Fillip Search is SSG’s latest launch. We caught up with founder Tom Lee to find a bit more about him and his plans for the future.
Tell me about your recruitment background.
I have 11 years’ experience in IT recruitment. I’ve worked for two companies in that time. One global agency and another with less than 10 consultants. This contrast has given me a good overview of the recruitment industry and how a business works. I’m sure I’ll need to use all my experiences, good and bad to make a success of my own business!
What was your motivation for starting your own recruitment business?
I have a young family and I was keen to spend more time with them. Commuting for 4hrs a day wasn’t sustainable and I generally wanted a better balance between family and work.
What sectors do you cover? What roles do you specialise in?
I specialise in IT, the roles most common are those associated with the software development life-cycle eg Business Analysts, Developers, Testers, Project Managers. Graduate through to Director/senior appointments.
Over the last 13 years, SSG have seen their fair share of passionate recruitment entrepreneurs. We’ve seen the best construction recruiters addicted to business ownership & we’ve seen the best accounting & finance recruiters addicted to business ownership. & out of all the 300 or so ventures we’ve supported over the years, they don’t tend to come more motivated, driven & entrepreneurial than Dominic Nelson. Dom is Managing Director of Jazz Personnel, an innovative start-up based in the North East with a specific focus within the Accountancy and Finance, Digital, Engineering, Industrial, Legal, Office Support, & Sales and Marketing sectors.
Recruiters get their fair share of bad press. I know I’m not the first person to suggest this & I know I won’t be the last. Business Owners, equally, come under fire from time-to-time on main stream social media & business platforms. So, when Greg Southern came to SSG in 2013 with the desire to start his own R2R agency – some might have suggested he was entering the most disliked & challenging area of both recruitment & business.
SSG wouldn’t agree.
And although I can’t speak for the entire recruitment world, I can speak for SSG when I say that our relationship over the years with Greg & his team has been as far from “unlikeable” as possible & as rewarding as taking the top of a yogurt, “yogurt free”. I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Greg about the last couple of years, at a rather exciting time for him. At the end of last year Greg moved into his brand-new offices in the heart of Manchester & has also brought on a new consultant. & therefore SSG felt it was a perfect time to grab 10 minutes with him to understand a little bit more about what had brought him to this exciting stage in his life.
Just last week, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Catherine Tassano from Hill & Jago Recruitment about her last 2 years of Business Ownership. It was a pleasure to hear even more about Catherine & why she wanted to become her own boss & create the lifestyle she had always wanted.
What was evident in talking to Catherine was the personal connection she had to her business & I know it sounds simplistic but one of the major drivers for anyone when they’re running their own business is that they feel the success & nature of that business is a direct reflection on themselves. That personal connection, alongside a passion to promote a brand as an extension of herself is clearly what has helped Catherine get to where she is today. Not to mention she’s a top-quality recruiter as well!...
With the new year in full swing, SSG had the opportunity to sit down with the dynamic duo at Newton Colmore & explore how they have found their first 2 years of working for themselves. From an SSG standpoint, it was really rewarding to hear from two very capable recruiters how the support of SSG has allowed them to start their own business & do what they do best – find top quality candidates for rare, niche & high value opportunities. Alongside this, we were able to understand further how important timing was for Matthew & Andrew when contemplating this exciting leap.
In the run up to the Christmas (what seems like many moons ago now!), I had the pleasure of catching up with Mark Hopkins, Managing Director of Thomas Lee Recruitment. SSG have had the privilege of supporting Mark & his venture for a year now & I felt it fitting to sit down with Mark & talk about his experiences over the last year or so & how he has found the transition from enthusiastic employee to motivated Business Owner.
What motivates those entrepreneurial recruiters to start up their own recruitment agency? And what unique perspective do they bring to the market? We sat down with Mark Gale-Jones of freshly launched Puretek Recruitment to find out just that.
Mark began his recruitment career working the Further Education sector, recruiting for Apprentice Engineers working for local companies. Somewhat a baptism of fire, the role challenged Mark to quickly develop his skills to encourage apprentices to open up when interviewing them.
Congratulations to the lovely Lisa Smith, owner of Borehamwood based Commercial agency, Crisp Recruitment who was married on Saturday at a beautiful ceremony surrounded by friends and family. We have been working with Crisp since the business began in early 2012 and we are delighted for her and her new husband Chris. We wish them a lot of love and laughter as they start their married life.
Those of you in Norwich might have noticed a new face on the High Street. We recently completed the launch of Straight Forward Recruitment and we’re pleased to say they’re open for business – great offices on Norwich’s High Street (a fabulous location) and with a brand new recruit on board, Straight Forward Recruitment are ready to provide temporary staff to the local area in the Industrial, Commercial and Engineering & Technical Sectors.
We’re pleased to announce that the long term relationship between SSG and Brown’s Recruitment and Training continues for a further period, following the business’ successful incubation. We are excited to be working with Susanne in this next phase of the business and we are chuffed that she has chosen to continue to work with us along the way.
