Congratulations to Steven Hill on his promotion to Senior Manager of our Reading office.
We spoke to Steven about his career with us.
Pioneering and progression
Career progression has always been a priority for me. One of the main reasons I joined Venn Group is because I felt it was somewhere I could progress. I’ve been given the opportunity to move to new places and do different things, which has enabled me to always keep learning.
When I was coming through as a manager in 2016, my first position was to work with Mike Range to oversee the team developing our recruitment services for Business Intelligence and Informatics in the NHS. It was a very competitive market and we took that from scratch up to 100 placements in the London and South East area, more than any other agency in London at the time.
After getting to a place of success with this team, we decided to start a team that focused on Education IT in London which Venn Group had never done before. I passed the NHS team on to another manager and started again from scratch. At the end of our second year, we had experienced a lot of positive growth and I really enjoyed the challenge of building it from the beginning and forming new partnerships with schools and universities.
Then at the start of 2020 the opportunity came to move to our Reading office which had been established a few years before. At this stage I had been overseeing two teams and was sitting quite comfortably, and once again I handed over all I’d built up and started developing teams from scratch – there’s a bit of a theme here!
Reading came with its own challenges. Managing a regional office was different to what I had experienced in London, so that I was not only managing teams, but also overseeing the administration involved in running an office itself. Alongside this, the challenges and expectations within regional recruitment are very different; while there are fewer agencies to compete with, we often have to find candidates for roles in less accessible locations.
Reading has been my biggest highlight. I’ve had to learn so much in my three years here and I have enjoyed the challenges. My managers have been a great support and we’ve worked hard to build something great.
Getting the basics in place
A good work ethic is a crucial recruitment characteristic, without a doubt; you can teach the market, but you can’t teach someone to go the extra mile. It also requires the ability to think on your feet. I’ve now worked in five or six different markets, and while the basic recruitment operations don’t really change whichever industry you recruit for, some conversations put you on the spot and require you to apply this knowledge and overcome obstacles within new areas.
You also need to have resilience. You’re going to get knocked down, you’re going to have people hang up on you, and people are going to say they don’t want to speak to you. If a call doesn’t go to plan, you can’t dwell on it for the next two hours, you’ve got to accept it and move on.
I would always advise new managers to get the basics right; trust is foundational. That’s something I’ve always had and something I hope my consultants have in me as well. If you can instill trust both up and down, when things are going wrong, you can get through it.
Expectations are also key. Every day in our jobs meetings I make sure everyone in my team is aware of the expectations and targets for the day, both personally and as a team. I don’t like things sugar-coated, just tell me what I need to do and how I can improve; I like to know where we’re at and what our expectations and targets are. If my team is having a bad week, I don’t hide it away from them, acknowledgement and putting a plan in place stimulates growth. This is the same when individual consultants or the wider team are having a great week; it’s important that all success is celebrated and that doesn’t always just mean placing candidates.
Stepping into success
If you’d asked me in London how I measured success, I would have said: what you are billing and what your team is billing. With experience I look at that slightly differently; now I put value on new client relationships and people returning to you with business and great testimonials. As a whole, success is about moving in the right direction.
I’m essentially hoping to make Reading into a mini-London. At the moment we have two teams that cover multiple remits, I want to get to the point where each team has its own remit. Next year I hope to open up another couple of teams and I’ll be looking for the people I recruited last year to start stepping up into team leadership and management. But that’s not the end; each year there’s more and more we can open up.
I’ve always got my eye on what’s next, so throughout this I’m looking towards what I need to build to reach the level of Associate Director. Venn Group offers the opportunity to reach these points in a way that other places don’t provide.
We also heard from Steve’s management team who have supported him over his career:
‘Steve brings a wealth of talent and experience to the Reading Office, over the past 3 years he has been instrumental in delivering the growth plans for this important part of our Group. Steve joined the Reading team in early 2020 which was a really challenging period for all of us, however Steve’s resilience and strength of character navigated the team through, leading them to the successes they are enjoying now. I am super excited to work with Steve, I am particularly looking forward to the next chapter in the Reading operation.’
Robert Bowyer, Director