Eloise’s February 2020 News – Hijacked Blog – Team Takeover

Welcome to February 2020

I’m staging a blog takeover!

Obviously, you usually hear from Eloise at this time of the month. And, as a new recruit, you probably don’t know me yet. So, what better opportunity for me to introduce myself, than to hijack Eloise’s blog post!

Plus, because I’ve just been through the recruitment process myself, I really want to share my experiences with you from a candidate point of view. There might be some insights you can build into your own recruitment.

Hi, I’m Caitlin

Welcome to February!!!! How long did January take? It felt like months. I don’t mind January to be honest, lots of people really hate it. It can be a tough month for loads of different reasons. But it’s done now. We got through it and spring is just around the corner.

I have been a recruitment consultant at Vanilla Recruitment for just over 1 month now. I’m new here but not new to the recruitment industry.

Monday, 16th December 2019, was the day I joined ‘Team Vanilla’. It’s a funny time to start a new job. Many people would have waited until the New Year. But actually, the timing was perfect, and I would highly recommend not waiting and just getting on with it.

The recruitment industry is always quiet in the couple of weeks leading up to Christmas, meaning everyone had time to spend with me. Showing me the ropes, training me on the processes and just getting to know one another better. It meant for a perfect ‘onboarding’!

Anyway, let’s start from the beginning…

Who am I?

Originally from Corby, Northamptonshire, I studied Marketing at university in Nottingham. After graduating, I had been applying for marketing roles but wasn’t getting anywhere because I didn’t have any experience, just my degree.

Then, someone I knew mentioned a big recruitment firm with offices in Nottingham were looking for people. At the time I was wowed by the opportunities they presented. I could work with Marketing roles and use some of my knowledge from my degree, and I could use some of my other skills; sales, call handling etc. Plus, after a couple of years with them I would be able to look at working in some of their other offices across the world.

I applied and the rest is history.

Why recruitment?

I hear all the time that people ‘fall into recruitment’ and this is true for me. It felt right at a moment in time and now after a few years in the industry, I know it really is the right place for me – when you know, you know.

I absolutely love the variety involved with being a recruitment consultant. You always have different audiences to work with and have to wear different hats. I get to speak to and know such a vast range of people.

Starting out in marketing recruitment, I quickly moved on to admin and customer service roles when a position became available in that team. It was just a better fit for me.

Recruitment is a high-pressure role and you have a lot of stakeholders you are accountable to. That type of pressure is too much for some people, but I thrive on it. I am at my best when I’m busy, I really enjoy the intensity.

When did I know I wanted to change jobs?

There were many of occasions when working for a corporate recruitment business felt like it was more about the numbers than the people. I care about what I do, and my job satisfaction comes from doing a good job for the employer I’m recruiting for, and for the candidates I’m working with. The business was KPI led, which is fine, but some days I felt there needed to be more flex so I could deliver for my clients.

One day, this was more prevalent than ever before, and I decided to dip my toe in the water and see what alternatives were out there.

I had looked at a few jobs online and then ended up speaking to a ‘recruitment to recruitment’ consultant. It’s surprisingly hard for recruitment agencies to recruit because it’s their own industry, so there are specialist recruiters out there. I spoke to her about my experiences and values, and straightaway she knew Vanilla Recruitment would be a better fit for me.

The recruitment process with Vanilla

I had an initial interview with Eloise and Sarah Clarke. They obviously wanted to find out if I was the right candidate for them. But I wasn’t in a rush to change jobs, so I also needed to find out if they were the right business for me.

When people go for interviews, they can get too focussed on just impressing the business. They forget they need to be impressed too. Effectively, both parties are doing the interviewing.

For me, moving to Vanilla Recruitment would mean moving out of Nottingham, possibly back to Corby. So, it needed to be right for me. This was a big decision.

I got a good feel for the business at my first interview and was asked back for a second interview. It was at this point I was very honest with everyone that I need a few days to think about things, because it was possibly going to be a huge change for me.

Some businesses would have been put off and would have seen my stalling as a negative. Eloise understood and empathised with my situation. She appreciated that for me to be the right person for her team and someone that would stay with the business long term, I needed the space to check my plans and decision.

I do believe that asking for this time to think about things cemented the decision on both sides. I knew Vanilla was going to be the right business for me because of how they acted at this point, and Eloise knew I wasn’t messing about, I was taking the decision seriously.

We met again, and Jaimini who I would be working with also joined for my second interview. And the decision was made. I was offered the role shortly afterwards and happily accepted.

Handing my notice in

I see this with candidates all the time, it’s one thing applying for a new job, going to interviews etc but when you accept an offer and have to hand your notice in, that’s when it gets real.

For me, I didn’t have any reservations about serving notice. I get on incredibly well with my former manager, but she understood my motives for leaving. She was upset on a personal level because of the friendship we’d formed. It was sad but it was the right thing for me.

Then I had 4 weeks of notice period with a few days of holiday to use up. And that was it. The start of the next chapter.

