New Beginnings

Excel Recruitment’s Commercial Director Jennifer Maher on what it’s like to start new beginnings in a pandemic.
Two months into my new role as Commercial Manager in Excel, coronavirus hit. To say it was a scary way to start a new job is a fairly massive understatement; I had barely learned everyone’s name before I was no longer seeing them in person every day says Jennifer Maher.

Building Excel’s Commercial and Industrial Division was a project I was really looking forward to, but to not be able to go to all the meetings I had arranged with some very well-known and exciting companies made it far more of a challenge than I had anticipated!

Rising to the challenge

Over my twelve years in recruitment, the highlight of any role has been getting out to meet potential clients, spending time onsite with them and learning their business. This is how I have always built relationships with my clients and in many cases, has led to real friendships. Not having the ability to do this was something I was really going to miss and an obstacle I was unsure how to overcome.

Thankfully with the wonders of technology, these meetings have been able to happen, albeit virtually. To be able to keep some sort of normality while nurturing my relationships with my clients is a blessing.

“We are all in this together” has become the slogan for these times and it has proven true over the last few weeks. Clients have, at times, been unsure of next steps, nervous about what was going to happen and how long it may last. I have heard first-hand from many, that knowing they had our back-up put them a little more at ease. The knowledge that we would pull out all the stops to help them in any way possible gave them peace of mind. Many clients came to us to help ensure their workforces that were temporarily laid off were looked after, a goal we achieved in many cases.

The positives

Excel’s reputation for success nationwide in the retail and hospitality industries meant we were able to adapt to what was happening rapidly explains Jennifer Maher. Rather than lose our hospitality and events workforce, we redeployed them into other workspaces like warehousing, logistics, administration etc… while also helping out our clients’ employees by finding them temporary work.

I have always met with all my candidates face to face to learn about them and to ensure I put them into jobs they will do well and be happy. Now the ‘new normal’ means these interviews are telephone / Zoom based. A lot has changed in the past few months, but I’ve found people being more isolated means they are happy to have telephone conversations and are opening up a lot more in terms of their goals and where they want to see their future. This has given me more opportunities to steer them in the right direction, even sometimes in directions they may have never considered before.

Continuing to build

With Excel’s reputation for being professional and trustworthy and our extensive network of clients and candidates, we have been able to break into a new industrial division and place excellent people in various roles. Excel Recruitment has always prided itself on its ability to form new and lasting partnerships with clients and we still work with clients today that first came to us when we opened in 2002. I count us very lucky to have formed new relationships and partnerships during this time and I am confident the new clients that we have gained since the beginning of this pandemic will be clients we will work with for years to come. Going from beginning a brand-new division to three months later, having over 250 temporary candidates on-site nationwide across a large portfolio of clients is something we will be forever grateful for and I am proud of the team for rising to the challenge.

I am looking forward to the days where we can all meet again face-to-face but until then I count myself lucky to be part of such an amazing team of people with a management team who really care for their employees!

As this crisis lifts, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me for any of your requirements across logistics, warehousing, transport, admin, finance or anything else you may need.