Curtis Sanderson: “As far as recruitment goes, it’s a very relaxed environment to work in.”

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Another day, another You SCANtec blog! 

Welcome to our blog series where we have a chat with our team members to get the lowdown on their role and time at Scantec. We caught up with Principal Recruitment Consultant Curtis Sanderson, who has been part of our building control and surveying team for over two years.

We discussed him joining Scantec just before the pandemic, his recruitment career to date and why building relationships with candidates is so important.

Welcome to You SCANtec, Curtis. How long have you been working with us now?

I joined Scantec two months before the pandemic, so approaching two and a half years now, but obviously it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. Just two months into me working here we went into full lockdown and I was furloughed for a good few months, so it almost feels like I’ve been here for about 18 months, whereas I’ve actually been here almost 2 and a half years now!

How did you get into recruitment?

Post-university, I fell into recruitment with a company down south, which is where I’m from. I worked there for a couple of years, first as a Recruitment Consultant and then I was promoted to a Senior Consultant, but then I left to go travelling and ended up doing recruitment again in Sydney with a company called Constructive. 

When I returned to the UK I worked at a company in Manchester for a few months which didn’t work out as I live on the Wirral, and then I joined Scantec in January 2020.

Tell us about your team.

To be honest, it’s a pretty small team. I almost work on my own, because I joined Scantec originally to run their permanent highways team, but post-pandemic highways recruitment was quiet and building control was quite busy, so I fell into it - I’ve been doing it for about 18 months now. So I am like a little one-man band; then there’s my director Colin who oversees a different market, and Janine who does the Executive Search side of things. 

There’s quite a lot of us in the office who work in teams but operate in very different markets, apart from one or two teams where there’s a group recruiting for specific sectors. 

What kind of roles do you work on? 

I work almost exclusively on roles for Building Control Surveyors and Structural Warranty Surveyors. Essentially, what this means is that every time there is a new build or someone has an extension on their house for example, you need Building Control Surveyors to come out to ensure that it’s being built according to British Standards Regulations. That is in a nutshell who I recruit for - it’s all building developments, whether it’s housing or commercial. Geographically I cover the whole of the UK, but the job titles are very specific.

How are you finding the market at the moment?

I can’t complain! I’ve been quite fortunate with the way I fell into my role and the market I work in. When I first came back to work after I’d been furloughed, I didn’t really want to work on the new roles in a completely different sector, but after I learnt a bit more about it I thought, ‘Okay, this is quite interesting’.

I’ve had a very good 18 months - it’s busier than I’ve ever been before! In terms of recruiting in the market itself, I’ve mapped everything out and I’ve got really good relationships with my clients, and I’ve built a bit of a reputation with candidates too so I get quite a lot of referrals. I’ve got it to where any recruiter wants their business to be because the ground work is done, so now it’s just a case of servicing clients’ and candidates’ needs. 

It’s a very candidate-short market, so although I’ve developed good relationships with my clients, it’s very different to what a lot of my colleagues do - it’s almost like a ‘taking your candidate to market’ approach. This basically means I will get a candidate on board, work with them exclusively and then take them out to market. For example, I could have a candidate contact me in the morning, I get their details across to five of my clients, usually get them around four interviews and then maybe three or four offers. It’s quite nice in that sense, but getting candidates is definitely the hard bit.

That must be a nice experience for the candidates!

It is, I definitely prefer it. I used to do contract recruitment where it was high-volume and you’d speak to a candidate for five or ten minutes, then you’d speak to the client about them, they might get the job, they might not, and you just maintain it over a long period of time. 

With the approach I take now, you get to know them as a person and almost become mates with them! It’s a lot more enjoyable and you become more emotionally involved, and if you can get them a big pay rise in their new role it feels really good. Building relationships with clients is quite easy because as long as you’re servicing them and consistently providing them with great candidates, they’re happy - that’s why a lot of my focus goes into building good relationships with my candidates. I take a very honest and transparent approach so they aren’t getting a typical volume-style recruitment experience that they may have been used to.

