Recruitment means different things to different people. For some it is a means to an end, a tricky stepping stone on the path to a successful career; others relish the cut and thrust, brinkmanship and pressure that it brings. Alex Hemsley sees it differently to most.
Alex joined Global Markets Recruitment (Global M for short) just over 2 years ago, and 3 months after the Company was founded by now business partner Nick Waller. A promising rugby player, Alex’s career was cut short by a severe neck injury, so he diverted his considerable energies into his studies, earning a Degree in Economics at Bristol, and Law at the University of the West of England. A thinker by nature, it wasn’t long before Alex began to recognise a need for change in the recruitment sector.
Global M began slowly; with no funding available at the time of launch, he began at the coalface, serving an apprenticeship that quickly taught him exactly what he didn’t want his Company to become. It’s fair to say recruitment consultants aren’t renowned for their soft skills; watching a recruiter trying to be patient and polite is like pulling teeth. Painful, and a little disconcerting. You can’t help feeling it’s not what they are there for.
Now, imagine if a recruiter had taken an equity position in the Company he was recruiting for. Most recruiters probably think an equity position is something to be found at Stringfellows. Imagine if your “agent” had found backers for, put their own money into, and become a training partner of the Company they were recruiting for. Puts a different perspective on it, doesn’t it?
Like most leaders, Alex has a clear vision of what and where he wants to be, and like most leaders, he knows how to drag people along with him until he has assembled a team that set the standards, and change the way the game is played. How many times have you heard it said that business is all about people? Makes sense, doesn’t it; what else is it going to be about?
So Global M have provided an alternative to the phone hammering, pressure sale, push-me pull-you, typical kind of recruitment proposition. They have soft skills. Their website talks about bringing “both empathy and understanding to the recruitment process”. They talk to you face-to-face. They’ll even try to find out whether the role is really suited to your particular skill set. I know! Almost makes me want to dust off that CV. And, most importantly, they are putting their money where their mouths are; they’re putting skin in the game.
Alex is not surprised by any of this because that is how he saw it when he first came on board. A “self-taught techie”, he talks about his admiration for Fintech and Creative technology companies, many of which he knows very well. Here, you sense, is where it gets interesting for Alex. When the updated website is released circa July 7th, it will contain details about the Tech incubator that Global M are launching. An accelerator approach, but with a twist; taking an early (from conceptual idea through to fully functioning) stage company, and giving them the means to grow organically, by providing mentorship, funds, and, of course, staff.
A change of tack requires a change of premises, and Global M are demonstrating their commitment to the project by deciding to re-locate from their plush, square mile offices. They have appointed a top property consultant to find them some office space more appropriate to their new, entrepreneurial direction, looking at spaces in Hackney or Shoreditch, which provide a more affordable, fun environment right where the action is; the thrills and spills of the Silicon roundabout.
Impressively, the incubator project is entirely self-funded from the profits of the recruitment business. Global M may be a new kind of recruiter, but they still know how to mix it! If the early years were tough, the business model has grown organically to become scalable and robust. Amongst the mentors and high net worth individuals giving up their time to help the Company are Grant Thornton, who will provide the framework for a government-backed growth accelerator scheme. Investment size will be small at first, injections of between 10-20k a realistic target, whilst Alex works on giving the business a more community feel, increasing presence at networking events such as Level 39, Wayra, and Google Campus. Probably laying out a bean bag or two.
We discuss Global M’s plans to launch a Swift Hackathon, a first for London. The goal is to bring together a diverse selection of teams and individuals and set them a task to solve, using real or “false” data, the solution to which will most likely require teams to pull a Facebook style all-nighter, with music, beer and pizza laid on. The algo-rhythm of the night, if you will.
Global M are the kind of Company that Tech City needs; a unique proposition in itself, the recruiter-turned-incubator, the acceptable face of hiring, on the lookout for companies that match their growth and investment profile. Staff who join a Company when it is growing can become part of the story, part of the culture of the enterprise, giving them the motivation that can all too often be lacking. Exhausted and humbled by the whole recruitment process, most of us arrive at our new desks already hungry for our first pay cheque, complaining about RSI, scarcely motivated enough to click the mouse.
Alex knows this, and a great deal else besides. He’s got vision, and the determination to make it happen. He thinks ahead. So where can you find more people like him?
Try Global M?
Alex Hemsley is Principal Consultant and co-founder at Global Markets Recruitment, previously semi-professional rugby player and motivational speaker at Taunton Rugby Football Club.
Global M is a specialist in technology recruitment and accelerator of start-ups in the communities across Europe, Asia and the Middle East