You Really Can Make Following Your Passion Pay
When Donna Stafford was made redundant from her job as a European Account Manager with an electronics firm in 1997, little did she know it would lead to a professional career in recruitment and having her own business with revenues of over £1m.
Today, Donna is a franchise owner with Select Appointments, the UK’s leading recruitment franchise, operating branch offices in Peterborough and Lincoln.
“When I was made redundant I responded to an ad in the local paper for a recruitment consultant. I knew I was good at sales and interacting with customers, as well as meeting targets, so thought the position would be ideal for me. I was interviewed right away and got the job,” says Donna.
Donna stayed with this large corporate recruitment agency for a few years before moving to a small independent agency. “It was invaluable to see the recruitment business from both ends of the spectrum," continues Donna, "I saw how a small business operates but I also learned the importance of having good processes and systems in place to operate agency profitability.”
In 2001 Donna joined the Peterborough office of Select Appointments as Executive Manager: “By 2006 I was looking for a new challenge. I had a fantastic five years in the office continually learning and helping to grow the business. I therefore approached the Board to ask if I could invest in the business as a franchise partner. I was absolutely delighted when they agreed as Select is a very well respected brand and I knew I had the foundations of a good business. I funded the franchise partly through my own savings and the company kindly agreed to finance the remainder through profits generated by the business.”
Since then she has not looked back.
In 2011 Donna took on her second franchise opening an office in Lincoln. Donna works with small teams of three consultants in each branch. “Selecting the right consultants for my team has been key to the success of the business. I have a great team of people with a good mix of skills, not just sales. Recruitment is a fast-changing business and is vulnerable to economic factors but you have to keep focused on want you want to achieve and believe in what you are doing. I am very lucky to have the support and resources of Select who have been in the recruitment sector for over 20 years. I am running my own business but have the back up and credibility of a well respected national brand.”
Today Donna’s two offices handle a wide range of vacancies from junior positions up to senior management jobs paying in excess of £100k. “Customer service is paramount. You need to build and maintain relationships with employers and candidates and provide them with an excellent service. Some people are skeptical of the value of recruitment agencies but I genuinely believe we provide a vital service which saves businesses time and money. Recruitment is not a get rich quick business, you need to be in it for the long game and this ethos is very much in line with Select’s thinking.”
What Of The Future?
“Prospects look very good for 2014. There is plenty of business out there and I will be looking to grow my team and expand. Select has always provided very good training and support to franchise partners and now that they have been acquired by Staffline I understand that during this year further training and support programmes will be added. I believe this is essential for credibility in the industry as being one step ahead of trends and legislation equips staff with the tools they need to do a good job. At Select staff have the opportunity to take REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) examinations leading to a recognized qualification.”
What Advice Would Donna Give A Prospective Franchisee?
“Recruitment offers a great career path for a franchisee. You have a rare opportunity to be exposed to a wide variety of all types of interesting organizations and learn about the various roles people play within them. The key thing is to be able to build relationships. You need buckets of passion, lots of drive and a determination to succeed!”