Tell us what you like about working at Scantec.

It’s very different to what I’ve experienced in the past in the sense that you’re treated like an adult. I’ve previously worked in environments where it’s very KPI-focused and you find yourself making pointless calls just to make up the numbers which is a complete waste of time.

You have to be quite self-driven and motivated to work in an environment like Scantec’s, because if you’re someone that’s not internally motivated it probably wouldn’t work because you’d need someone looking over you and guiding you. To be fair, at Scantec there are more junior members of the team who are given more guidance - it’s not a one-shoe-fits-all approach. 

But, for me as an experienced recruiter, they recognise that I can handle myself and I don’t need to be micromanaged. There are still KPIs there, but you have the freedom to influence how they look - my director usually asks me to send him my KPIs for the month, so I am able to be realistic with them but challenge myself at the same time. 

I also like the hybrid working approach - I am actually much more productive at home because as soon as I’m in the office I am always having little chats with everyone and they soon add up to at least an hour throughout the day! That being said, it’s also important to be in the office sometimes and see people just to stay connected - if I was at home five days a week I’d probably get a bit bored.

Generally speaking, as far as recruitment goes, it’s a very relaxed environment to work in.

What are the development opportunities like at Scantec?

There’s different pathways for everyone - they’ve recently revised the matrix on it. Even for me as a Principal Consultant, normally in most places you’ve peaked - you either go into management or you stay where you are. But I’m on promotion objectives at the moment for a Senior Principal Consultant role, and there’s even more beyond that. There are plenty of options for promotion and pay rises without going into management if that’s not for you.

How would you describe the culture?

It ties in earlier with what I was saying earlier about everything being very relaxed and you being treated like an adult. Everyone is super friendly, and there are a lot of people who have worked here for a long time so in terms of retention they do very well. We do a fair bit of social things together as well - I was invited to the races recently.

One thing I think is good is they are constantly looking to improve the workplace culture and asking for feedback. There’s been a lot of change since the start of the pandemic and it’s still improving so that’s definitely something good to see.

What do you see on the horizon for Scantec as a business?

We are all doing very well, so everyone that’s here are all very good recruiters and that only creates a very good opportunity for growth. The opportunities are endless and with there being so much flexibility in terms of where we all work, I’m sure there’s going to be even more people joining the business very soon.

What would you say to someone thinking about joining Scantec?

My personal experience has been a good one. I joined at a volatile stage and I was fortunate enough to prove myself in the two month period just before the pandemic hit. If you want to work somewhere without the stress that usually comes with a recruitment role, then Scantec is the best place I’ve worked in regards to that.

I’ve worked in recruitment roles where I dreaded Mondays on a Sunday night because I knew the pressures of the targets and KPIs I had ahead of me that week. Scantec is different, and recruitment is quite a unique sales environment in that you are doing the selling side with the clients, but you’re also building relationships with candidates and seeing the outcome of that.

On each team or on each desk there are very talented recruiters here, so you’re going to learn a lot. As an experienced recruiter, you’re left to your own devices to an extent - you can succeed in a way that works for you.

What benefits do you appreciate the most?

Definitely the hybrid working. I’ve got a little sausage dog at home and he’s very needy and isn’t a fan of the doggy hotel we’ve taken him to! The annual incentive is great as well, we recently went to Marbella, which was really good fun. It can be hard work getting on annual trips in some recruitment companies, but there’s a lot of people outside of sales going here too which is great.

There’s extra bonuses towards the end of the year and you get to go on ‘team of the month’ lunches, too.

Find out how to achieve your dream career at Scantec

Here at Scantec, we are passionate about finding and developing the best talent for our business.

If you’re new to recruitment or an experienced recruiter and want to learn about building a career with us, we want to hear from you. Find out more or contact Andrea Davison at today.