Meet the team – Colin McNeil

Building, Construction & Infrastructure, careers, Highway & Transportation...



In this interview we are meeting Colin McNeil, our Divisional Director for the Infrastructure Division.

  1. What was your first job?

My first job was pushing trolleys at Asda. I can tell you, it builds a bit of character doing that day in, day out during winter. Good times!

  1. What do you do when you are not in work?

I get out and about with my family. Days out – any kind of fun stuff we can find to do.

  1. What made you get into recruitment?

It was kind of by accident… Scantec actually called a friend of mine for an interview 17 years ago. However, earlier that same day he had accepted a job with another recruitment agency. So he passed them my details, we met and the rest, as they say, is history.

  1. So, why have you stayed with Scantec throughout your recruitment career?

There are a few reasons. The first is potential. I’ve been fortunate enough to see the business grow so much over my time here. When you look around now and see the talent we have, the ambition they have and the opportunities out in the market, it makes it all very exciting.

Also, if you are going to buy into a company fully, you have to buy into its culture, its vision and its values.

  1. Surely you must have had periods which have not been as successful as you would have liked. How did you cope with that?

Absolutely, you can’t always be winning.

Let’s be clear, I have failed at lots of things in my time at Scantec. More things than I can possibly list out for you now I come to think of it!

It’s how you react that counts. Fail, learn and try again. You can never ever stop going. If you do, only then have you really failed.

  1. What did you do before you came here?

I was a graduate Civil Engineer but I quickly realised that it was never going to work. My job at the time was about computer modelling and it meant working in silence in a huge, open plan room. It was deafening. I had to get out and fast!

  1. What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you at work?

Well, in my early days at Scantec I remember our team was having a particularly hard day with our manager at the time.  Anyways, when they left the room to pop upstairs to do a little job, I thought this signalled an ideal opportunity to lighten the mood with my two colleagues. I decided to get up and do my best impression of said manager. I wasn’t messing here; this was Oscar winning stuff.

In my eagerness to give my best performance, I didn’t hear the door in the corridor squeak. Yes, my manager had returned, behind me, stood in silence, watching me at my theatrical best. Seeing my colleagues faces change from hysterics to abject fear in an instant told me everything I needed to know. My days in showbiz were over.

To be fair, in the most peculiar way which I would never recommend, it really helped our team spirit.

  1. Why do you enjoy recruitment?

A few reasons. Firstly, people. You find yourself talking with so many different people that it creates plenty of variety.  Secondly, if you are competitive, recruitment is a great job to get into – closing deals makes the job.

  1. What would you say to someone who is thinking of getting into recruitment?

I’d say that you should ask yourself about what sacrifices you are prepared to make as it’s not a 9-5pm job. Are you prepared to go the extra mile to make sure you make contact with that perfect candidate?

Are you resilient? You are going to have to deal with hearing ‘No’. Lots.

I think people get into recruitment as it sounds good but they simply are not driven enough to turn it around when they are not winning and end up dropping out the industry.

  1. What advice would you give to someone who was coming to Scantec for an interview?

Two things. Firstly, prepare. Show you have thoroughly researched the opportunity / company.

Secondly, be yourself. Far too often we see candidates who are very formal and it can be hard to get what we need from the interview. We want to see the real you.

I’m more interested in personality / character traits than their skills and knowledge.

  1. What would you do if you could do any job?

Oh that’s an easy one. I’d be a ‘Lottery Millionaire’. I think I’d be great at that job.


Thanks Colin!


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