Lucy Stokes: “There must be opportunities for everyone to develop.”

26-05-2022
Job seeker advice

That’s right; it’s You SCANtec time! Welcome to our blog series where we speak to team members to get the lowdown on their role and time at Scantec. We caught up with Recruitment Business Partner Lucy Stokes, who has been an intrinsic part of our FMCG Manufacturing team for close to a decade. We discuss her career to date, the best part of working at Scantec, and how the relationship between internal and external recruitment teams is evolving. 

Welcome to You SCANtec, Lucy. How did you get started in recruitment? 

After I graduated, I embarked on a graduate scheme for a major supermarket, which I unfortunately hated! I wanted out quickly, and recruitment sounded appealing, so I took a role with a national recruiter as part of their accountancy and finance not-for-profit team. Following this, I had a desire to explore a different side of recruitment and worked in the welfare-to-work sector for several years before moving back into professional recruitment with Scantec in 2012. 

When I first started on the FMCG Manufacturing team, my remit was to expand our commercial presence and introduce more finance, sales and marketing roles. Since then, my role has evolved to recruit a broader spectrum of positions in the food manufacturing sector, which, as a foodie, I really enjoy. It’s also great to have the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients, from SMEs and niche businesses through to large blue-chip enterprises. 

Tell us a bit about your team. 

We’ve been working together for a long time. We call ourselves ‘established’ because pretty much everyone is over 40, which was absolutely unheard of when I first started in recruitment. Older consultants were hard to come by.

Sara Frith set up the team in 2010, and I came along a couple of years later. I was followed by Tony Williams, who I’ve worked with for nine years now. Paul Bradley is the latest addition, he moved onto our team when I was on maternity leave and is our Senior Principal Consultant. I feel fortunate as we’re a solid team and know one another well. Crucially, we respect one another and get on well.

What’s the best thing about working at Scantec? 

I’ve always appreciated the autonomy we’re given. I’ve had the freedom to develop my desk, clients and candidates, as well as investigate new markets. Sometimes, clients ask us to help with roles that are slightly out of our remit, and we’re not restricted in any way. Additionally, we have a hybrid working set-up and can work flexibly around our commitments, which is ideal for many of us. 

What opportunities are in place to develop? 

From the outset, everyone is encouraged to grow and develop their careers. We frequently have the opportunity to undertake training and are supported in achieving formal industry accreditations and qualifications. If you want to learn something relevant to your role, you’ll be supported. 

Things have shifted since I started in recruitment. Back then, if you didn’t want to be a manager of people, you could only be a Consultant or Senior Consultant. Using everything I’d learned from previous roles, I was able to offer my opinion on a new competency framework that Scantec introduced that has opened up new routes for development for everyone.

Last year, I’d reached the peak of where I could go as a non-people manager, but a new framework was introduced with more steps that enabled me to continue developing and growing. It’s the same for all types of roles in the business, whether that’s what I do, people management, business development or research. 

Do you think people might be surprised to know that? 

Absolutely. Previously, the recruitment industry was set in its ways; you were either a 360 recruiter or nothing at all. I think the industry realises it needs to change if it wants to attract new talent. There must be opportunities for everyone to develop. If someone’s strength is working with candidates, for example, why restrict them or push them down a route they’re not passionate about? Instead, play to their strengths and develop new frameworks that allow them to elevate their career and become an expert in their field. 

Any predictions for the future of recruitment? 

From an FMCG perspective, there’s huge growth potential. We all got a bit nervous a few years ago at the number of internal talent teams popping up in organisations. However, the landscape is shifting, and we’re forming strong partnerships with those teams. It’s a candidate-short market, and if we feel that, internal teams who don’t have the same resources or talent pipelines as us certainly do. 

I think we’re on the cusp of a new era for internal recruitment teams as businesses are quickly realising the value of external specialist recruiters and establishing new ways of working together. It’s no longer one or the other. 

How would you describe the culture at Scantec? 

Friendly and open. We go out of our way to make people feel welcome from the outset, and because we’re a smaller business, we know one another well and have formed strong bonds. While we all get on, we’re not carbon copies of one another. Everyone brings something different to the table, which is refreshing. 

I’m part of Scantec’s culture committee and have seen many positive changes arise. The business is open to suggestions and discussions and will make changes that are right for everyone. We’ve done a lot of work around diversity and inclusion, which helps us become a better business with greater representation across the team and means we can assist our clients with their D&I strategies and goals. 

What would you say to someone thinking about joining Scantec? 

If you want to join a smaller, specialist business that enables you to learn about your market in an autonomous environment, this is the place for you. Large-scale recruiters are great training grounds if you’re starting out, but if you want to flourish and be entrepreneurial, a business like Scantec provides the ideal environment.

Find out how your career can flourish…

Scantec is passionate about finding and developing the absolute best talent for our business. If you’re new to recruitment or an experienced professional and want to learn how your career can grow at Scantec, we want to hear from you. Find out more or contact Andrea Davison at andread@scantec.co.uk today.