Chris co-founded Intelligent People in 2002 with Doug Bates, after initially meeting at a sales recruitment company.
After 6 years’ experience in sales and then IT recruitment, Chris was a Regional Manager leading teams around 4 locations in the UK. Always wanting to run his own business, Chris decided the time was right to set up Intelligent People and use his vast industry experience to offer the best recruitment service to his new clients.
Chris’ role at Intelligent People focuses on leading the team to success, overseeing operational areas of the business, but also working directly with clients that need help in finding experienced, executive level candidates. Chris gets a buzz from the work he does, solving clients’ problems and changing people’s lives by finding the perfect opportunity.
Outside of work, Chris follows the investment world, enjoys cooking for his family and BBQing with his kamado grill, and beating Doug regularly at golf.
What challenges have you faced setting up your own business, and how have you overcome them? What learnings can you share?
The biggest challenge for me was in the set-up phase. I found I was juggling lots of balls operationally, whilst racing to generate your revenue and cashflow for the business. Once we had secured our first few clients and were able to build up our network of candidates within London, things began to settle down and we could focus on delivering great service for our customers.
Being able to multi-task and prioritise the endless list of things to do was the biggest challenge but I learnt a lot in the process.
You’ve been working within recruitment for over 20 years years, what advice do you have for someone looking to start or further their career within recruitment?
Throughout the years, I’ve learnt a lot from others. When I started out, I worked within sales recruitment and then IT recruitment to gain 6 years’ worth of experience in the sector before I decided to start up on my own. I did this so that I could look at the people around me, listen to them, learn from that they were doing well and gain ideas about how to do things better. I always challenged myself to do better, and constantly learn from that I was doing. That’s why at Intelligent People we put real focus on training and development, allowing those that start out in their career, to gain insight from more experienced consultants as this quickly drives learning and success.
What is a current problem in the recruitment industry that you want to fix?
I think there is a perception that the recruitment sector is very sales focussed, with poor conditions, long hours, and lots of micro-management. Doug and I set up Intelligent People with the aim of changing that perception – setting up a boutique recruitment agency that offered a great work-life balance, and the team were treated like adults and trusted to do their role well. That’s why we’ve been able to retain our staff and some of our competitors haven’t. Many of our competitors don’t value the same things, and I think that has put many people off the sector, which can be frustrating.
What are the values that drive you?
The values that drive me are very similar to those that we have within the business at Intelligent People. We’re a recruitment agency with a difference and this is because of our values and how we work towards these every day. We actively listen to our staff, clients and candidates and genuinely want the best outcome for them – rather than pushing sales for our own agenda. We’re ethical and considerate of the wellbeing of our staff, and constantly look to train up and develop our team to become experts in the field. I genuinely love what I do, and I think the team working here do too.
How would you describe the Intelligent People culture?
We love what we do. We take work seriously but have a relaxed and fun office atmosphere where everyone enjoys coming to work. We’re a trusting culture where we want people to take responsibility for their work and what they need to deliver. We support along the way but are careful not to micro-manage. We also reward our staff – each quarter we have a full day out of the office where we can treat the team members to a nice dinner and some drinks as a thank you for all their hard work in the last few months.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Outside of work, most of my spare time is spent with my family. I love cooking and BBQing with a kamado and getting in a round of golf with Doug when I can.
If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
Approachable, detail-focussed, competitive.