We are pleased that Mike Duggan of Landmark Faith Recruiting Solutions has been successfully incubated and would like us to be part of his continuing journey. We are excited to be working with Mike as he develops the business in this next stage and we are really chuffed to be helping him along the way.
"New Year, New Start" rings around so many offices today and none more so than for the guys at Newton Colmore who move offices today. The company has been in existence for less than a year and is already bursting out of its existing offices and so a move around the corner in Birmingham City Centre is called for.
With beautiful views over the city and close to a great bar, we are hopeful that the growing team will be happy and successful in their new premises.
We look forward to visiting them soon!
We’re pleased to welcome Violet Executive Search to the SSG network of companies, having completed the launch of this exciting new business. Recruiting into the contract arena of Aerospace and Defence, Mark and the team have a particular focus on senior and niche or ‘difficult to fill’ roles. With a fantastic central location in Birmingham, Violet Executive Search pride themselves on possessing a strong network of candidates and an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the sector. We have high hopes for this fledgling company – one to watch for 2016!
We are pleased to announce that long-standing venture, ITCV Recruitment, has been successfully incubated and would like us to be part of their continuing journey. We are excited to see how Leon continues to develop the business in this next stage, with some fabulous new ideas, and we are really chuffed to be helping him along the way. Look out for his new website, coming soon, and an imminent move into the contract market.
The team at Liberty Vets attended the BVNA Congress last month and as ever, this has proved to be a great success for the company. The largest sole veterinary nursing event in the UK, the Congress is a ‘must attend’ event for the team – SSG helped them put together the marketing collateral for the event but as ever, it was the sweets that proved the biggest hit with the nurses!
We share many highs and lows with the Ventures we support, from non-paying clients to high value placements and perfect recruitment cycles, drop outs and PSL successes. Because of the close relationships that form in light of such a journey, we also share in personal successes and we are delighted that Will Platten from Construction and IT recruiters I-texo and his lovely partner Nadia have recently married and sent us over a wonderful selection of photographs from their special day.
Specialist Veterinary Recruitment Consultancy, Liberty Vets took time out at the end of the week to celebrate a really great quarter in the business. Recruitment is of course full of ups and downs and so it was fitting that the team should choose to go swinging on the high ropes at Go Ape – lovely photo of them all looking deservedly pleased with themselves on a fantastic set of results. Well done to all the team!
This week, we are so pleased to announce that one of the ventures we support, SLR Solutions have been shortlisted onto a PSL with a major group of companies within a specialist area of the healthcare market. Simon and his team had done a great job of recruiting locally for one of the companies in the group and word had got back to the powers that be and within a very short space of time, SLR were being asked to tender.
We worked closely with Simon putting the tender documents together and were delighted to be told that SLR were through to the next round. A full presentation follows which we will be involved in with SLR and we are really hopeful of a positive outcome. The prospect of winning a major contract like this is exciting as these events can accelerate the growth of a small business and act as a springboard which changes the nature of the business forever. Watch this space.
We are pleased to announce that long-standing venture, Rubymaze, has been successfully incubated and would like us to be part of their continuing journey. We are excited to see how Michael continues to develop the business in this next stage and we are really chuffed to be helping him along the way.
Small and Effective
Sometimes, our Ventures will feel that they are at a disadvantage being the size they are in the market place but as someone once said
"if you think you are too small to be effective, then you have never been alone in the dark with a mosquito".
With our help, two of our Ventures this week have proved this point perfectly: Venture 1 managed to skilfully negotiate a change in terms of business put on the table to them by a multinational construction company with a reputation for not budging on contracts. Venture 2 successfully reminded a huge technology company that an Introduction deserves a fee even though the candidate entered the company via the back door….
Who says that small is not beautiful!
A Sad Goodbye
We bid a sad goodbye to Barnes Frank, who have come to the end of their incubation period and have decided to continue with their expansion and bring services in house. Gareth and the team have been great to work with and we wish them well in their next stage of growth and look forward to watching them progress.
The SSG team also say a big thanks to Barnes Frank for the swathes of chocolate delivered to SSG Towers as a token of their appreciation for the support we’ve offered the business – that’ll keep us going till Christmas!
A Successful Partnership
SSG are delighted to be working with ETR Solutions, who have decided to continue to outsource services to us, following a period of successful incubation.
Clare and Suzanne have been supported by us for a long time and we are so pleased to be able to be part of their continuing development.
Support and Mentoring
One of the reasons that our Ventures like to work with us is down to the depth and breadth of experience within SSG Towers – having supported and mentored hundreds of recruitment companies over the past 12 years, over a multitude of sectors and from start up through established to asset sales, the team here has had exposure to virtually every scenario that a recruitment business can encounter.
As a snapshot of the type of issues we are currently working with our ventures on:
Back Door Placements
Candidate Buy Backs
The rise of the Internal recruiter
Trade mark arguments
Keeps us busy but more importantly provides a business safety net for our ventures, giving them peace of mind that enables them to carry on doing what they do best!
