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Starting out, first steps | Distinct

I have spent 16 years in recruitment and despite every one of those years being with the same company, it has been a great journey. From working in an owner-managed environment to the other extreme of private equity, there is little doubt that the experiences over the years has made me who I am today.

The decision to start my own recruitment business wasn’t taken lightly, I’ve always felt you have to be 100% committed to something to succeed and until recently that wasn’t the case. In fact 3 months ago starting a recruitment business just wasn’t on my radar. But over recent months, pieces of the jigsaw started to drop into place and a fire ignited inside me and I knew the time was right to take my experience and launch my own recruitment business. Having led a previous business to being awarded 5th best small business to work for by The Sunday Times, two external investors believed I could create something special and offered their backing. From this point I haven’t looked back, the sleepless nights have kicked in, not through worry but through excitement.

Recruitment has evolved so much over the last 16 years. Whether it advances in technology, the number of people who operate in the sector, expansion of in-house recruitment, managed vendors, RPOs, the list goes on… One thing still remains the same though, it’s still all about the people. Whether you are looking for the right candidate, building relationships with customers or attracting and engaging your own staff. And that brings me back to why I decided to go solo, quite simply the people. Richard Branson says “Learn to look after your staff first and the rest will follow” and that is exactly where I am starting from. To deliver for your customers in recruitment you have to have the best staff and keep them. So I have a simple model, my staff will be my number one customer and they come first. Does this mean I am not interested in the paying customer? Far from it, through attracting and retaining the best in the sector we will ensure the paying customer gets first-class service. My point being, I believe to give great customer service in recruitment you have to have engaged and motivated staff.

So with the backing of 2 significant investors, who will be introduced in the coming weeks, I look forward to taking the keys to our new office in West Bridgford this week and to building a business where the best recruiters want to work. From unlimited holidays, flexible hours, flexible dress sense, profit share, share options, trips away as a company – not just as individuals, iMacs, and of course working with me.

– James Calder, CEO of Distinct.


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