STAR Recruitment founder Nick Mcveigh-Crabbe (right) with business partner, Ally Robin
Crediting his hardworking parents with the inspiration for starting his own business, STAR Recruitment, Nick Mcveigh-Crabbe talks to BQ about the importance of clear communication, developing his team and national ambitions.
What is it the company does?
STAR Recruitment is a specialist property and construction recruitment agency headquartered in Edinburgh, with offices in Glasgow and London.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
As founder and director, I’m responsible for the overall running of the business and I also head up our property division, while my business partner, Ally, runs the construction side of the business.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started out in my career working for my family in their hospitality company before moving into car sales and then onto executive search. Having come from an entrepreneurial family, I always knew I wanted to run my own business so left my job working for a national recruitment company to launch STAR.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
I am a huge believer in leading by example; no task is above the directors. I also try to instil in our company a belief in remaining objective and to never assume. If everyone is clear with their communication there should be no confusion, disappointments or shocks.
I am also proud that we do everything we can to personally develop our team into better people. Everyone who has worked with us has said it is the best working environment they have ever experienced because we want our team to the best that they can be.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
STAR is only five years old so strict financial management has been key to our growth. There is a serious issue with some directors/owners putting companies into liquidation/administration which hits their suppliers and contacts hard with crippling financial losses.
We have also experienced some companies paying invoices late and raising disputes in order to delay paying invoices. I wish the Government would introduce legislation to cut this out because too many disreputable business people are getting away with creating problems for well-run SMEs.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
While it’s not always easy, it’s really important to maintain a healthy work-life balance, which is one of the reasons we introduced flexi-time working in our office.
Personally, I am a huge rugby fan, so I try to get along to Murrayfield whenever Scotland plays, and I’m incredibly proud that STAR is a Business Club Member of Edinburgh Rugby. I’m also a big foodie and love exploring new restaurants (dangerous for my bank balance, and waistline!). I’m also aiming to get my day skippers licence, so I can sail around more of Greece.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have a horrendous memory, so I’ll need to ask my mum about my ambitions when young! But I remember seeing how hard my parents worked to make their business a success and wanting to do the same one day. My dad instilled a fantastic work ethic in me from a young age, so I always knew I wanted to set up a business on my own.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I will repeat one of my earlier answers but people making assumptions drives me crazy - it shows a lack of attention to detail, organisation and common sense. I have seen too many problems created because someone hasn’t been proactive, used their initiative or been clear with their communication.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
My business partner, Ally, and I are hugely ambitious for the business. By acquiring Star Placement last year and recently rebranding to STAR Recruitment, we are in a position to drive real growth across the business. We want to build up our offices in Glasgow and London, increase our team throughout the country, establish ourselves as the UK’s first-choice property and construction recruitment company, move into exciting new industries and make STAR the best company to work for.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
It’s hard but try not to let your emotions drive your actions. Instead, make educated and informed decisions having considered all points of view. When you are running a business, you have to make a million decisions every day and I always follow this principle.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
That is an excellent question! I have received some great advice from family and friends over the years, the best of which has to be: ‘The three D’s of management are do, delegate, ditch’, ‘always follow your instinct’ and ‘indecision is worse than the wrong decision’.
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