Thoughts from our Head of Talent, Sam Littlejohn, on the continuing growth of Talent consulting
It has been said that ‘the people you do business with are the people you do life with.’ Working with someone who I am close with goes with this philosophy.
Working with acquaintances doesn’t.
With over 6 years experience in talent acquisition and business development, I pride myself on building long term relationships with both candidates and clients. I thoroughly enjoy helping candidates to advance in their careers and helping clients come up with commercial growth strategies which are unique to them.
Ask any recruiter – when running a recruitment process you speak to your candidates and clients more than you speak to your family and friends! You really get to know them on a much more personal level and thus quickly build a strong relationship with them. There are different reasons for people wanting to change roles; money, change in priorities, work-life balance etc. One of the most common denominators I have seen over the years is when people begin to dread going to work. Human instinct is that you want to do anything in your power to try and change this and make a positive change.
Throughout my career I have worked with all sorts of companies (and candidates!). On the client side, one of the big stumbling blocks I have come across when working for my previous employer was price. Our fee was 25% of a candidate’s annual salary per placement or we walked away. Believe it or not, it was frowned upon to agree 24%.
Yep, this meant we were missing out on a large proportion of the market. If I pitched 25% to a small/boutique company I would be laughed off the phone!
Annoyingly these companies happened to often be some of the most interesting and innovative companies on the market at that time. Their products, missions and core values were so sellable and current. It was frustrating to have multiple candidate names pop into my mind – I knew I could have a pipeline of candidates for these clients in no time, but I couldn’t tap into them because my hands were tied when it came to the fee. It was soul destroying when you had an offer for your candidate, but they also had an offer from sexy start-up X and start-up Y who you could have worked with if you were able to flex on %
People have always been a huge challenge for any business, but especially start-ups who don’t have a commercial strategy or a workforce plan. There was a huge gap in the market for a different way of working that challenged the traditional recruitment models out there.
Why did I connect with Facets?
Facets was set up in April 2020 by my brother, Guy, with a view to help UK boutique and start up digital focused businesses grow across all elements of the commercial operation – at a price point that suits them.
The company has evolved overtime to encompass sales, partnerships, marketing and client development. Having spoken about it over and over, this year Guy was set to add talent into the mix in order to create a full commercial model for our clients. The challenge he faced early 2022 was finding the right person to fit into the Facets culture, be able to recruit internally for Facets, but also recruit for Facets clients. This was a big step for Guy to take and a huge decision when it came to thinking about who the best person for the job would be. Who truly understood the Facets model and who knew the founder of the company (arguably) much better than anyone else internally?
My next venture was staring me in the face.
Having struggled with my mental health over the past few years, I realised that I seriously needed to focus more on my own well-being and in order to do that, some things needed to change. Step number one was to create a better work-life balance. If I wanted to go to the gym at 10am or I wanted to work from anywhere, there was no way I could do that working a minimum of 8am – 6pm in an office, 5 days a week.
That sinking “Sunday night dread” feeling started to become all too familiar to me. People who I once considered very close friends were barely acquaintances now at best. Once upon a time I found a ‘game week’ where you’d bag a free 5* lunch or a monthly KPI incentive where you could win a shiny gold watch so motivating. But as you get older, your priorities change. I’d rather go for a 5* lunch with my nearest and dearest and I can think of many things I’d like to experience vs having a designer watch. Remember those candidates at the beginning who dreaded going to work? I had become one of them.
I used to regularly say to people ‘Why close the door on something before seeing what’s on the other side?’ It was time to listen to my own advice.
It has been said that the people you do business with are the people you do life with. Working with someone who I am close with goes with this philosophy.
Doing life with acquaintances doesn’t.
So, I did it. I text Guy, ‘I’ve just quit.’
And just like that, the talent division was born!
My belief of what Facets Talent needs to be
Facets Talent offers in-house talent solutions to digitally-driven boutique businesses. We are an internal recruitment team for our clients so the understanding of culture, brand awareness, transparency and cost effectiveness are important. With me, you get a dedicated Talent consultant who is part of the team.
Although we may be separate from the business itself and often provide our service on a part-time basis, it is vital to engage with clients to the extent that we are seen as a team member. Whether it be by attending regular meetings, aligning work flows on CRMs or joining up on Slack channels or WhatsApp groups, being fully immersed in the client businesses we serve, and being held accountable for our actions, is essential to achieving results. We provide onboarding sessions where through our attraction and generation strategies we shape a long-term plan to ensure you not only hire, but also retain the very best talent out there.
Refreshing and genuine
With Facets, I now get to work with some of the most innovative start-ups who are truly revolutionizing the market. I am also surrounded by people who actually give a damn – not only about their commercial relationships, but about one another as well. No one takes themselves too seriously and no one is too experienced or too busy to offer a helping hand. Although we operate on a fully remote basis, we still have a really close-knit team feel which I love.
A client told me earlier this week that he would describe the people at Facets as ‘refreshing and genuine’ a breath of fresh air’.
We are not trying to be something we are not. We want the conversations with clients and candidates to be easy, light and non-pressuring.
I suppose I did not quite realise the importance of the phrase ‘people buy from people’ until I joined the guys at Facets, and my god I’m so glad I did 🙂