This year we celebrated David’s 20 year career with us in true PCR style – at the local Chinese. In a country where, on average, millennials are changing jobs every two years, we want to know, how has David managed to stay in the same business for so long?
How have you lasted 20 years in the same business?
“To me it feels a bit like I’m running a business within a business and every day is different. I get to work with wonderful people, speak to interesting candidates and clients and every day I learn about new technologies and businesses”.
Did you intend on going into recruitment when you left university?
“I did a degree in business and tech and wanted to build on that skillset and knowledge, but I didn’t want to be a hands-on technical person. So, I was very open minded about where I took my career and didn’t really have any preconceptions about what I was going to do. I actually started at PCR as the IT support person but quickly found my feet in recruitment”.
20 years is a long time, what keeps you motivated every day?
“Feeding my family! Supporting myself, my family and my employer. I’ve always had a strong work ethic and strive for a nice work/life balance. Work ethic is important. No one owes you a job or owes you anything for that matter. Employers are the risk takers, risking their money to run a business, which could fail if the wrong people are employed, so it should be a win-win for business owners and employees. The business wins because they have a hard-working and loyal employee, and I win because I trust that they will look after me and support me”.
What opportunities has PCR given you?
The ability and the freedom to essentially run a business, within a business. I enjoy the autonomy of my role, I get all the good bits of running a ‘business’, without all the rubbish parts. PCR has always given me the tools, skills and support to do the job, and the autonomy to get on with growing my part of the business as I see best”.
How would you deal with working in a recruitment agency that is massively target driven?
"I wouldn’t! If you’re doing sales calls just to hit KPIs, it takes away the integrity of the job. I’d rather approach people who I genuinely believe will use my services and benefit from them. I’d say 90% of my time is spent on delivery and 10% on sales. I believe if your delivery is spot on, clients are likely to return and recommend you, so it pays to do something really well, rather than spending time you don’t have making cold calls”.
What major changes have you seen across the industry?
“When I first joined PCR, the industry was mainly focused on PC applications and infrastructure. We’ve moved away from that now and the marketplace is entirely digital software driven. From a recruitment point of view, although the tools have changed (I remember when we used to send CVs by fax!), the principles of recruitment remain the same and the key is using the right tools at the right time for the right purpose. Cloud based applications allow a lot more flexibility and our back-office functions are much slicker now”.
What has been one of your best moments at PCR?
“A couple of years back when I had the highest number of contractors I’ve ever had, working across different disciplines, technologies and businesses. I’m sure that there will be people out there who have hit far higher, but for a small business, I was really pleased to have so many contractors across such a wide range of industries, companies and skill sets”.
What is your response to today’s idea that you can change jobs every couple of years?
“Speaking as someone who has been in the same company for some time it’s very difficult to answer!” “Did you ever get the two year itch that so many people seem to get?” “No, I’ve never felt that way. I guess you have to ask yourself; are you still learning, are you still growing, are you still earning more, are you still enjoying it, are you working with nice people, are you still being challenged? If the answer is yes, why would you want to leave? Those have always been ticks for me so why change for changes sake? Others might say that if you only stay in one business, you’ll only learn one way of doing things. But I’d say if you’re always surrounded by new people such as clients and candidates, then you’ll always learn. Even now I am working on roles I’ve never worked on before and I’m learning new things about these roles and the skills required every day.
What advice would you give to other recruitment agencies on how to retain their staff?
“Give employees the tools and the freedom to do the job well. Give them the capacity to earn well and the flexibility to live their life”.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start out in recruitment?
“I think there are too many blaggers (David-ism) in this world pretending they know what they’re talking about! If you don’t know the ins and outs of the job spec, don’t pretend to. Don’t pretend to know the team you’re recruiting for. Lay it on the line, be honest, ask questions, take an interest. Same with technologies – try and learn from people. Don’t pretend you understand what a UX researcher does, if you don’t! Respect your employer and be courteous to your employer, colleagues, candidates and clients. They’re all people. Even strangers. Just be nice to people in general. And it will come back to you. Keeps life simple”.
If it wasn’t recruitment, what would you be doing instead?
What do the next 20 years bring?
“No idea! Will AI have taken over and replaced us all? Probably not, the tools will always change – look how far we’ve already come in 20 years – but I reckon people are key to good recruitment so we’ll still be around, just slightly greyer perhaps.”
It seems the key to a long lasting career in the same business is autonomy; freedom to work in a way that is fulfilling to you but also meets the needs of the business, and above anything else – happiness and success! We're certain David has achieved all of these things and more at PCR and couldn't be more grateful for his commitment to the business over the years. Congratulations, David!