
What do you look for in the staff you bring onboard into your offices? Very simply, it’s people with the right attitude. We look for individuals who are passionate about customer service and who want to make a positive difference. We operate as specialists, which means everyone aligns to a chosen discipline and market sector. As such, people who work at Eames are technically more proficient than most of their counterparts in the industry but also need to have a desire to be the best and constantly improve everything they do.
What are your key motivators? When I first started the business, it was primarily about survival and making sure that I could pay my staff. Over time, it’s become more about the achievement of building a successful recruitment business which has launched and continues to develop a number of recruitment careers.
What are the ambitions over the next few years for the business? We have ambitions to grow in all existing locations and into new geographies; Europe and the US hold a great deal of potential for a business like ours.