It’s time to get personal
Your job is important. So why leave your vital statistics in the hands of CV distributors or automated online services? In the battle to find the best career move, Kirkham Young believes that getting ahead means getting personal.
Finding the right job is one of the toughest challenges we face in our professional lives. In the competitive recruitment market, companies play out an intense and ongoing battle for talent. In turn, candidates slug it out to find and impress the best employers. In such a combative environment, how do you give yourself the best chance of success?
Choosing an agency
The recent explosion of online recruitment media has added a further dimension to the process of finding employment. Yet despite the advantages this brings in terms of speed and accessibility, traditional methodology remains by far the most effective means of finding and securing the right opportunity. There is no substitute for human interaction and, to this effect, the benefits of using a recruitment consultancy that knows its market and understands its clients significantly outweigh the lottery of automated systems that match CVs with ‘keywords’ and leave the rest to you. The question remains, then: if you’re searching for a new job and don’t know where to start, what should you look for in an agency?
A good recruitment consultancy will have a range of attributes. These can be broken down into 3 Cs:
• Customer service.
Fundamentally, a consultancy will have a broad range of contacts and will be able to put you in touch with recruiting companies that you would otherwise be unable to access. It will also offer expertise in the science of recruiting and knowledge of your market and its current needs. Critically, a good consultancy will also provide customer service – an ability to understand the requirements of candidates and clients alike, and to communicate them effectively throughout the process.
A rare breed
Although the composite of the 3 Cs dramatically dwarfs the narrow capabilities of online recruitment methodology, agencies that genuinely offer all of these disciplines are rare.
But they do exist. One such example can be found at Kirkham Young, a dedicated healthcare recruitment consultancy that consistently delivers high standards for both candidates and clients. This month, Kirkham Young celebrates its third birthday. In a short period of time, the company has established itself as one of the leading players in the market and has already achieved preferred-supplier status – the modern-day Holy Grail for recruitment companies – with 15 blue-chip multinationals in the healthcare sector. So how has it done this, and what does it mean for healthcare sales and marketing professionals looking for a new role in the market?
“It’s all about customer service,” says Sam Kirkham, Director and co-Founder of Kirkham Young. “We provide a highly personalised service for all candidates who come to us looking to find work. Whether we are dealing with a graduate who is trying to find their first job or an MD looking for their next move, we offer an individual tailored approach. We take time to identify the aspirations of our candidates and then match them with the needs of our clients. It’s not just about sending people to interviews and filling vacancies, it’s about making sure that you’re trying to place the right person in the right role. That makes everyone, clients and candidates, happy.”
The approach is clearly working. Kirkham Young’s client-base continues to grow at an impressive rate and provides candidates with a huge variety of options. “We have a strong and diverse client-base,” says Tina Young, also Director and co-Founder of the company. “A lot of our clients are major blue-chip companies – around three quarters of our business is the direct result of the preferred supplier agreements we have achieved with them, and we are currently at tender for more. But we also have long-term relationships with a number of smaller, niche-market players as well as an increasing number of start-up companies. For candidates registering with us, you get access to a really broad selection of potential employers. We offer a real choice.”
A broad client-base
Such choice is a major attraction for candidates, and helps underpin Kirkham Young’s commitment to provide a bespoke service. This was certainly the case for Steve Mordecai, Marketing Manager at Respitronics, who had very specific requirements when he registered with Kirkham Young earlier this year. “Having worked in France and Belgium for over 10 years and been very flexible in where I worked, I went to Kirkham Young looking for a UK position in a fairly specific location to suit changing family circumstances. They listened to what I wanted and came back with an opportunity that they felt suited me.
It was very focused. Kirkham Young had the right contacts and, helped by a long-standing relationship with my now current employer, were able to match my requirements quickly and professionally.”
A commitment to high standards
The professionalism of Kirkham Young is underlined by its ongoing commitment to high standards of customer service. To reflect this, the company is currently undergoing an audit for the prestigious ISO9000 status.
“ISO accreditation shows candidates that we follow strict procedures for their benefit,” says Sam Kirkham. “We never send out a CV without first discussing it, we provide candidates with all the necessary information in writing before an interview, as well as calling them prior to it and beyond it to offer support and receive feedback. Things like this have been our procedures since the outset – ISO accreditation is just a matter of formalising them. And very few agencies have it.”
Further proof that Kirkham Young practices what it preaches is provided by Gill Platt, who had previously spent 26 years working as a neonatal nurse practitioner in the NHS before looking to make a careerchanging move to the industry. “This was such a huge step for me,” says Gill, now Territory Manager for Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. “I honestly couldn’t have done this without Kirkham Young. They were very, very encouraging and I’m not sure I would have had the courage to make the jump without their support.”
Views from the field
Siobhan Boyce, Mölnlycke
After I had already registered with two other agencies, Kirkham Young was recommended to me by somebody who I’d worked alongside at my previous company. They were easy to talk to and very helpful.
Our early discussions were about identifying the right role and the right environment for me. They quickly honed in on the best opportunity and within a few days I’d met up with my now current boss. Prior to that, they gave me all the right information on the company, whom they were familiar with. By the time I went to the interview I was very confident that I was going prepared. Kirkham Young is a very personable company. They offer a very personal service. I would certainly recommend them.
Susannah Cooper, Cardinal Alaris
I’d contacted Kirkham Young looking for a change of career direction, having worked for years as a paediatric nurse. Having chatted through my ambitions, I was offered the opportunity to go for a role as a Paediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist. The process was remarkably quick. They helped put my CV into a better format and gave me tips on the interview process, preparing me for what I could expect – I’d previously only experienced NHS interviews. They also helped me prepare my presentation for the second interview. They gave me so much confidence. I was delighted to get the job. From start to finish, from joining the agency to getting the job, it took only 8 weeks. I am so grateful for Kirkham Young’s advice and am not sure I could have got through it without them. They are honest, helpful and efficient.
A bespoke service
Gill’s experience exemplifies the consultative approach Kirkham Young adopts with its candidates. “At the outset they took a lot of information about my background and ambitions and, given my experiences in neonatal, were very honest with me about their expectations: I was looking for a very specific role in training, and opportunities would be limited. A few months later an opening appeared and an interview was set up extremely quickly. I got excellent service before the interview – they were able to get me answers to questions and concerns that I felt might have been inappropriate to ask at interview – and within a few hours of meeting their client, I was offered the job.
After this, Kirkham Young handled all the negotiations and really set me up for a job that I thoroughly enjoy. I certainly had a full and personal service from them. I felt like I was the only one on their books!”
Kirkham Young feels its commitment to individual customer service sets it apart from many other agencies. “We offer a bespoke service,” says Sam Kirkham. “Everybody wants something different, and you have to be able to tailor your approach to the individual in front of you, whether client or candidate.”
In the war for talent in a competitive healthcare market, recruitment at the sharp end is getting personal. And Kirkham Young is leading the way. To find your perfect job, call Kirkham Young on 0870 787 3134 or visit the website: www.kirkhamyoung.co.uk.