Interview with Paul Mullins, Director, Strategy on his career from Loughborough Graduate to Director.
When you were at Loughborough university? 2006 – 2010 (one year in France during my course)
What did you study there? International Relations with French and Business Management
Where were your halls? I lived on campus for 3 years – each year in Falk-Egg (Falker-Eggington)
What did you like about studying in Loughborough? It wasn’t the studying that I loved, it was the chance to get involved in pretty much any sport available! I played football for Loughborough and some inter-hall football. Alongside Squash, Golf, Badminton, Cricket on a regular basis with friends.
Why did you choose that university? Sport!
Your favourite student hang outs? 5 years later I’m struggling to remember all of the names – but Hey Ewe and FND definitely left a lasting impression on me…
I’m not saying you didn’t always want to be in recruitment but I am guessing it wasn’t a career you had considered at the time so what did you initially plan on doing upon graduation?
I’ve always been very money hungry and my course was not very specific (unless I had plans to be a UN ambassador…) so I started researching well paid jobs that did not require a supporting education (Engineering, Medicine etc…) and recruitment kept coming up. After speaking with some mates from Loughborough who had moved into recruitment, I decided to arrange a few interviews with some known brands – the rest is history!
How did you hear about opportunities in recruitment?
A bit of light research and a few drunken chats with friends!
What attracted you to Investigo specifically?
Having spent 4 years at Uni, I didn’t want a classroom-based environment. I wanted autonomy and Investigo seemed to provide the best option here.
What did you think being a recruitment consultant would be like? How does the reality match your initial thoughts?
I thought it would be a lot of work with people and a lot of boozy lunches in glamorous locations. The reality; I get to work with some great people everyday – I even get to go on the odd boozy lunch in glamorous locations with great people. There is also a hell of a lot of hard work involved, but the rewards are great and it really is possible to earn the amounts quoted in most generic recruitment adverts!
In your words how would you briefly summarise your career to date?
A lot of hard work, but a hell of a lot of fun. During my time at Investigo I have been on company trips to Ibiza x3, Marrakech, Dubai, Lisbon, Amsterdam and Alicante.
You won Investigo’s Rookie of the Year in your first year with us. How did you achieve this?
I got my head down and worked my ass off. I learned about my sector and became passionate about it. Hard work, passion and confidence are a great trio for a successful recruitment consultant.
What do you need to be/do to be a successful recruitment consultant?
Be prepared to work hard, be prepared to spend time at your desk and make sure that you are a good ‘people-person’. If I told you that you could earn (genuinely) £100,000 next year, work day-in-day out with fascinating people and enjoy the epitome of ‘work-hard, play-hard’ – I just don’t know why you wouldn’t be interested!?
What is the best bit about working in recruitment?
In the first few years – if you are successful – you will be paid more than all of your friends. Following on from that it becomes about working with different people every day.
Carrying on from the above question how does Investigo pay a part in that?
Investigo has a market-leading commission scheme and has grown by 150% since I joined in 2010. Both of these factors mean that Investigo has been fundamental in both of these points. The culture at Investigo is also amazing – all of our reviews suggest that we have one of the best cultures in recruitment.
What is the hardest thing about working in recruitment?
The hours can be quite tough – but nowhere near as bad as Banking, Law etc… particularly at the start of your career when you try to prove yourself. Nowadays I work 8.15am – 6.45pm. There are also a lot of ups and downs. One day you can earn £20k, the next day the candidate changes their mind and you lose £20k. It’s the ability to brush that off and move on which separates a lot of Consultants.
What is your career highlight to date?
6 promotions in 6 years is something I am very proud of.
Paul s’ career progression culminated in being promoted to Director of Strategy in September 2015
How many in your team and what do you cover?
There are 10 people in my team and we focus exclusively on Strategy recruitment. Our candidates are the people that plan and set the direction for their employers. Do we buy a company? Do we sell our company? Do we move into America? Do we exit the American market? If we enter this new market, how do we price our products vs competition? How do we brand ourselves? All of these questions are the daily problems that my candidates will face.
In regards to the above what is that attracted you to build your market in this area?
My candidates work on projects that genuinely shape the landscape. They make a difference. My candidates are regularly quoted in the FT and other respected newspapers – I get a degree of satisfaction knowing that I made that happen.
If you weren’t in recruitment you would be…?
Probably helping Chelsea score some more goals.
What keeps it interesting for you?
People. We don’t work with products, we work with people and everyone is different. This can be good and bad though!
How does Investigo support and build your career to date?
I have moved from an entry-level Consultant, not really knowing what I was doing, to running a team of 10 and a P&L of c.£1m in 5 years. Without the support that Investigo has provided me with and the opportunities that have been created, I doubt that I will have had anywhere near the same amount of success.
Why is recruitment a viable option for graduates?
Great money early on in your career and lots of fun.
For graduates interested in becoming recruitment consultants what would you advise as first steps?You need to be able to sell and in order to sell, you need to be knowledgeable about your market.
Paul has a strong track record in both retained and contingency work for niche strategy boutiques, accountancy firms and the leading strategy houses. He also leads Investigo’s Corporate Advisory Search capability, with a specific focus on Partner recruitment within the Strategy Consulting space. If you’d like to get in touch, please contact Paul on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 20 3009 3438.