The why, the how, the what – From Michael Hannah

Hi all,

I wanted to take a bit of time out to say thank you as I’ve had an absolutely amazing and quite frankly unexpected response since announcing the news that I have joined forces with Steven Jagger at the recently created venture, Maxwell Bond! A massive thank you to everyone that has liked, commented or sent direct messages to wish me luck.

As with any move in the recruitment industry, there’s always a few surprised parties (be it candidates, clients or colleagues) that didn’t quite anticipate the move.
So now’s the time for some good, old English honesty. There have been a number of questions with the majority of them centred around two words… ‘why’ & ‘what’. Well, why & what are words I’ll be using a lot in my new role so let me start here (for disclosure purposes – I’m no blogger although I promise I’ll get better so hang in there with me on this one 🙂 Let’s go with the most frequently asked questions:

Why have you joined Maxwell Bond?
There’s a lot to get through to answer that question, so here goes!
• Having worked alongside Steven Jagger for a number of years, we’ve always shared very similar values. These values not only apply to the world of work but also ripple into our personal lives. For example if you know either me or Steven, you’ll no doubt of heard us both talking about “self-fulfilling prophecy”, “1% growth”, “learning zones” or one of my absolute favourites “control the controllables”!! Sharing the same values as a business leader is key for me. It’s something that drives me when I can share my passion for excellence with others looking for the same thing.
• Another reason I’ve picked Maxwell Bond is because of my perception of the recruitment industry in its current state. It’s frustrating to say, but unfortunately recruitment has moved into an era of quick wins, short-term relationships, KPI’s and the ever-scarce customer service. I’ve joined a business that is built around “making people matter”. An ethos like this will in effect help me feel like I can make a difference and challenge the status quo, shake up the industry you could say! I’ll be focused on developing, nurturing and growing relationships with professionals that are serious about applying positive change in their career – making a positive difference means a lot to me.
• Obviously a huge reason I’ve joined is to be part of something special. To be part of something new and help it grow into something I’m proud of. To work with someone I consider a mentor on a side-by-side basis whilst we build what we believe to be a “best in class” business, means I can look back on my career 10 years from now and know I took a leap of faith for the right reasons. Those reasons being centralised around integrity, honesty and generally just being a good person in an ever so “wolf-esque” industry.

Another of the questions that seemed to pop up a few times was this: What’s so different about Maxwell Bond?
Now this is the part I’ve had to make sure I get right, after all – I’m 50% of the business representation! Well, we are built on some core but key principles;
• Recruitment delivery coupled with excellent customer service – Despite my career at Maxwell Bond still in its early infancy and having a to do list as long as my arm on a daily basis, I’ve not let that stop me continue to deliver the high level of service I’ve always enjoyed with my contacts. Interestingly, I’ve already had my first recommendation of service after just 1 week
• Genuinely care about people – For anyone that has been a client, candidate, colleague, friend or family member of mine then they know I genuinely care about them as individuals – I’m a caring guy after all! Sometimes this may mean helping others with no promise of a return, but I believe in helping people by doing the right thing.
• Develop long-term, mutually beneficial relationships – I’ve always taken pride in building long term relationships with both clients & candidates (which regularly become one at times) and completely avoiding the ‘quick wins’ which seems so common in my industry. This has come from my belief of genuinely caring about people which is also represented by Maxwell Bond.
• Be the best at everything we do – What else?! We haven’t set out to be average, we have set our minimum standards towards excellence and want to live up to the high standards the brand represents. A quote I came across online encapsulates this really well for me:

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs.

Hopefully this has answered a lot of the questions you’ve all be asking. I’ve joined somewhere that has made me feel like my career and development matters. My goal for the next part of my recruitment journey is to make a difference and build relationships with like-minded professionals who have the same aspirations about their development and progression. That could apply to candidates looking for a change, a client looking for help and support, or collaborating with people who look to make a difference in other people’s lives.

I’d love to hear from anyone who believes they can offer me any support or guidance as I settle into my new position and continue on my journey, the help as always would be extremely welcome.

Miracles don’t happen without a bit of hard-work and preparation 🙂

“When you are young, work to learn, not to earn” – Robert Kiyosaki

For anyone who has already asked for my details, thinking of asking for them or simply interested in what I’m all about and what Maxwell Bond can do for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch – 07802 847 396 or Michael.hannah@maxwellbond.co.uk

Looking forward to hearing from you all!
Michael Hannah

Recruitment isn’t broken; you’re just not using it right!

