I began my recruitment career in a small boutique agency, where I worked for 5 years specialising in NSW Government Recruitment. I joined the business as a trainee consultant and worked my way up to NSW Branch Manager after 3 years. After a couple of years in the role as Branch Manager, I was ready for a new challenge and decided to look into joining a global organisation.
I met with a rec 2 rec, who suggested Charterhouse who had a newly created opportunity for a Manager, within their growing NSW Government Professional Support team. I’d had a couple of friends who worked there some years ago, and enjoyed their time there, but apart from that I didn’t know too much about the company.
The first interview with my manager, Naomi Hanley, was what really sparked my interest in Charterhouse. At the first interview, she said she wanted me in her team and spoke about everything we could do together to grow the Professional Support Division. I could really see us both working well together. Throughout the whole process, she was totally transparent about what was expected from me and the challenges I might face. She talked me through the career pathways that were available, as she understood that future growth was extremely important to me.
Charterhouse have a 5 interview stage process – whether you’re a Trainee Consultant or Director coming into the business. This gave me an opportunity to also meet other Directors, the CEO, HR and my future team. This process (whilst it seems lengthy!) ensured I was making the right move and also gave comfort to Charterhouse that I would be a valuable addition to the team. On my first day I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the office as I had only ever worked in smaller offices, so it took some time to adjust to the constant buzz, noise and banter; which I have now grown to love!
Of course, there were many other adjustments, but this one really stood out. After almost 6 months with the team, I think I’m now in a position to bust some of the myths surrounding large agency environments.
“You’re just a number”
As Charterhouse has over 100 staff in the Sydney office, I imagined it would lack the personalised touch of a boutique agency and this was not the case at all. My background and previous experience were acknowledged and was provided intensive training when I joined (it definitely catered to all levels and backgrounds) .
“There’s no communication”
My Director, Naomi, communicated me with regularly throughout the process. From my first interview to my start date, (there were a couple of months in between) we spoke weekly as she knew it was a hard decision for me to move given I’d been in my role for 5 years. She understood this and was empathetic. I was invited and welcomed to team social events, after acceptance, whilst I was waiting for my start date. Communication was key to my decision making process.
One of my concerns with moving to a bigger company was that I couldn’t bring my ideas to the table. This couldn’t be further from the truth, I absolutely have a voice, we have fortnightly management meetings where we get to voice ideas we have for improving Charterhouse and their employee’s experience. Our CEO, Jason, sits on the floor with the sales team, is very approachable and he engages with everyone on a daily basis.
“It’s so bureaucratic”
I was warned there would be a lot of red tape to get though for sign off and approval of processes by recruitment friends from larger agencies. I found that this isn’t the case. There are definitely processes in place to ensure smooth running of the business, but they aren’t tedious, and should I need to escalate approval; the business is very accommodating.
“Larger agencies micromanage”
I’m a firm believer in treating my team as adults; trusting them and being transparent. It was crucial to me that the company I joined held the same beliefs. When I interviewed with the business, I asked a lot of questions around expectations of management styles and what support was in place if a consultant wasn’t performing. Something that struck a chord with me; was our HR Manager, Renata Bradnock, stating “If we need to step in when a consultant is under performing, we do so to help them, and manage them up, not manage them out”. This was another confirmation that Charterhouse was the type of company I wanted to work with.
“Large agencies are impersonal”
I was given the impression, that large agencies are impersonal, that it would be a cut throat environment, with little focus on the team and more on solo success. This is not the case at Charterhouse. I couldn’t get over how supportive everyone was. They genuinely want each other to do well. Consultants openly share candidates, exchange leads and brain storm solutions. As well as individual targets, I’m able to set my team quarterly incentives to celebrate their success as a team.
As we’re one of the top 4 agencies on the NSW Government Panel, our brand is recognised. Clients and candidates alike have the confidence that we can deliver; this means repeat business, strong relationships and in turn, it makes a consultant’s role somewhat easier. Although I have only been here short period of time, I have seen my team grow month on month and it has been very rewarding.
Charterhouse is also an incredibly social agency. With 100 staff across the floor there is always something socially to get involved in. There are regular events to get to know your colleagues from other teams, and Friday drinks every week on our balcony overlooking Sydney Harbour.
I am looking forward to a long successful career at Charterhouse and am excited about what the future holds.
If you’re considering a move to a bigger agency, but you've been put off by some of the negative comments out there, I suggest doing your research and you may be pleasantly surprised.
If you're interested in learning more about Charterhouse click here.