The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

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Archive for November 2009

Rugby and Recruitment

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How DOES one choose a subject for the inaugural blog?

It’s not easy to be philosophical after my rugby team (the Springboks – you can take South Africans out of Africa, but our rugby  sentiments never change!) got really thrashed by an Irish team that simply looked more cohesive and ultimately, were less aggressive and more calculated in their approach to the game. Yes, the Boks struggled with the damp and foggy Croke Park weather but they should have factored that into their training.

Overall, the Springboks looked the way I think most recruitment consultants feel at the conclusion of 2009: Battered, punch drunk, exhausted and ready for a saving grace.

Speaking to many contacts in my line of work (I specialise in recruiting sales people into industry, at the moment I am doing a lot in the Automotive Aftermarket) that feeling of exhaustion is not dissimilar elsewhere in the economy. It was as if, in September 2008, an axe fell on the UK Automotive industry. The impact of the banks not lending, the manufacturers not producing, the supply chain becoming depressed, is still reverberating and I doubt manufacturing in the UK will ever be the same again.

After 22 years in the recruitment industry serving manufacturing and automotive, achieving VERY high billings and placing at director level in some of the biggest employer brands in the world, I was made redundant. OK, that shock I could deal with but then I realised that possibly, being on the downhill side of 40 was a real disadvantage in the sales driven recruitment industry. My contacts, my track record, my vast experience meant nothing. All they wanted was a bum on a seat and a voice on a phone that could sell, sell, sell. And really, I have moved beyond that type of recruitment many years ago and going back would be  impossible.

So I found an opportunity to move to Surrey from Birmingham and set up a new sales recruitment division for a technology recruiter. Only they went into liquidation 3 months after I started. In fact, I ended up fighting with the liquidator about my client invoices. (Now there’s a good case for Business Relationship of the Year status!) 

Like the Springboks, I was losing the battle against well-stacked odds. But also like the Springboks, my fight doesn’t stop until the final whistle blows and I still have enough gumption for a few last drives at the try line. So I set up on my own, finally taking the plunge into business ownership after many years of adding value (and turnover) to someone else’s business.

So here we are then. A new business, a new blog, a new life in a new place and hopefully, a new opportunity to excite and motivate.

Keep an eye on CR Associates – No, it’s not megalomania trading under my own name. It’s my contract with my clients and candidates: Putting my name on my service means there will be no compromise to delivering only the best. Otherwise I could have gone for a high-flying acronym, or a label like “flight” or “progress” or “drive” that creates pretty images but promises, and therefore delivers, nothing.

I will not compromise on my standards, ethics and professional integrity. Us South Africans have learnt to become change management specialists. Look at those Bok players singing the national anthem:  Five years ago, some only knew the Afrikaans bits and the coloured guys sang only Nkosi Sikelele with gusto. Now, they all belt out all the words with equal passion and the crowd is doing exactly the same. They have learnt that their label is a bit different, but their hearts and minds are still fundamentally the same.

So now, my label is different but better: It’s my own name and fortunately for me, my tune has not changed. Working independently means I do exactly what I did before, but better under my own auspices.

And this will never change. Nor will my support for the Springboks: Give them a break and a rest, and they will be world champions again. And again. And again……

Hello world!

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Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

Written by Cathy Richardson

November 28, 2009 at 11:42 am

Posted in Recruitment

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