Ben Hughes MD, magazine...

Our Own Tricia Bullman has been Interviewed by GM Business Connect

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We're very proud to say that our MD Tricia was recently interviewed for an issue of the Manchester business magazine GM Business Connect. We have very graciously been given permission to repost this interview on our blog, so without further ado, please enjoy this very entertaining and informative interview below:

Nestled in the leafy heart of Hale can be found one of the most dynamic and fast growing businesses you can expect to come across.

Halecroft Recruitment has been steadily growing over the past few years due to Owner and Managing Director Tricia Bullman’s unswerving vision of how a forward-looking recruitment business should look. She bases this on a gold-plated pedigree within the industry and shows just how it should be done in an extremely busy marketplace.

GM Business Connect caught up with Tricia to find out more:

Can you describe your business and your role within it?

“Halecroft Recruitment was set up to support executive recruitment across Manchester and the UK. I hold a true hands-on role as Owner/Managing Director, a dedicated recruitment professional who takes a different more personalised approach, with a great reputation for placing high quality, qualified and experienced candidates. We started 3 years ago, and became independent in April 2016. We’re based in Hale and cover senior appointments, on a national basis through Search & Selection methodologies.

“At present, the business specialises in placing executive people in to HR, Accounting and Finance, and Supply Chain positions across the UK. We cover temporary, contract, interim and permanent vacancies - anything from team leaders, management, up to board and director level positions.”

Tell us about your own personal history in recruitment?

“I got in to recruitment when I was 17, over 30 years ago! I came in as a temp, typing up CVs. I remember one Christmas when I was at college I worked as a temp in an agency, but I didn’t return - I stayed in recruitment.

“I decided to make a career out of it. I started in industrial recruitment with a great mentor – Les Hollowood from Charleswood Personnel. He really encouraged me in a marketplace that was completely male dominated. I went from being a secretary to working on a busy temp’s desk placing drivers and warehouse operatives - which when I look back was a really interesting part of my career, doing daytime, twilight and night-time shifts. It didn’t phase me at all, calling and waking households up to find available drivers to go out… and having interesting conversations with their partners at 3am!

“I then chose to move to another commercial recruitment agency based in Sale which I stayed at for 2-3 years. The next move was more permanent, where I stayed for 26 years working my way to the Operations Manager role.

“I grew my own career in that particular period, as well as the businesses I worked for.

“I met many clients who have become friends, and today I am placing their children and even grandchildren. I’ve worked with people coming in to their first job, right the way up to their current positions in management and executive or director roles. I’ve helped people through the whole of their career not just placing them once and walking away. It’s about working with the candidate and managing the candidate’s journey through many different stages.”

Have you any specialist areas?

“In the 26 years, I predominantly managed the ‘Temporaries’ department supporting lots and lots of different businesses across Greater Manchester. Facing plenty of daily challenges, but exciting as I was learning about new industries every week. At one time, we were managing up to 350 temporary workers weekly.

“Temporaries means short term placements in businesses in all different sectors. Any role that belonged in an office - from administrator to accounts clerk to receptionist, call centre representatives… basically any support role that happened within an organisation.

“I had wonderful times, achieving some tough targets and being rewarded with visits to many different European countries. I rose through the ranks quickly and as it was a small family business I made a difference to what they did as they allowed me to be myself.”

As Halecroft Recruitment where are you now in terms of the business and what you promote?

“We moved to Hale 12 months ago, with a phenomenal launch party. We had a great start to the business and it has continually grown since that recent launch with more staff joining the company.

“Our growth was based on looking at my skillset and making a definite choice to complement it by bringing others in. For example, our senior executive consultant, Kim Dodd, (who is ex-AstraZeneca) has brought in the skills of how the big corporates do their recruitment. “

“To complement this I brought in Beth Owen - an intern from Manchester University - who is taking us from a name to a brand. That has been achieved in the last six months - she is doing phenomenally well.

“Sue Weighell, our Financial Director, has been instrumental in our growth to date. Not only is Sue a Portfolio Accountant, she also offers her expertise and wealth of knowledge within networking, business development and change. A well-regarded figure within the Greater Manchester community.”

“Behind the scenes, we are part of several membership organisations. We’re part of TEAM which is the largest network of independent recruiters in the UK. This is the flagship employment agencies movement, where 700 businesses that are owner led are there to support each other.

“For example, if I’m recruiting for you in London, I can use a counterpart there who knows the local marketplace and can support me in that particular placement. I can then take on any role, even if it’s not my specialism (HR, finance and supply chain).