Liberty Vets New Office
Liberty Vets, the specialist veterinary recruitment consultancy based in Exeter, are on the brink of moving into new offices in Exeter. Not content with trying out every conceivable office configuration in their serviced offices, they now have a bespoke arrangement which is aligned to how the company intend to grow over the next couple of years. Adam and Justin at the helm, with an impressive team of consultants, work this niche market to the limit and are arguably the most successful agency in this sector in the area.
The new office represents a transition of the company from highly profitable agency to major contender in their market - with new branding, an alignment of services and renewed focus on the overriding objective, we remain very proud to be supporting this growing business.
Kernow Ed Ltd announced as a Lloyds Bank National Business Awards finalist
Today, Kernow Ed Ltd has been shortlisted for the Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year the 2015 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards Kernow Ed Ltd is a Local specialist Recruitment Agency that provides whole school recruitment solutions, supporting schools in Cornwall to raise educational standards, they are based within Penryn, Cornwall and believe in local teacher local schools. Kernow Ed Ltd vision is to become an employer of choice within Cornwall.
Going up against other finalists, Sarah Bale, The Director of Kernow Ed Ltd will compete for the prestigious award, with the winner being revealed at the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards gala dinner held on 10 November at Park Lane’s Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
TO Resourcing Testimonial
After TO Resourcings successful launch, we received a lovely email from Tess to say what a pleasant experience the whole process was. Why thank you Tess, it was a pleasure!
"In terms of the support in setting up and the launch, I have found it first class and I don’t think I could have done it without you all!
From initial meeting (where it did all seem a bit overwhelming, I have to admit!) to now, the team could not have been more supportive. I have found everyone to be very supportive and patient (the IT/technical guys in particular!) I love my logo and the website and have had very positive comments and feedback on it. The team are always on hand for queries and questions and there is nothing that hasn’t been fulfilled.
Thank you all - I hope I can now prove my worth with the time and investment you have all put in!
I can’t believe it’s actually all happening now and it’s real! I’m loving it!" - TESS ORCHARD, TO RESOURCING
Jones & Stone Office Move
Exciting news for Generalist recruitment consultancy, Jones and Stone this week as they complete their move into new offices. Very much a family business, the company has been providing exceptional recruitment solutions to the local area for 6 years.
The new offices provide Rhiannon, Mark and Bronwen with great access to their client base in Oxfordshire and the premises have enabled the realisation of a dream of owning a restaurant alongside the recruitment business. We wish these entrepreneurs great success with this additional venture and look forward to seeing the business grow (and enjoying some Tapas when we are next in Faringdon!)
Congratulations Adam and Sarah!
This week, all of us here at SSG are sending our love and best wishes to Adam Palin at Multi-Trades Recruitment and his lovely fiancé Sarah (plus baby Archie) as they jet off to foreign climes to get married.
The wonderful team at the specialist recruitment agency are all joining the couple to celebrate this weekend – we look forward to hearing all about it and seeing the photos. There won’t be a dry eye in the house!
A Great Business Model
Congratulations go to healthcare specialists, Peritus who have really developed a great business model by attracting talented young apprentices to be trained in the wonderful world of Recruitment whilst working in a high-octane, pressured but immensely rewarding environment.
The owner of the business, Taf Usher has a single vision to be the very best provider of high quality locum and permanent healthcare professionals and his passion for the industry is clearly catching! The growing team of Apprentices are being schooled in ‘the Peritus way’ and the dividends are paying off!
Merton Business of the Year Nomination
Many congratulations must go to Rhodium Consulting this week – Julie and her team are rightfully dead chuffed at being selected as finalists in the Federation of Small Businesses London Business Awards in the category of Merton Business of the Year.
A glitzy do in a London hotel awaits and hopefully more silverware to add to the cabinet! Rhodium Consulting are a niche agency with incredibly high levels of service and delivery – we wish them the very best of luck for the awards and look forward to seeing all the photos!
A Golden Ticket Moment
Fantastic news for one of our clients Blue Rose Consulting who works the commercial market and has been in business for a number of years – having used the Vacancy Spider generated by SSG for the company each week, Donna and her team sent out a number of mailshots advertising a new element to their service.
They have had their own Golden Ticket Moment when the mailshot was read by a senior bigwig at a global company operating across Europe who liked the look of the company and what they have to offer. A phone call later and Donna is packing her bag to go over to Frankfurt to meet the hiring team and is looking to help them fill the 700 plus vacancies they have each year. We know our eight legged friends are pretty industrious but we are very pleased that one of the services SSG provides has proved potentially so lucrative to Blue Rose.
A Few Legal Questions
A few legal questions arising this month that have kept our legal team occupied – subject access requests under the Data Protection Act, visa enquires and client sponsorship, contract disputes, tier suppliers and MSPs, tenders and proposals, court proceedings, share transfers, trademark objections to name but a few! We were kept busy helping ventures out both in-house and with reference to our solicitor when needed.
To Infinity, and beyond!
Congratulations to commercial recruiters, Unico Recruitment who have taken some tough decisions, restructured the business and refocused the vision in this highly competitive market. Commercial recruitment exists in a sand-shifting space to operate in and those that survive are those that are willing and able to change. Demonstrating that building a business is so much more than generating fees, Lesley and her team can now look forward to reaping the rewards.