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The Jobs Market: Spirit Executive

By Publications Checkout
The Jobs Market: Spirit Executive

Checkout sits down with the team at Spirit Executive: Mark Burgess, Laura Naidoo, and Martina Byrne, to uncover just how to succeed in the recruitment game. This article first appeared in the September 2013 edition of Checkout.

Recruitment specialists Spirit Executive may have only been in business for three years, but such is the array of blue chip multinationals it counts among its client list, that the company is already well-established as one of the go-to agencies for executive recruitment.

The team includes Mark Burgess, managing director, Laura Naidoo, senior consultant, and new member Martina Byrne, who recently joined the team after 16 years with Reckitt Benckiser, where she most recently held the title of HR manager. All have worked at a senior level within FMCG and related industries.

The Spirit Executive modus operandi has been described as a ‘no nonsense’ approach to recruitment. Rather than adopt a scattergun approach to filling as many positions as possible, the company thrives on the relationship it builds with its clients, both employers and employees; an approach that has led the business to grow even during the economic downturn. 85% of the roles the company places are within Ireland.

“Everything we do is about getting an aspirational list of clients to work with, as opposed to chasing where the business is,” Mark explains. “You’re not necessarily chasing volume; rather you’re putting ‘value’ above ‘volume’. If you cut corners; if you try and drive quarterly revenue targets, you will fall out with clients and candidates.”

A Different Approach

Too much of the current approach to recruitment, the company believes, focuses on short-term gain: filling as many roles as possible with clients that may or may not be up to the job, some months or years down the line. “With Spirit Executive, it’s not like there is a big target up on the board that you have to hit,” says Laura. “It’s not about the numbers; it’s about the achievement of getting a really good candidate that is perfect for a particular company’s needs.”

For Martina, the experience gained in her HR role with Reckitt Benckiser is easily transferrable to this type of business, where relationship building is at the forefront of the company’s approach. “In this business, there has to be longevity; it’s all about building a level of trust,” she explains. “It’s about getting out and meeting people, and making sure they understand the brief before you put them in front of a client. We don’t deal with a slew of CVs; we deal with candidates that are the ‘right fit’ for a particular company. You can’t tell that from looking at someone’s profile on LinkedIn.”

More Than Just Sales

Mark feels that the role of recruitment should be considered more than just another ‘sales’ position, despite the perceptions out there in the marketplace. “I interviewed a girl for a role recently, and when we went through the potential industries she could work in, I asked her: ‘have you ever thought about recruitment?’ She said ‘No, and I wouldn’t sell insurance either’. Obviously she had sat down with a lot of recruitment agencies that had laid on their slick acts, trying to sell each role they put in front of her as perfect.

“It's important to add that there are a group of recruiters in the market whom we respect and who provide a high level of competency and ability. Over time, clients and candidates will realise who the real providers are.”

Spirit Executive specialises in going the extra mile with both candidates and employers; examining the culture of how they do business and developing candidates to fit that role. As a result, the company boasts one of the strongest referral rates in the business (60%). “We don’t pontificate,” says Mark. “We don’t sit down with a predictable PowerPoint presentation and talk about our process and how that fits with the client, we push for partnership and adapt our service and approach to their needs. It’s different every time. When you are working roles in the Middle East or the US, you need to adapt to many things including process and time zone gaps. Early morning and late night discussions are typical and necessary.”

Mark has the following words of advice for employers. “Our strong recommendation to clients and candidates alike. Partner with one or maybe two providers that display knowledge, reach and ethics and invest in that relationship, this is imminently more effective than dealing with a larger number of providers.” As Spirit Executive have proven, it’s an approach that works.

Spirit Executive is a marketing and sales recruitment solution specialist, placing roles from mid level, right up to CEO and board level within FMCG related industries. For more information call 01 663 0077 or visit 

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