“So, if somebody comes along with a legal role, I can facilitate that recruitment by bringing in an experienced recruiter on the legal side to provide support. We can fill any particular position throughout the UK.

“A lot of my clients are well-known brands spanning over 30 years and we enjoy a lot of repeat business.

“There are also many different avenues we are spreading in to right now too. We are working in partnership with other specialisms, for example, if we are working with a small business and they are not ready yet to hire an HR person, we can then facilitate this by bringing in an external HR consultancy to help them - they would work on an ad hoc basis.

“A good description of one of our roles is as a consultancy to the business - a bolt-on to the HR department; to come in, understand your business and spend time understanding your organisation.”

Would the staff member then work for you and you’d be billing the business?

“We are extremely flexible. We have day rated contractors that work for us and they could go in typically on a 6 or 12-month placement, working with the business, with us facilitating their pay directly.”

It sounds that this flexible approach is very much a unique selling point?

“Absolutely. As I said we provide temporary, contract and interim recruitment which is very flexible, meaning that clients can come in and buy a particular expertise for a period and we can facilitate this by making sure that they are put in touch with the right candidate who can deliver the right service that they require.”

Try before you buy?

“That’s one way to put it. We have one client in particular based in Manchester that we have worked with for three years and we make predictions each time somebody goes in to the business on a temporary basis, as they usually end up being taken on permanently.

“Now in some instances it’s not necessarily for the same role they were originally recruited for on the temporary basis, it’s a different position within the organisation. They always seem to recognise the potential of the candidates we put forward.

“We do work with genuinely great organisations that are growing. We work with start-ups looking to make that next move taking on their first recruit to recruiting whole departments.

“We also work with multi-national businesses looking to recruit individuals in to departments and we work with the other side as well, where unfortunately they are having to down-size and release people; we help them with redundancy management, and at this point we offer a consultancy service to support these candidates and ensure their CVs are in place and interview ready to go out in the workplace and look for new jobs.”

Which sectors do you currently cover, and are you looking to expand?

“We specialise in HR and Recruitment, Accountancy and Finance, and Supply Chain and Procurement. Due to the number of requirements that have come in over the past 12 months, we have decided to add extra specialisms to our portfolio - Digital Marketing, PA and Business Support.

“We do believe that PA’s are critical to supporting the executive level appointments that we make, and so important to that level of person that we believe they must sit in an executive recruiter’s portfolio.

“The role of the PA comes in two types. There is the ‘traditional PA’ and there is now what I call a ‘modern PA’. Over time, the traditional PA position was slightly taken away - where everyone was expected to do their own letters and correspondence, Email etc. In moving into my own first directorship I realised the importance of a PA.

“Executives are often not in the office and so need a PA to manage their email, desk and diary. It’s essential for any executive to have a right-hand person - an ‘exec PA’.

What are your plans for growing your own business?

“At the moment, we employ 4 people and over the next 12 months hope to add to that. We are promoting internally. We are promoting our marketing and PR person in to a consultancy role who will look after our digital marketing sector and we will be back-filling that with an intern or apprenticeship.

“We are also looking for another recruitment consultant to come on board with specific expertise in one of our divisions. This is all supported by the Business Growth Hub, ensuring we are a bigger stronger more forward thinking business that has hopefully doubled in size in the next twelve months.

Will you stay in Hale?

“I love City Centre Manchester. I love St. Pauls in London - I sit and people watch. We are all about people.

“Hale is a vibrant centre of business activity so, yes, we will stay in Hale. Will we have an office in Manchester? Yes, probably. Will we have an office in London? Yes, probably. Within the next 3 years, most definitely. Currently, we have a presence in those two places but I see Halecroft not as a huge but a medium sized recruitment business offering something different to customers and clients.”

You place importance on being physically based in city centres. Is this because you are a people business? To be face to face?

“Yes. It’s really important for us to meet our candidates. Our candidates today are our clients tomorrow - they are one and the same. We are a people business. We are passionate about engaging with the right level of person to represent our organisation. We don’t help everybody who approaches us, if we can’t help people we have a network to which we direct them - to find the right recruitment business for them.

“It’s all about being honest. Where we turn business away, it’s with a purpose. We also partner with other recruitment businesses in Manchester where people know I’m a good recruiter, a hands-on director not just giving direction, I also fill vacancies, meet candidates, take down job briefs, work collectively with the business.

“One day that might be different but at this present time I enjoy being the hub of the organisation with people learning from me and in turn, I learn from them. I’m always learning.

“I want somebody in the future to take the reins off me, someone who has an abundance of energy and commitment and is as passionate as me about recruitment.”