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What It’s Like Helping People into Their Dream Roles

Posted on
March 12, 2020

Our next interview is with Joanne McPherson, a Client Director in our Regulatory, Risk & Compliance division. She discusses the importance of the long-term relationships she has made whilst being a recruiter, how fulfilling placing candidates into new roles can be, and how specialising in recruitment is important.

Why did you decide to go into recruitment?

When I was quite young, I naively found myself working for a company selling loans and protection to high-risk, vulnerable people, and this just didn’t align with my own ethical code of conduct. It just wasn’t for me. Therefore, I left this job without anywhere to go and I went to a recruitment company who told me that I could be great working in recruitment. And 18 years later, I still am. I spent 5 years in a recruitment firm, then was asked by a National IFA, a client of mine, to work in-house, I stayed there for 10 years. I then moved to BWD.

Why did you choose to start working at BWD?

The Managing Director of BWD, James Walker, reached out to me to join BWD on a few occasions, but at the time, I was happily settled in my role. After 10 years, that role was made redundant. I remembered James Walker’s email the most out of everyone who had contacted me about career opportunities. His email had mentioned that he was looking for people to join his business who shared the same values as him. He also offered great rewards and flexibility, which could accommodate the hours I required to be able to support my children. Overall, it was the BWD family feel and ethical approach that I liked the most.

What has been your biggest challenge as a recruiter?

The industry can get a lot of negative press, but I know that I treat people the right way, so to me, this is unfair. I find it difficult not to take it personally when people are rude or challenging. Not being treated with the respect that we deserve because of the negative assumptions around the industry we work in can be hard to deal with. I’m sure most recruiters experience this.

What do you enjoy most about working in recruitment?

I love to see an end result. I like seeing that I’ve helped people secure their dream role and enhance their career. I also enjoy assisting people who are having a difficult time, or have a lack of confidence, due to redundancy for example. This really makes my job worthwhile and I know I am doing a good thing by helping them find a new role.

I really enjoy building long term relationships when working in recruitment. I have even been invited to a wedding of someone whom was once a candidate, then a client, then a candidate, and is now a client again!  I really place value on these friendships and a lot of my work comes from referrals and word of mouth due to their positive experiences both candidate and client side.

Is there anything in particular you would like to achieve this year?

I had a challenging 2019 personally, so this year, I would like to be back in the game 100%, be fully present in my role and meet all the expectations of a Client Director. As the only female Client Director I am keen to nurture the female talent in the business. I am excited to see where I could go with this and I am looking forward to becoming a Senior Client Director with hybrid responsibilities across both generating business and supporting others to do so effectively.

What motivates you on a daily basis?

My main motivation is knowing I am making a positive difference to people, including clients, candidates, colleagues, and our directors. It’s nice to feel valued. I have received a multitude of gifts from my candidates, ranging from ‘thank you’ cards to horse-riding lessons, vouchers to flowers, and I am very grateful. It is an amazing feeling to know people place value on the support I have given them and have taken the time out of their busy lives to thank me.

What is your most memorable or humorous moment at BWD so far?

My most memorable moment is when I was awarded the prize for ‘runner up of the year’, coming second only to a colleague who has been at BWD for 12 years, when I was relatively new to the business.

One of the most humorous moments that springs to mind was when my director, Gareth, threw a boxing glove at me when I was being cheeky (not in a vicious way may I add…). It completely missed me and hit the ceiling, knocking down the roof tiles onto me! Gareth’s reaction was absolutely amazing, and that’s what made it so funny. Still to this day I suggest I may put in a claim!

Outside of work, what do you like to do?

I try to spend as much time as possible with my two young children, and I absolutely love having fun with them. I also love to sing, I used to be a semi-professional singer and do stand-up too. I also try to get to the theatre as much as I can, and I’ll watch anything from musicals, ballets, operas to plays or any sort of performance!

Who is your idol?

I do not have an idol; however, I admire strong women who have become successful, even when the odds were against them. This includes people such as Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres, who have been incredibly strong throughout the hardest times in their lives. Yet they still take time to give something back to others.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I would like to be in a board level position with BWD, as hopefully the company will have expanded significantly. I still want to be supporting my candidates and clients and doing what I can to help them. I also hope to be enjoying family life and starting to support my children through college and university.

What would you say to someone looking to come into recruitment?

Go into it with your eyes wide open. Recruitment isn’t for everyone and it can be very challenging at times, but it can be very rewarding. If you enjoy developing business, helping and supporting people, and doing the right thing, a career in recruitment can be great. Don’t just think about the money though, as it can take a lot of hard work to be a great recruiter.

I think it is also important to be a specialist in the field you are recruiting in. Make sure to commit to it and be immersed in the market. The days of the generalist recruiter may be numbered; you have to be a specialist.

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