Jo Sweetland, HR partner at Green Park, won the IMA Consultant of the Year at last year’s IRP Awards. She shares with us how her 2014 has been and what she is looking forward to.
Congratulations on your win in late 2013—how has 2014 been?
2014 has been an exciting year for me personally with the arrival of my second daughter, Renée, who was born in March. 2014 has also been a good year for Green Park—we have grown our interim business that we are seeking new additions to the team.
You have degrees in geography and history, what brought you to recruitment?
I didn’t finish university thinking I wanted a career in recruitment—it was something I fell into. I was actually looking to go into marketing as a career and the recruitment company I was talking to at the time asked whether I had ever considered a career in recruitment. Fifteen years later, I can honestly say I still very much enjoy working in recruitment.
You’re a senior executive at Green Park—how do you all work as a team?
The interim and search teams work closely together. Clients don’t want to work with different providers for their interim and search requirements, much like we all want to do our shopping in the same place. Very often, the two go hand in hand. It’s great for the client too — very often they can call upon three or four of us, whether it be the interim consultant in their sector, the search consultant, a functional specialist or even our CEO and founder Raj Tulsiani who still likes to offer an opinion or two.
What is the biggest challenge facing the industry right now?
Technology. Green Park is making sure we are at the cutting edge of recruitment technology. Whether it’s a new position alert from an app, the ability to get an urgent shortlist over on the same day or updating your CV from your smartphone or tablet, we need to make sure that every interaction is quick, easy and effective. But the rest of the recruitment industry is some way behind and in danger of being undercut by poor-quality, tech-savvy start-ups. Recruitment companies need to have foresight to invest in technology, taking a short term hit for long term stability and gain.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self on her first day as a recruiter?
The main thing is to always listen. From day one you should be listening in order to learn about the job, listening to what clients and candidates want. Even now after 15 years in recruitment, I am always listening to see if there is a better way to do things.