I’ve recently come across numerous articles and updates on LinkedIn calling out recruiters for poor practices, bad or outright rude behaviour. It’s comical when the usual suspects jump on the comments trying to justify some of the more ridiculous practices. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe all LinkedIn updates calling out recruiters are correct but on most I shake my head, think to myself how is this still happening, who’s training these people and then crack on making a difference. Now I’m not talking about the ones that are human errors, genuine mistakes or even juniors that don’t know better. Overall, I feel we should at least listen to our audience, see if we need to adapt and if so, look into how we can prevent this happening again i.e. moving forward.

“A smart man learns by his mistakes, a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

That being said, I’ve recently noticed a comment that “all recruitment is broken”. This was from someone who uses recruiters to hire people into their business and that comment couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, not every single recruitment business out there is great and let’s be frank, there are some pretty poor ones, but that’s the same in every industry. Vodafone is publicly getting a kicking at the moment with a £4.6 million fine for allegedly having poor customer service. Does that mean every phone company is the same?….maybe a bad example ;). I’ve also seen comments about automating all recruitment practices making them redundant “The Recruitment Industry to die in 2018”. I believe Zeynep Tufekci put it best in her latest TED talk (see here); where Zeynep talks about the issues when using automating hiring systems and how taking away the human element could cause huge, unforeseen issues.

“We cannot outsource our moral responsibilities to machines, we must hold on ever tighter to human values and human ethics.”

What a lot of people don’t realise is that most recruiters know the value of recruiters and use recruiters to recruit recruiters…..Wow, that’s a lot of recruiters! If you genuinely hate recruiters (I know a few) I’d suggest never moving into rec to rec.

So why do recruiters use recruiters, you may well ask? We know recruitment is about RELATIONSHIPS and recruiters who specialise solely in this field will naturally have a better network of PEOPLE, therefore improving their odds of acquiring a suitable person. Additionally, we only have to pay recruiters when they have been successful; it’s a free service until they find someone! Recruiters know that PEOPLE are the main reason why a business succeeds or fails and we want to increase our odds of hiring the best PEOPLE by using rec to rec’s, no brainer right?

So IF you’re feeling ALL recruitment is broken, chances are you’re just not using it properly. Those that think this way often adhere to the old adage, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. Regardless of what you think you can do to change a person’s mind-set in this situation, you’re very unlikely to win because they will continue to think that recruitment is broken; taking ZERO responsibility that they could actually be the thing stopping it from working in the first place.

There are however people out there who DO want to change. I’ve recently started working with a new client who has been struggling to find 3 different & difficult IT positions despite using 3 recruiters and using the businesses standard recruitment process. Upon approaching them, they felt that the recruitment process is broken and they just wanted to send me over a job specification for the different positions. I asked them to change their process for the positions/roles, to trust me and meet me tomorrow to discuss further. They were open to change as luckily it’s a business that has been recommended to speak to me as they’ve struggled, so they listened. On 1 role they went from receiving 36 cv’s, booking only 4 interviews (3 candidates dropped out), 0 placements over a 4 month period using their last process to 5 cv’s, 5 interviews and 1 offer in 3 weeks from using mine.

How can that be? Surely all recruiters are the same? Where did I deliver when the other 3 recruiters failed? Luck? I’d love to say I delivered over and above other recruiters because I’ve been born with a natural talent and I’m known within the industry as the Clark Kent of recruitment because of my speed and physique, but that’s not the case. Hard work, a respect for other people and listening are some of the minimum requirements. I delivered because the recruitment business was open to changing a broken system!

Maxwell Bond has been created because we believe that people matter and we believe in doing everything in our power to ensure we make a difference to people’s lives. We do this by hiring the right people; enabling them to operate in a healthy, flexible working environment and help them focus solely on being the best and making a difference to others. We just happen to be in digital & IT recruitment. So if you’re feeling your IT recruitment is broken, you genuinely want to improve, change and enhance you’re recruitment campaigns, get in touch and we’ll help you.

N.B I use Vodafone and I’m quite happy with their service, maybe I’m just one of the lucky ones?

“The will must be stronger than the skill.”

I cannot believe we’re 1 week away from completing our first month being established as Maxwell Bond. It’s been a truly tremendous start, with a steep learning curve – I would never have thought it would be so difficult to get 2 pictures put up in the office. I had an epic fail moment putting 4 holes in the wall, then paying £25 for a handyman to put 2 pictures up!!!! Someone should look into recruiting these people….