Joining Team Vanilla

As I said earlier in this post, it was great to start just before Christmas when everyone had time to help me settle in. I spent most of my first 2 weeks shadowing people, getting to know them. Working with Eloise to learn the Vanilla processes and expectations. Working with Sarah G on the systems.

Immediately, I knew I was in the right place. The team are friendly, open and there isn’t a hierarchical mentality. I share the Vanilla values and the culture is positive and supportive.

It is great to be in an environment that is so collaborative. Everyone shares knowledge to get the best results for the employers and the job seekers alike. People at Vanilla are not scared of sharing, it is encouraged because it’s the right thing to do.

My role at Vanilla

I am working with Jaimini in our office division. I recruit for all types of admin and customer service roles across any discipline.

The employers I’ll be working with are mainly from across Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.

If you are looking to recruit someone for your team, or, if you are looking for a job move, I’d love to have a chat:

Caitlin Herbert: [email protected] or call 01858 898058

Working environment

It’s actually surprised me how much impact a working environment has on your day to day.

The office at Vanilla is bright, modern and uplifting. There are lots of fresh white walls and pops of bright pink and yellow and blue. It’s an inspiring space to be in.

I’ve not had an ‘off’ day yet but having the office dog around means that when I do, I can get him up on my knee for a cuddle or take him for a quick walk around the block to clear my head. It’s lovely having him around.

It’s also fantastic working with such a great team structure. In my previous role I managed everything through from start to finish, whereas at Vanilla I can concentrate on recruitment knowing we have amazing back office support from Sarah G doing sourcing or Jackie or Charlie processing CV’s etc. Everyone has each other’s backs and knows where everyone’s strengths lie.

We’re a team who are delivering quality rather than ticking quantity boxes.

I have taken some insights from my candidate journey into my professional work. I have also learnt a lot about what I value, and think is uber important for recruitment:

My top tips for employers:

  1. Working with a recruitment agency who are focussed on quality over quantity will save your business time and effort in the long run
  2. When working with an agency make sure you meet them at your office regularly. They need to fully understand who you are as a business; your values, culture people etc. This will get you better results
  3. Set out your timeframes up front so everyone can set their expectations. Know what dates you will be doing 1stand 2nd interviews and when you will be making offers. Don’t lose people in the process because they didn’t know what to expect
  4. Pick an agency to work with exclusively. It will keep the focus, avoid duplications and save time and effort

My top tips for job seekers:

  1. Doing your own job search is a faceless process that people often do in scattergun style without knowing much about what they’re applying for. Look for an agency who will support you in the process and can add to your confidence
  2. With the right agency you apply for less roles but the right roles for you
  3. Applying for a role with a good agency will give you a better chance of getting the role because you will know more about the employer and the job before the interview

Final thoughts

If you’re involved in recruiting for your business put yourself in the shoes of your applicants, it should make for a better outcome for everyone.

If someone leaves your business, ask them about what made them leave. It might highlight something you could tweak to help you retain other employees.

And… I have been asked to mention the upcoming LLEP Business Breakfast Briefing on 5th March 2020, 7.30am – 9.30am

More details are below:

This is the first LLEP Business Breakfast Briefing in 2020, taking place on Thursday 5 March from 7:30am at Leicestershire County Cricket Ground, Grace Road, Leicester.

The LLEP Skills and Careers and Enterprise Team and wider partners have been working on a new employer toolkit, Building the Workforce of the Future, which will be launched at the business breakfast. Please do join us at this briefing event, which has a focus on boosting the skills pipeline for businesses. You will hear the latest updates from the LLEP regarding skills research, and the Business Gateway Growth Hub will provide information on the latest business support and funding news. Come along and:

  • Get your FREE takeaway “Building the Workforce of the Future” toolkit, summarising how you can boost your business skills needs through experience of the workplace initiatives
  • Book a free support session with an expert business adviser
  • Visit our mini skills market place and meet specialists who can help you with your skills issues

At the event you will hear from:

  1. Fiona Baker – LLEP Head of Strategy, on what the latest area skills research tells us and how the LLEP is strategically supporting local skills
  2. Jon Egley – Business Gateway Growth Hub Manager on the latest business support news and funding opportunities available
  3. Four local SMEs speaking about how they solved their skills challenges and improved their business through utilising local talent
  4. Access Generation on the latest research about how young people look for work and how to position your business as the employer of choice

complimentary breakfast is provided with an opportunity to network and meet new contacts. The event is FREE to attend but places will be limited so please register now on:

Click here to visit the event page and book your free place.

Thanks so much for reading my blog takeover! Get in touch to let me know what you thought.

Best wishes and have a great February



We recruit throughout the East Midlands covering Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and the surrounding areas, especially Market Harborough, Lutterworth, Leicester, Corby and Kettering. We help people find their perfect job and match suitable jobseekers with businesses looking to hire the best candidates across our five specialisms – Sales, Marketing, Accountancy & Finance, HR and Office