Here is what one of our leaders Arjun Gillard has to say about his experience making it to Head of Engineering and Construction at X4 Group.
How did you start out?
I went to The University of York and studied computer science for a year before making the change to Archaeology, which I studied for 3 years before returning to London.
I have always had a job since I was about 14 years old and whilst I was at university I worked and managed high-end bars. I ended up working between 40-50 hours a week whilst studying to ensure that I had as much money as possible.
Why did you think you were suited to recruitment?
I have always been driven, hardworking and money motivated. I have always been able to sell, especially when I worked in bars and regularly won competitions for who could sell the most bottles of champagne or take the most money. My desire to always better myself in everything I do really helps for a sales environment as it stops me coasting.
Did you see yourself progressing to head of division in your first year as a recruitment consultant?
Before I started recruiting I had a lot of belief in my abilities and thought recruitment was going to be easy for me. I was actually quite wrong and did in fact struggle when I first started. In my first year, I was solely focused on learning as much as possible, placing candidates and building relationships with new clients.
The best part of year one was hitting the first ever incentive target to Amsterdam for a long weekend. Even though I struggled in my first 6/7 months, I had a good end of the year and really started to establish myself within my market and started to make multiple placements each month. This earnt me more money and I was able to buy a new car, more expensive suits amongst other things.
The biggest challenge of year one was that it took me 4 months to do my first deal and I really had to put the hours in. I was working from 7:30 am until about 9 pm most nights for my first 6-7 months as it took me a while to pick up certain aspects of the role. I struggled with multi-tasking within an office environment, however, I had a lot of support from the directors who believed in me which really spurred me on.
I was promoted to a full consultant in April 2012 after being at X4 Group for 4/5 months.
How did you work your way up from a trainee to head of engineering and construction?
For me, it was the long hours and extremely hard work in the first 12-18 months which is something that I try to encourage every consultant within my division to do. Putting in the hard work, especially in the beginning is what you have to do in order to become successful in the long run.
I have always tried to better myself and constantly listened to learn as much as possible from the directors. The hours got shorter as I got faster at the job and was able to manage my time by working better and smarter.
I found it extremely useful to find an outlet for how challenging the job can be. I regularly go to the gym and ensure I make time to socialise with friends. I have never stopped being motivated by money and I am happy with how my career has gone so far, however, I always want to do better. I am working towards becoming an associate director and want to be the first individual within the business to get promoted to that level.
How did you grow your team?
I started growing my team after 14/15 months of recruitment experience. I have consistently grown my division and have one of the largest within the business, across two offices. It has been a challenge to grow quickly but thankfully I have senior individuals within my team who are able to step up and assist with management when I am in a different office.
What advice would you give to 2017 graduates dreaming of being the leader or most senior person in a company?
Never stop listening and learning from the senior people within the business and ensure you are willing to work extremely hard if you want to make it to the top. You need to work hard every day and realise that nothing is going to be handed to you on a plate.
You must truly have a strong work ethic and desire to be better than everyone else around you. It’s good to still have fun so I would always advise on going out with your team or people within the business as this is also an opportunity to share challenges and get to know other people’s experiences.
Never give up no matter how challenging the role is. Thankfully with our training programme if you do put the hours in and listen you will be successful.