A Day in the Life of Fran Grant, Consultant - Technology & Digital Leadership Practice

1. Tell us about your background and your journey into recruitment. How did you ‘fall into’ it?

I graduated in 2003 and whilst considering my options I took a temp job with a small recruitment company in Leeds to tide me over whilst I applied for ‘proper jobs’. My role was to answer the phone and do admin, but they quickly realised I was capable of more, so I started speaking to clients and candidates. Meanwhile, I had posted my CV on a number of graduate job boards and I was inundated with calls from larger recruitment companies. I accepted a role on a Grad scheme with Computer People, part of the Adecco Group, where I started my technology recruitment career. I worked my way through the consultant ranks to Principal where I then had a team of graduates myself. After leaving in 2008, I set up my own tech recruitment business with a colleague, but I sold my shares a couple of years later to focus on raising my family – I have three young boys. I worked on and off over the next ten years as an independent tech recruiter, juggling family and work, until I landed in Executive Search in 2021. And the rest is history! I’m happy to say I have found my ‘forever home’ in Berwick Partners.

2. What does your work involve?

I recruit senior tech talent for clients across the Retail, Consumer, Leisure & Hospitality industries. My work involves expanding the reach of our Technology & Digital Leadership Practice, ensuring the clients we have served over the years are aware of our first-class tech recruitment capabilities. I also focus on attracting new clients. In addition to my day-to-day duties delivering on current search assignments and developing new business opportunities, I run a Women in Leadership and Women in Tech series. Through these, I meet with senior females in tech and leadership positions to discuss relevant topics, from juggling career & family, gender bias and gender pay gaps to the issues women face in the tech industry whilst they’re striving for a seat at the top table. I am passionate about not only attracting more women into the industry but looking at what must be done to support women and help them progress once they’re in situ. The gate shouldn’t close once a woman has been hired and that equality box has been ticked. There is still so much to be done, and I want to help shine a spotlight on that. Supporting women who want to have a career and a family (because why shouldn’t we have both?) and raising awareness around how difficult it can be, is a hill I will die on.

3. How does the Berwick Partners culture compare with that of the companies you have worked for previously?

It’s night and day. The differences were stark even from the initial interview process, which was thorough to say the least. Firstly, we won’t just recruit anyone, which is great. Our MD is incredibly selective, so I really felt I had earned my place. Such careful hiring over the years has clearly contributed to the culture of the company, and it is apparent throughout. After the interview process, the onboarding was massively impressive; so much thought and effort had gone into it, and I felt incredibly valued and welcome before I’d even started. The onboarding process isn’t just a box that’s ticked after day 1 or week 1, it’s ongoing. This had led to a tight knit group of the best-of-the-best people, and it really is the people and their individual, sector and functional expertise that make our business the success that it is. The culture is one of strong support, but ‘light touch’, in that we are all experienced consultants so are trusted to do our jobs and do them well. There’s no micromanagement here.

One of first things I noticed when I joined Berwick was that things are done properly. So many companies claim to conform to GDPR or perform reference checks/quality checks/internet footprint checks, but don’t. Integrity is paramount here, and such things are not box-ticking exercises, they are ingrained and we care – what we do matters. It’s the same with I&D – so many companies claim to be diverse, or to recruit from a diverse workforce, and they don’t. They just say the right words. At Berwick, again, it’s genuinely a core part of what we do. We do it because we believe in it, not just because we have to.

4. Compare your client-facing self to your candidate-facing self. Which side of the role do you find most fulfilling?

I love both. I enjoy business development and thrive on building new and developing existing relationships. I am lucky I get to work with some incredible clients and colleagues who I get on well with. I get immense satisfaction from helping with the more challenging roles and finding amazing talent who will ultimately go on to help them achieve their strategic business goals. Equally I love the delivery side, too: sourcing candidates for roles. Again, I get to speak with and build relationships with some fabulous people and helping them to land the role they want with a company they want to work for. Throughout the process, I get to know my candidates well – it makes it that much more rewarding, knowing how a new role will affect their family and seeing them celebrate. I have a great number of long-standing relationships with my clients and candidates – some started as candidates I placed in junior roles back in my early days and are now clients.

5. Is there a particular area of your remit in which you struggle(d) or fall behind? If so, in what ways have you or the company tried to mitigate this?

The retail market is challenging at present, as consumer confidence has dropped significantly with the rising cost of living crisis. With a predicted decrease in sales, some retailers are considering hiring options more carefully. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming months.

I do have full support of my company and am lucky that across Berwick Partners and the wider Odgers Berndtson Group we have excellent relationships with a wonderful variety of clients, so plenty of work from internal referrals has been passed my way.

6. Describe your Berwick Partners experience using 3 words.

Empowering. Rewarding. Supportive.

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