The response has been great, people have genuinely wanted to help myself and Mike progress. We’ve had ex clients, candidates, HR Managers, Recruitment Directors/Managers or ex colleagues get in touch and offer guidance, support and help. In what is often painted as a cut throat industry, it’s great to see so much humanity.

For those who’ve been following us, please find the finishing touches of Maxwell Bond’s first office. There’s just one thing left to add which I’ll get to at the end of this post. 

1-more-space

 

 

Firstly, I wanted to talk through the layout from left to right. With the pictures we have:

·        Conor McGregor – The loud, confident, brash UFC x2 weight World Champion fighter. Similar to recruitment, he’s perceived as being extravagant and cocky but if you look deeper into his life, you learn he’s dedicated his entire life to his craft, making it look simple. He also helped Ireland win a nationwide vote on legalizing same-sex marriage, voicing his support by stating –

“We’re all human here at the end of the day – regardless of colour, gender, sexuality… we all deserve the same rights.”

With these views, from someone who believes in hard work above all else…what’s not to love?

·        Tony Robbins – The self-help author, businessman and philanthropist. Tony has overcome poverty, disease, abuse and all odds to become a multi-millionaire who now helps people all around the world. Tony has allegedly helped celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Clinton, Hugh Jackman & Mother Theresa. If Maxwell Bond can hope to help people aspire as much as Tony does, we’re doing a great job.

·        Ryan Reynolds – You have to have humour thrown into life and who better than Deadpool himself!. Deadpool is constantly having things thrown at him which would kill a normal human being but as he can heal himself, he makes a laugh out of the situation. Recruitment is an emotional roller coaster, not everyone will agree with you and there are critics out there who don’t want you around regardless of the good you do. Remember, it’s not fatal, have fun and move on!

·        Muhammad Ali – Who else? His quote pretty much sums it up for me;

“Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

The self-help cabinet: I’m an avid believer that leaders are readers. Life is all about growth, we should always look to grow & develop ourselves. At Maxwell Bond we have a number of books available for people to continuously improve. I also believe “motion creates emotion”, so we also allow our staff to have longer lunch breaks to work out their frustrations
at the gym (I’ve already broke the punch bag at the gym).

With that comes healthy living & eating hence the fruit. There’s also the lovely Bonsai Tree which allegedly helps relieve stress, fight fatigue, whilst also cleaning and purifying the air. You may not believe in all of this and I’m not entirely certain I do but if we’re looking to improve every little bit of our people’s lives, surely that in itself will become a self-fulfilling prophecy meaning our people will in turn, give back too.

With the tremendous start we’ve had, exceeding all projections, we’re now looking to add our 2nd team member. If you like the look of the above and want to join us on the journey of changing IT recruitment for the better, please get in touch! We’d love to hear from you!

New beginnings, excessively long contracts and “will you stop going on.”

With the official launch of Maxwell Bond happening this week, I’ve been overwhelmed by the flood of messages coming through from old, existing and new friends/colleagues/contacts asking about my new venture. I thought after my 1st week as a shiny new IT recruitment business owner – this would be the perfect time to tell everybody what they wanted to know!

It’s been an anxious journey for me because I’m not the sort of person who likes talking about myself and of course this is absolutely vital when starting out any sort of business venture. I suppose a lot of people can empathise with this as I expect it comes from growing up in Oldham, where too much self-promotion is greeted with a swift clip over the head coupled with a hearty “oh will you stop going on, no one cares”, usually from one of the lads. Despite this, I’ve been truly astonished at how many people have gone out of their way to wish me well and get back in touch once they’ve heard about what I’m trying to do. It’s been really refreshing & invigorating to hear from so many say things like “good on you” or “about bloody time” and my favourite “you’ll smash it.”

One thing I’m forever preaching to my consultants is about the continuous improvements and how just 1% improvement today will compound into a huge improvement in the future. This actually got me thinking about all of the things I’ve had to improve on to even get this thing off the ground. When you start to run a business alone, it can be daunting how much you have to do. Over the last few weeks I’ve learnt & done everything from;

  • IT – looking at domain names, sorting out email addresses and integrating CRM systems.
  • Marketing – “what’s the message” of Maxwell Bond my good friend Daniel Day shouted at me when I told him I was thinking of starting up.
  • HR & Finance – what do I want my terms of business, employment hand book and contract to look like and what impact will IR35 make on little old me.
  • Sales – What’s my elevator pitch? Why would someone pick me and my business over the umpteen hundred other businesses out there.
  • Cleaner – emptying the bins, cleaning the desk, figuring out where the hell the recycling is in the building.
  • Contracts – Oh the contracts… Figuring out why the hell there are they always at least 10+ pages, whether it’s signing up to CRM’s, Job sites, banking & invoicing or accounting systems!

