Paula Rogers of Admiral Recruitment
Paula Rogers, managing director of London's Admiral Recruitment, talks managing a team of 65 consultants and pet hates in the workplace...
What does your role involve?
My role as founder and CEO of Admiral Recruitment is to inspire and motivate my team of 65 recruitment consultants. I take a completely hands-on approach and I am always
happy to pitch in with whatever is required of me, from cold calling potential clients to analysing a P&L sheet or making strategic investment decisions. I also love to be out in the business, meeting clients and candidates on a daily basis because personal relationships are what this business is all about. I am constantly looking to push the company to reach new levels, commercially, creatively and from a quality standards point of view.
What is it the company does?
Admiral Recruitment is a specialist recruitment consultancy servicing four niche markets: Catering & Hospitality, Pubs, Bars & Restaurants, Commercial and Medical. I established the business in 1995 and we now have a projected annual turnover of £12m for 2017, employing a team of 65 recruitment consultants and we have a live database of over 100,000 candidates. Over the last twelve months the business has grown by 12%, developing beyond our traditional niche within the hospitality sector to launch a highly successful commercial division, taking us into the HR, legal and the corporate sectors.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
In 1989, at just 21 years of age, I took my first step into the world of recruitment by landing my first job as a temp with a London-based recruitment company.
Within four years, I was offered a London franchise for Drake International, one of the largest recruitment companies in the world.
I ended this after two successful years, finding running a franchise too restrictive.
My burning desire was to be master of my own destiny so I founded Admiral Recruitment in 1995 and steadily grew the business.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
My motto in life is to ‘believe in yourself, get great role models, face fears and jump up after disappointments and keep going’. To be a great leader, I think you have to believe in yourself first so that others have the confidence and faith in you to follow. I’m a very positive person and I see every challenge as an opportunity. I think having a positive outlook helps the team to focus and it drives their energy levels and boosts morale.
Being supportive and understanding is also key to being a good leader. As a mother myself and from a large family too, I think it’s important for people to be nurtured and given the basic core values, care, drive, desire and emotional resilience to help them to excel.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
One of the key challenges within the history of Admiral Recruitment to date was the recession of 2008 but I responded to that by diversifying the business beyond the hospitality sector into education, business, healthcare and retail. We now face many challenges, particularly the possible impact of Brexit on the London recruitment market.
Sourcing great talent to keep our clients’ businesses thriving is an on-going challenge, particularly within the hospitality sector. We are fortunate to have an almost 95% success rate with candidates staying in their positions after one year but there’s no room for complacency in this business.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I am a triathlete and runner, competing at an international level and managing to fit a 20 hour training schedule into my week. I find it incredibly good for alleviating stress as it gives me head space and time to think. Having said that, I am hugely competitive and tend to channel my drive and energy into the business in the same way as my sport! I see many synergies between running the business and running competitively as it’s all about determination, self-discipline and single-mindedness.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have always wanted to be a high flyer. I would watch older siblings who had flown the nest return to Dublin, having gained great jobs in England and the USA, and it inspired me. I had huge influences from my mother who always encouraged us to go out there and be the best you can. A gap year took me to the States to work. I discovered there how I wanted my future to be. Au pairing for professional families and seeing Wall Street and highly successful families drove me to return home early to complete my studies, which I did with renewed confidence and a sheer determination to reach my goals.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I don’t like it when people are negative and can only see barriers preventing one from success. You know, the glass half empty type where an individual doesn’t see the opportunities there are in making mistakes and errors. Honesty is also very important to me; tell the truth and if there is a mistake, own up. Another pet peeve is lack of personal contact and too much reliance on email and text.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
My goal is to build a £15m temporary recruitment business and a £10m permanent recruitment business over the next three to five years. To achieve this, we have invested over £100,000 in technology, talent and resources over the last six months to support our strategic growth plans and to enhance the recruitment experience for our clients and candidates.
This substantial investment in senior management includes the appointment of five specialist recruitment directors and we have launched a new app-based website and invested in TriSys CRM recruitment agency software platform to simplify systems and processes for clients, candidates and staff.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Positivity is all-important. Believe in your ability and have the confidence to take risks. Just do it!
Whatever your bag is, stick to your bag; do something you love and have always done and keep it simple.
Get a mentor from the very start because you will also need to someone to turn to.
When I reflect on times I have fallen or failed to achieve something, firstly I try to accept them, face them, be emotional – upset or angry - and then I think, ‘right, what have I learnt? What do I need to do now?’ Running a business is a learning curve and it’s a long journey. I tend to be very impatient so my advice is sometimes it’s better to slow down in order to speed up!
Last but not least, for those tasks you don’t like doing, get people who do because, otherwise, those tasks will frustrate you and drain your energy, taking attention off your business goals and where you want to be.