It’s true that no one really has ‘recruiter’ on their list of dream jobs when they’re growing up. But it’s also true that sometimes we know what we want without actually knowing what we want, which actually ends up being recruitment all along.
See what I mean?
What began the path for me, personally, was my passion for real life application.
I started off really well at Wilson’s Grammar School – but everyone would drill into my head that formal education was the be all and end all, that I had to do my absolute best in class else I wasn’t getting anywhere, and I just couldn’t relate. Most of the syllabus was facts and theories that I couldn’t see myself using in the working world: it wasn’t about how intelligent you were so much as it was a decade-long memory test.
I stepped it up when it came to sixth form so I could go to Loughborough Uni and study Aeronautical Engineering. What sold it to me was my dream of being a pilot was one step closer to take off (if you think that’s the only pun I’ve got you’re mistaken) – so you can guess how disappointed I was when it ended up being yet another bums-on-seats scenario for three years of my life.
And if you know one thing about me, it’s that I hate sitting still.
That’s not to say I never listen or reflect or assess or analyse – if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be a good recruiter or even leading a team of them. I’m just a hands-on person, with a need to put things into practice and experiment – because if you don’t, then how will you know what the outcome of the action is? How will you know whether the risk pays off or not if you’re always sitting it out?
I don’t think you’d be surprised to know, then, that what I could relate to all those years was sport. As early as the Wilson’s days, I’d wait outside the tennis club after school for three whole hours to play a single game three times a week. Fast-forward to uni, and I’d give my all to anything remotely sporty, whilst gradually taking my foot off studying. Concentrating my ambition and drive on real-life scenarios where there was real winning and losing to be done and real partnership to thrive off was the making of me.
I wanted those on-pitch odds to be the essence of my entire career – and as I did some digging I started to realise exactly where I wanted to really make my mark.
The business world.
I got into the Business Management MSc at uni to finally sink my teeth into something I’d never really had a chance to explore.
Needless to say, it was my thing. For the first time, I was studying something I had a genuine interest in – I put the work in because this is my passion we were talking about. Business education didn’t feel like a chore because I wanted to give it everything I had, and I graduated with a distinction and marks that put me in the top 2% of my school.
The time came to spread my wings (do I still love flying? Where did you get that idea from) and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I applied for MI5 and got into the top 2% yet again, but they didn’t take me on. The other avenue I was offered was recruitment – and I’m not gonna lie, it didn’t appeal to me at first. I’d heard it was overcrowded and lacklustre, and are you really a recent grad if you aren’t being emailed about any old job with average pay left, right and centre by recruiters?
I interviewed at CD Recruitment anyway because I thought I’d put my prejudgment aside, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever taken. They specialise in technology, and the tech sector is so lucrative and innovative that I was sucked into the job. Through the years I used skills I’d only ever been able to exercise outside of the classroom to scale up the ranks of the client side of things – I was top biller every year, out-billing the second best by double the figures; I grafted my way into the big President’s Club incentive consistently for the five years I spent there; and of course, won Global Recruiter of the Year 2015-16 (not bad eh).
But I knew I could step it up. And so did Sam, who was doing some amazing things on the candidates’ side of the business.
We’d already got a taste of the challenge of helping disruptive tech companies land in new regions and lead them to a successful IPO or acquisition – and we both decided that to completely immerse ourselves in this world, to be conversing with the newest and best in technology and growing their teams exponentially, was something that required a fresh approach no existing agency could develop. The recruitment firms that existed, with their carbon copy structure and procedure, weren’t going to be able to keep up with the world we wanted to delve into.
So in 2016, we took the leap.
Sam and I both left CD, and set up our own business where we could evolve the sector.
Our company was created so that we could give new technology vendors an agency that mirrored them absolutely: the odds were against us, just as much as they were against them. Their challenges were our challenges. We were starting from the foundations and working our way up just as they were. And, just as these companies were true to their ‘21st century start-up’ moniker, we wanted to introduce the world to an agency that practices a recruitment rid of tradition.
It’s all in the small details. Even when it came to choosing a name, we refused to choose something that just screamed ‘bog-standard recruitment’. We wanted to be positioned as a team that shared a vision and culture as futuristic as the client base we’d chosen.
And there you have it – ‘Orama’ was born.
(Before you say using the Greek word for ‘vision’ was a bit basic, I’m half-Greek. Make your move 💁♂️)
From the very beginning just over three years ago, we’ve been all about taking the biggest risks in order to get the best out of our team and partnerships.
We stayed firm to the criteria of startups we want to hire for and turned away a lot of business that didn’t make the fit (which is difficult even now) to ensure we could provide those who we did partner with the very best expertise and advice.
It doesn’t get any broader when we’re talking about our (very) young internal team – every single one of the self-fashioned ‘Oramarites’ hail from different backgrounds, but every single one of them are coachable and agile. With new ideas constantly being brought to the table and ongoing personal development, we’ve all made sure we never settle into the bad habits that infect recruitment practices when things get too comfortable.
Sam and I honestly didn’t expect Orama to grow so quickly. In three years we’ve gone from setting up shop on our sofas to moving from office to office as we go from strength to strength. We’re hiring all over the world, and even opening up offices abroad from early next year (where first? You’ll see). We’re constantly on the hunt for new recruits to join the Oramarites, and have some amazing content to release as we make our mark on the planet.
So, yeah – let’s take it back to the first point I made. No one grows up with the goal of becoming a recruiter. I definitely didn’t. But what I did want was a challenging job in the business world that was less about theory, all about application and centred entirely around risk – recruitment was everything I wanted it to be.
And when the challenge became too repetitive, we switched up the game and made recruitment everything we wanted it to be. Recruitment’s that sector the wider public think anyone can work in – so we pushed it to the limit, wiped the slate clean and built a culture from scratch that no other agency’s experienced.
‘Seat-fillers’, in any sense of the term? Never.
I thought recruitment was never going to change.
Not at Orama.