One of my aim’s with this new adventure is to try and share as much of the journey with my network as I possibly can. It’s thanks to a lot of you that I’m here and it will be thanks to even more of you if I stay! I thought I’d compile a list of some of my favourite FAQs from the last week about my start-up business;

1.      Why have you decided to set up when you’ve only just had a baby, are you mental?

Hopefully not 🙂  Having the birth of my daughter Alice in April really put things into perspective. Since I’ve been 16 years old I’ve always said I wanted to run my own business but I never knew in what industry. I still remember reading James Caan’s bio on how and why he came up with & established Alexander Mann. From his book I decided recruitment might just be for me and I’ll run my own recruitment business when I’ve gained some experience.

However, when I finally gained the experience I became comfortable in leadership roles running successful IT Recruitment teams. I kept thinking do I really want to go through the pain of all of the above, on my own, when I’m doing ok? That all changed when Alice was born, it gave me a much needed kick. I thought

“How could I, as a father, tell my daughter to pursue her dreams if I didn’t chase one of mine?”

2. What separates you from the competition? Isn’t there enough recruitment companies out there? Surely the world doesn’t need any more of you, you can’t be serious?!

When in the process of setting up Maxwell Bond, a lot of friends and family members asked me this. Recruitment is so competitive in today’s world, every “man and his dog” knows someone who’s worked in recruitment. What’s more, there are so many terrible stories out there of businesses that will do practically anything for a win to get some money on the books!

Well, it’s simple really. Since I’ve started recruitment, my focus has always been on the people. Regardless of the places I’ve worked, I’ve always focused on doing the right thing and helping people – whether it’s clients, candidates or team members. I find if you keep it simple and do the right things consistently, you’ll get a positive result most of the time. There’s a fantastic book called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, who talks about keeping things simple through the Hedgehog principle – it’s definitely worth a read if you believe in doing things the “right” way in business.

Maxwell Bond has been created to focus on people and make sure they matter. There’s no fancy smoozing pitch with Maxwell Bond, no over promises, no confusing spiel. You could say we’re like Ronseal – we’ll do exactly what it says on the tin. No money spent one excessively fancy marketing campaigns, just word of mouth building our reputation by delivering a great service. The great thing is, the numerous private & public posts Maxwell Bond has received since launching from all the people I’ve worked with over the last 6 years has confirmed this to be the case. They all seem to echo the same thing – that my network believe I have a strong reputation for delivering great service whether that’s through placements, market information, consultative advice or just general help when they need it. I’m carrying this forward into my business and have made it my mission to make sure my brand lives, sleeps and breathes this message.

How’ve you found it? What’s the plan now?

The first few days have been a combination of emotions, but I thought it’s be fun to relay them Mancunian style. From the “proper good”/“mint”/”buzzing”/“absolute blinder” of winning your first new clients and getting your first candidate interviews, to the challenging “ard as nails” IR35 issues to read and understand! There’s also the “knackered”/”cream- crackered” from juggling too many things (new business, all the in-betweens, child, wife etc) and of course my trademark “mint that!!” when hearing good things from people!

 Now things are starting to settle a lot more and I’m building momentum, I can refocus on the goals and plans I set in place when I originally started. The plan is to grow quickly by the end of 2017 and really establish a base in the North West by continuing to build a great reputation for delivering great IT & Digital Recruitment. This will involve investing and developing in my soon to be (well hopefully) staff. I’m also keen to give back to the community through raising funds & awareness. I always find a quote really ties this off – Richard Branson of course puts it best;

“If you aren’t making a difference in other people’s lives, you shouldn’t be in business – it’s that simple!”

Are you hiring? 

Yes, I’m hiring already! I’ve been fortunate enough to win some new clients pretty quickly and I’m looking for a number of roles within the North West across digital & IT. Jump on the website to see what’s available or drop me a quick, confidential email and I’ll be happy to help.

Additionally I’m hiring for Maxwell Bond too. I’ve managed to secure extra funding and I’m starting the search for my first member of staff! If you’re a problem solver, have a good sense of humour, don’t mind working with someone from Oldham or Manchester (depending on who I speak to) and are looking to join a business on a mission of miracles, please get in touch!