Hi Dean! Tell us, how did you get started in the recruitment industry?
I joined the Paragon crew back in 2009 as a Recruitment Consultant following my first career in Corporate Banking, having returned to the Island after a spell working in Jersey.
As we say in recruitment, sometimes…
‘It’s who you know!’
…and on return to the Isle of Man, I called Debbie Scrimshaw (Director & Co-Owner of Paragon) as we had worked together at Barclays previously, for help in finding a new role.
Debbie and Jo Wood (Paragon Director and Co-Owner) offered me a role within the business and the rest is history!
So you’re a part of the Paragon furniture then! How has your role, and the company, changed since you joined the team? (way back when!)
During the last 9 years (WOW that’s gone quickly!) my role within the business has changed and grown considerably, as has the business itself!
My early days as a Consultant were about developing my technical recruiting and varied industry knowledge, building client relationships and providing recruitment consultancy at all levels. Our industry, challenges and opportunities are ever evolving, and these activities continue to be a key part of my day.
The positions I work with can vary greatly and although they tend to be management level and above, it’s more about what works for the client. They can cover all manner of specialisms – legal, risk, compliance, technology, business development, operations, human resources, project management, banking, investment and wealth management.
Our clients are varied across all areas of financial services and some very interesting global trading businesses, both blue-chip and others who operate quietly.
Sitting around the boardroom table amongst Directors or Executive Committees to discuss the plans of the business and how that figures in terms of the people agenda is one of the most rewarding parts of my role.
My advice is based upon real knowledge and experience gained, not only in eight years of professional recruiting, but also utilising my commercial and corporate background.
Long term planning and searching for the right skills and experience in candidates both locally and on an international basis to aid the growth of our clients is also fundamental for our Island’s economy.
Sometimes my role is simply about sitting down with a client and giving them some advice about how best to approach attracting the best people for their business. Every business is unique and can offer something different compared to other employers even in the same industry sector.
Now as Associate Director, in addition to working as a Recruiter managing our Executive Division and account managing key clients and senior candidates, I work closely with Debbie & Jo with involvement in strategy, infrastructure and team management.
Over the last 9 years, have you noticed any trends or changes within recruitment on the Island?
From a historic concentration of roles within banking and life assurance, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the opportunities available from and within the Isle of Man, to the established and emerging industry fields now open to us.
From financial services to e-gaming, IT and engineering to fintech, space, shipping and film – in addition to the core services, there’s never been a more exciting time to carve a career in areas of interest!
Working with global brands, we are party to innovation, best practice and the war for talent – businesses on the Isle of Man are competing with global industry to attract and retain top talent.
The serious investment we see in employer branding, staff engagement and workforce well being, together with a more holistic approach to personal and professional development is generating interesting results, and a shift in both employer and job seekers essential criteria.
From the perspective of a job seeker, although we are seeing a candidate market currently, expectations of ability within the job search process are high, and much of our time is also spent in preparing and coaching candidates to help them to get ‘game ready’ for the CV, application and interview process.
Many individuals we see have excellent skill sets and experience; sometimes it’s just about enabling them to showcase this in the most appropriate way.
Do you feel employers are more flexible these days with regards to skill set?
It very much depends on the industry; some clients are not able to consider flexibility due to the nature of the role or business, however many are flexible in terms of working patterns, role capability, skills transferability and potential trainability!
As a seasoned pro, what are your tips for someone considering changing direction or moving to a different industry?
Preparation is so important – understand your skills, your experience, your achievements and relate them to the industry or role you want.
Find out everything you can about the business you want to work for and the people within it, and invest the time in qualification and research to give yourself the best chance to make the move.
Ensure your CV is the best advocate it needs to be, to adequately sell your abilities to the areas which matter to the business or sector, and finally make sure your online story is both appropriate and fitting – the internet is now your CV, not just the two page document!
Very good advice! People tend to forget about their social media presence in the pursuit for a new role.
So tell us, what’s the most random position you’ve ever recruited for!?
There are many, but in our line of work confidentiality is key and I couldn’t possibly comment!
And finally, we hear you make a mean cocktail at the Paragon bar! What’s your poison of choice?
It just wouldn’t be right not to mention the most important part of my job – the Paragon Bar. The Paragon Bar is my baby, and must be fully stocked for Friday afternoons to ensure the team can enjoy a Friday tipple after a busy week. Our choices include prosecco and quality gins through to craft beers – and on special occasions I get the Paragon cocktail-mixer out!
My own tastes are pretty simple – despite what others say. You can’t beat a good Cosmopolitan; it’s a true art form but not easy to master – many try and my taste buds are often offended.
Made with a refined vodka and appropriately chilled and served, then it’s our cocktail of choice – I can honestly say I make damn good cosmopolitans!