Interview with a Professional in Recruitment: Verity Stokes, Divisional Leader, Katie Bard
News Categories: aspire
What was your first job?
Don’t laugh… Librarian! For anyone who knows I’m not really one to speak in hushed tones (!) but I have always loved literature and making books fun for children.
Did you ever imagine to be undertaking your current role, if not, what did you want to be doing?
Not at all! I had never considered a career in recruitment whilst at university and I didn’t really think I was a natural leader so being a Divisional Leader with Katie Bard honestly couldn’t have been further from what I thought I would be doing. However, I did always know that I wanted to work for a driven and meritocratic business, so this company is absolutely the environment where I imagined I’d be working!
Which parts of your role are the most and enjoyable and which parts are the most challenging?
The reason that recruitment appealed to me was that I really wanted to work with students and graduates to give them access to high quality advice from an industry based expert. I still love working with grads and undergrads today – helping them to have a thorough understanding of the real opportunities that are out there and encouraging them to enjoy being in charge of their own career strategy. I am passionate about the quality of the consultancy and the value of our product and the hardest part of what I do is saying “no” to businesses who aren’t in the position, right now, to take the step in to the progressive employment market.
How do you balance your working and personal life?
For me Monday-Friday is all about work and Birmingham, I don’t put any restrictions on the times I work or the hours I do… but from Friday night the weekends are me time! (Oh and my entire team said that the gin helps…!)
What advice would you give to a young professional wanting to progress in your industry?
Learn to listen – this is your best sales tool.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years’ time?
10 years – this is my building time! I want to set up other teams across the UK sites and to expand our graduate division in to a truly national set-up. I still very much intend to continue to be client and candidate facing but more energy will be pushed to building and training my teams.
What’s the best tip or piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Find a specialist area that you really “get” and become an expert in it.
What do you enjoy the most in/ about Birmingham?
The diversity – Birmingham is powerfully independent and has as a fantastic range of cultures, diverse history and dynamics. I’m looking forward to us really embracing this over the next few decades and fostering that enterprising, gutsy approach that makes this city so outstanding.