I had a few questions to ask Andrew Mackay, principal consultant in London, and he shared his advice for someone just getting into recruitment, challenges he has faced, what keeps him driven and why he chose to work at Eames.
1. How did you get into recruitment? After graduating, a family member who worked in the industry suggested it would be a good option to consider and after exploring it further, I felt the mix of dealing with people, managing your own portfolio and working within a competitive environment suited me well.
2. What is your advice for someone just getting into recruitment? Strive to become a true expert in your field, transacting roles and filling jobs will only get you so far, If you want to build strong relationships, and see better billings, you need to stand out from the crowd and the simplest way is to have an opinion on your market and offer clients and candidates insight they find valuable and interesting.
3. What is it about recruitment that has kept you in the industry? For me, it has been the teams I have worked with, finding like-minded people who understand the challenges of the role and are there to lift your spirits when needed and share in your success is something I cannot imagine not having.
4. What is the proudest moment in your career to date? There isn’t one that stands out as being above the others from a performance perspective, what makes me proud on a recurring basis is clients coming back to me time and time again trusting me to shape their teams and also helping them move their own careers forwards.
5. What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your career so far, and how have you overcome that? Being fortunate to work through the Global Financial Crisis, IndyRef, Brexit & COVID. There have been many external challenges that have shocked the market, the biggest challenge I have had to overcome is actually stepping back from the day to day and seeing the bigger picture and remembering that relationships take time and not every day will have a “win”. Talking to colleagues, family and people outside of the sector helps me keep perspective on what I can actually control.
6. What is your number 1 secret to success? Surround yourselves with excellent people. There are many quotes from Steve Jobs et al on this point but it doesn’t just apply to leadership. I advise candidates to focus on the hiring manager, the wider team and what that particular business unit is looking to achieve in the next 3-5years as being the no.1 thing that matters above and beyond brand name or compensation. I have applied that to my own career and the most enjoyable roles I have been in are high performing and well-led teams.
7. What's the best career advice you've ever been given? “I don’t think this job is right for you” – it may sound counterintuitive to say to someone, but being honest with candidates where the role is just not the best fit for their long term goals has paid me back time and time again in my career with those candidates trusting me more and giving me opportunities to hire into their teams as they know I will, in turn, be honest with candidates I put forward. Honesty is a currency that everyone values and being seen as an honest broker in a crowded and self-serving market never hurts the bottom line.
8. What are you driven by, and how do you stay motivated? With a young family, financial return is of course a big driver, but personally, being recognised internally and externally as a hard-working, knowledgeable and honest person is what I strive for and thankfully, recruitment can give you those little wins on a regular basis to keep motivation up.
9. How do you keep a work/life balance? Turning off work notifications on my phone. I started doing this before COVID and it allowed me not to have intrusions into the evening. Removing emails over the weekend also helps. Most recruiters will know, emails sent between 8PM-6AM are rarely filled with good news so putting a barrier between me and work is essential to allow me to be present at home.
10. Why Eames? To my earlier point about focusing on the team, I was aware of the strength and reputation of the Banking & Asset Management team and the opportunity to be a part of that and work with high performers was the main attraction.