Meet Gavin Watson: Delivery Consultant to Senior Consultant in 5 years

Author: Gavin Watson
Published date: April 8, 2021

I never really considered a career in recruitment. I started in Advertising Sales so had previous experience with B2B and dealing with higher management and board-level professionals. As there was some correlation between the two, I joined Cooper Lomaz as a Delivery Consultant. I was interviewing and the company offered me a position as a Delivery Consultant, so I started and began my recruitment career.

My challenge in Ad Sales is that your client can say no, in recruitment your product is both the client and the candidate as you sell each one to the other, and they can both say no. This is where taking the time to really understand what clients and candidates need & want is paramount to success.

It is a steep learning curve in a position that is always varied and there are completely different environments for people to work in and if someone wouldn’t work out at one company, that does not mean that they wouldn’t excel in another. Part of your job is unpicking a business’s culture and introduce people who would be successful working within that environment, and complete the job at hand.

Those conversations require me, as technically a sales person, to effectively not be salesy and then generate business through simply having a conversation. You just have to get comfortable with getting to know someone and then continuously learn to really be consultative.

In other industries, you can’t earn silly money by simply having a chat with people. But you can in recruitment. I didn’t go to university, I’m probably one of the few who didn’t in the company, yet I’m billing more than most because its about having that conversation and you can’t do that anywhere else.

I’ve now been in recruitment for five years and have progressed from Delivery Consultant, to Associate, and now I’m a Senior Consultant, one of the first points of contact for my clients when looking to hire, and with thoughts for building a team over the coming years. One of the things that I enjoy most is that it’ll never sit still.

Almost two years into the game it finally clicked and I felt like I understood recruitment and it took those first two years of learning everything and what nuances in each market to really build my success.

When working in a market like technology, there’s a constant evolution. So the skillset I was recruiting five years ago would be archaic now. One of the reasons I’m so busy now is because the employment market has drastically shifted and I’m supporting my clients through this time in any way that I can.

Other agencies find the market tough at the moment because they’re just trying to pick up any job that they can, whereas we’ve built and established relationships with excellent clients and can now offer a really consultative service.

On the back of this, you build a specialist network of candidates in a local remit, and you can’t specialise in the same way if you are unfocussed.

The great thing about Cooper Lomaz is that the company empowers people to take ownership over their specialism and encourage clients to engage with them as people rather than as part of the company. You are offered the chance to go into an area and truly own that space as your network without internal competition. Only by building those relationships in those remits can you really specialise and be the first point of call.

People buy from us because of the specialist knowledge that we have. Everything else, from client relationships to a candidate network, comes after as you have to demonstrate value to them, which is what we’re taught to do from when we walk through the door.

Each consultant is encouraged to run their own desk, run their own business, and we have business leaders who take operational ownership and invest in people so they can step up into senior positions.

As a senior consultant, I have the autonomy to do what works for me and my desk, there’s no micromanagement because none is needed. There’s a real sympathy from management that recruitment is hard, and there are certain things that you can’t control, but that’s okay.

The people who put the legwork into their first two years in recruitment have success. We’ve adapted our approach to create a healthy internal culture that supports the success of people joining the company.

We expect people to learn what they know best which is how to have a discussion with people in the right way and that’ll help your career progression. Once someone is comfortable on the phone, they can understand the market from the candidate’s perspective, and they can then relay that information to clients and build the relationship.

From the beginning, you learn what the technology is, you learn what the trends are, you learn what each person does, so once you pick up the phone to a client, you can turnaround and hold an intelligence-led conversation.

And my success is exactly from this process. The company equips every single person who comes on board with the tools to bill and build relationships.