Making blogging 'live'... Guest blog #1... Take a chance on me...


As a follow on to the ‘making blogs real’ event a few weeks ago I am publishing some guest blogs.

First up is a piece by John Burnet.  Having now read it, it does rather look like I sponsored this as well as the event.  Clearly there are many sides to working with me and the time when John worked in my team we were successful, motivated and had a good time.  It would be interesting to get a similar piece from someone else in the team at the back end of last year when our backs were much more against the wall and my sense of fun had evaporated.

Take a chance on me...
"If you change your mind on, I'm the first in line
Honey I'm still free take a chance on me
If you need me, let me know, gonna be around
If you've got no place to go, if you're feeling down"

Interesting lyrics, but I’m not talking at the annual ABBA conference… like I did last year…. I’m talking about recruitment...

Embarking on a 4 year degree had a ready-made outcome for me - I’d be a qualified primary school teacher, in a sector where they were crying out for males, both from a diversity perspective but also to be a role model for a generation well versed to less than perfect home lives. Mmmm, what was that … genius?  Thank you, but I like to think of it as calculated.  Despite thoroughly enjoying university, teaching was not for me; the planning, the marking, the stress and the awful staff room conversations about ‘not football’…. there was something else out there for me. But what was it?

So many people say "I fell into it", "it just happened" but I wanted to add my humorous twist on things and when asked would say "I couldn’t stand being around miserable middle aged women all day" - however in my first recruitment role just prior to this witty line rolling off the tongue I realised I was in a room of 20, 17 of which were….

I landed in recruitment at a global IT Security organisation in an all or nothing, baggy suit, pick me I’m a nice guy with no experience, manner…. did I think I had interviewed well?

I had no idea.

I was face to face with the then Director of Talent Acquisition,  a lovely woman, who scared the shit out of me, and a delightful, female, prettier, 6 months-worn in the role version of me (let's call her Sarah although that isn't her real name - MD).  Going into this interview I was speaking with a bank through a crazily long, drawn out, impersonal process and had an interview pending with a car insurance in Cardiff…. £16k …. I could make it work!

Prior to this I had been rejected by an old school recruitment firm.  A big one.  A telephone interview, then a face to face, where I was thrust into a role play (weirdly using my hand as a phone) and subsequently told they liked me, but if they offered me the job could guarantee I’d be knocking on the door in 3 weeks, quitting.  At the time I was annoyed, now I’m glad.  Needless to say that I have never used them as a supplier in my career to date, as a result of this ;-)

Anyhow, it got to the point where I received the call and they had fallen for the whole act and hired me! They, took a chance. What a moment - I was joining a big corporate 20,000 employee company on a salary a lot better than the car insurance, phone monkey job in Cardiff! After getting my feet under the table and mastering the systems, the jargon, fluffy recruiter speak…. Martin became my manager.

Incredibly embarrassing, but humbling was/is Martin’s view on me - and I was strongly considering an “everyone needs a martin’ title….. BUT thought that may be too cheesy and a little too much bromance for one night. I will however, pay a short tribute to Martin, as he doesn’t know how much of an impact he has had on my career.

Although only being my manager for just over a year - I learnt so much from Martin and his style worked for me. Martin believed in me and invested in me and made me realise I was okay at what I did. He, took a chance. It gave me the confidence to step up, want more responsibility and want to drive forward a career in in-house recruitment. He was funny, creative and cared - and wanted the best for his team. Under Martin I got promoted, and also earned my next step in recruitment (away from the company) and my first step into management - of which I used Martin-isms, comedy and copious amounts of sketches to win over my team and create a great environment to work in. Being young and impressionable, I picked up Martin’s creative streak and used this where I could to overcome complex hiring problems. Martin’s love for coffee too, was equally as infectious and I now think I have a serious problem….

I owe a lot to Martin and hope I get the pleasure of working for him again in the future.

So to conclude if you are in that position, staring across the table at a baggy-suited spring chicken OR inherit someone in your team you think may have what it takes, believe, take a chance - because I can’t tell you how good that feels.

Follow John on Twitter @jrwburnet.

I have background in executive search and selection, headhunting and senior level recruitment combined with people and business management experiences. My focus has always been on the IT services, technology and management consultancy sectors on a permanent and interim basis where I have developed a personal portfolio that covers areas such as EVP, social recruitment and the successful creation of talent pools as well the management and leadership of corporate talent acquisition teams.

I am an avid blogger, writer, public speaker and traveller of trains across the UK.

Follow me on twitter @MDangerfield or have a look at for more details.