Our Marketing Manager Katie Button has been with SF Group 12+ years. Katie has always worked within the support function of the business, is very acclimatised to SME practices and wanted to find out more about why we have such strong tenure at SF Group compared to corporate counterparts in the market.

Ellie Smith is an experienced recruiter with over a decade of experience in the finance market, largely within PLC’s.  Along with rather impressive personal billings, Ellie also acts as a Business Development lead, supporting the regional director in the Nottingham office and is currently celebrating her 2 year anniversary with SF Group.

Here’s how Ellie’s interview with Katie panned out;

Why Ellie, after so many years in a secure PLC organisation did you decide to take the leap and join SF?

“I was starting to feel an element of frustration in my previous role as there were so many hurdles to jump and red tape to adhere to in every aspect of my day to day working life. I started to put the feelers out to smaller more boutique style businesses where I could be more autonomous, have more of an impact and make a real difference.”

When you say hurdles, can you elaborate please?

“Sure, I mean there were endless reports to compile daily, an air of political agenda amongst employees, a lot of meetings with no real direction and I felt these points were getting in the way of me doing what I love to do, offer a valuable service to my clients.”

What made you consider SF as a potential employer?

“OK, in complete honesty, I did know of the business and though intrigued I was initially hesitant about talking to SF Group.”

HA, HA Why, what was your  perception?

“Completely KPI driven, no flexibility, a dictorial approach, high attrition. However I met with the Director Dom Syalon and he convinced me this wasn’t the case.”

I trust your fears were alleviated pretty quickly?

“Absolutely, the SF I know and love now, isn’t even close to that view. Yes there are KPI’s but they’re completely achievable, the entire management team is 100% approachable and listen to the employees and the attrition is incredibly low, in fact over 60% of the Nottingham office have over 5 years tenure.”

What were your initial impressions of our business when you started with us back in September ’15?”

“Obviously I was slightly nervous to be in a new environment and I know I came across as a bit guarded as I couldn’t fathom the openness, honesty and vocal atmosphere in the office. The guys at SF have zero agenda, they are really supportive and so friendly. These things are so important to making sure you get out of bed happy in the morning.

From a business perspective, the way the senior managers make informed decisions quickly was a revelation! Everyone is relentless in their quest to deliver exceptional service. You can talk to all areas of the support services, face to face, as and when you need to and this was a huge contrast!  No internal portals and 2 week response times in this business!”

How about culturally, what jumped out at you?

“The biggest thing to note about the culture, not just in Nottingham but across all of the offices is the friendship and support. Personally I‘m very close to my counterparts across all of our core regions, I have the complete authority to work out of any office when needs dictate and we see each-other as one big team, working towards the same goal. Despite many of the employees here having 10+ years service, they still make every effort to get to know you and make sure you feel comfortable in your environment and ready to succeed in your role.”

So Ellie, congrats on your 2 year anniversary with us, what are your thoughts on our business with more time under your belt?

“I feel glad that I can be a trusted advisor to my clients, I have the autonomy and head space to run my desk and spend as much time as I need on client retention and building partnerships, with or without PSL’s in place! I have a high amount of retained business, my fill rates consistently sit at 80% and of course I work on fair margins. A world away from low touch clients on low margins!

I feel like I am adding real value to my mixed portfolio of clients, hugely helped by our team of super-skilled resourcers. We have a resourcer for every 4 consultants and with these guys largely managing the admin duties, I really can focus on what I want and need to, my clients and candidates.”

What advice would you give to our newest consultant recruits?

“You will be amazed at the development and mentoring processes here, make the most of them, you can learn so much. Generally with support from your managers and suitable graft and commitment from you, you should be aiming for c.£10k average within 6 months of managing your desk and the long term opportunities are endless, management, training or even a job in our central function. You will be looked after.”

And on a personal level, how has your own life changed since you took the SME plunge 2 years ago?

“I’m definitely happier, enjoying the day to day, I’m less stressed, and definitely more trusting!  My boss knows if I need some quiet time and happily allows me flexibility and the ability to work from home.  All of this in turn results in higher billings, so I earn more and at the same time I benefit from an excellent base package.”

What do we offer over and above anything you have seen in the marketplace?

“Well in addition to the excellent remuneration, what other business pays for you all to go on holiday together every year, and you get your birthday off too! The remote working is also excellent, it means I can spend more time at home with my adorable cockerpoo sally, it’s all about the worklife balance.”

Any regrets?

No regrets.

If you would like to hear more about being part of our exciting team, then please get in touch for a confidential chat by either emailing esmith@sfgroup.com, calling 07525 809 404 or send Ellie a private message via LinkedIn.