Spotlight on Chris Brewser, Senior Structural Engineering Consultant
Whether you’re looking for a technical recruiter to help you find your dream role or to source the perfect candidate, or if you want to become a technical recruitment consultant, it helps to get the lowdown from someone who does the job day-in-day-out! In this interview we spoke to our Senior Structural Engineering Consultant, Chris Brewser, about his role and the market for structural engineers.
Read on for Chris’ advice for candidates and clients on structural engineering recruitment, as well as insights into the role of a technical recruitment consultant. You’ll also find out what gives Chris job satisfaction and his recipe for Camembert…
Jemma Kittle: What do you do at Energi People? Tell me a bit about your role
Chris Brewser: “I am a senior consultant working on the Structures desk so I basically assist clients and candidates in the structures arena to find jobs. I work with SMEs through to blue chip clients.”
JK: Before joining Energi People where did you work?
CB: “I worked in general commercial and sales recruitment for just under a year. I moved out of that area because I got a little bit tired of generic recruitment and I felt there wasn’t much desire to progress candidates in those arenas. So I decided I wanted to get into something a lot more niche where there’s a better recruitment cycle with the opportunity to work with candidates as they progress up the career ladder.”
JK: What do you most like about working at Energi People?
CB: “I like gaining market knowledge and having a genuine specialism within a sector. Energi gives us the resources to do that and also we’re surrounded by a team in working in that sector so that keeps everyone’s knowledge up-to-date with what’s going on in the market.
“I also like the people I work with because we’re all quite like-minded so it’s always fun to be around the team.”
JK: Since joining Energi People what have your learned, how have you progressed your career?
CB: “I think it comes down to the sector and becoming a specialist in a particular vertical. When I joined there was a lot to learn and it was quite hard to get my head around a new market. But over time I’ve learned the terminology and how the market works and I’ve had some great business development training that’s helped me become a better recruiter.”
JK: What are the key challenges companies face when recruiting candidates in your area of expertise? What’s your top piece of advice for companies in this position?
CB: “I think it’s a mix of market conditions. Things like Brexit doesn’t help as lots of development is on hold and therefore recruitment also goes on hold so companies can find it hard to balance active-need and strategic recruitment needs. Candidates are also riding the wave and waiting to see what happens before making a career move. That’s a challenge for more senior roles, from middle management to associate and senior directors, it’s hard to find candidates in the current uncertainty.
“Everyone wants the perfect hire, but there are people out there who are great candidates who get overlooked. My advice is that if you’re looking for a strategic hire it’s still worth seeing people and you might be pleasantly surprised.”
“Companies also need to market themselves as an attractive proposition to candidates. Thinking about the people in their early 20s that are coming through, social media is really important. So companies need to make sure they’ve got that social media presence to attract candidates and promote their culture and what’s good about working for your company. Some companies are doing it but many still aren’t and they can miss out on great candidates who get this information from social media.”
JK: What is the biggest challenge candidates face when looking for a new role? What’s your top tip for candidates in the current job market?
CB: “Uncertainty it a problem for candidates too. When there aren’t as many roles there’s not as many options and candidates do need to compromise a bit. There’s competition from other candidates so even if a job doesn’t quite give you 100% of what you’re looking for it could still be a good opportunity: otherwise you could be waiting a long time for the ‘perfect’ role. My advice is to go to interviews with an open mind so you don’t get passed up for opportunities.”
JK: Has (and how) recruitment changed since you became a recruitment consultant?
CB: “The biggest difference is the younger generation who’ve entered the workplace in the last few years. Social media and other digital technology has changed the way we communicate with people, we’re even moving away from emails and sending text messages as that’s the way many younger candidates prefer to communicate.”
JK: What advice would you give someone thinking about becoming a recruitment consultant?
CB: “Research the market and try to understand the different sectors and niches. If you’re interested in something it’s a good idea to follow your passion and specialise in those sectors where you have some understanding.
“Also make sure the recruitment company is the right fit for you, that you’ll get the support you need and be able to progress your career and make some money. Culture is really important so if you can meet someone that works at the company you should get a good idea of what it’ll be like to work there. Do the research so you don’t end up moving better jobs too frequently and have a chance to really focus on your career with the right agency.”
JK: What do you get out of being a recruitment consultant?
CB: “Helping candidates find the right career path or dream job is really rewarding. Whether that’s a graduate or a senior engineer. On the client side, building relationships and partnerships with them is what I like. It’s great when clients have good things to say about you and the company so the satisfaction comes from building these relationships and finding a good fit between candidate and client. It’s also nice when candidates say thank you and recommend you to their associates. Little things like this help to dispel any self-doubt when things are tough.
“I also enjoy working with the Energi team and having a laugh with them, they’re people I genuinely have good friendships with.”
JK: What are your plans for the future? What are your goals?
CB: “I’ve always wanted to go out to Asia again, so I would like to move out there and recruit in that region although it won’t be for a while. For the moment it’s about furthering my knowledge and developing relationships. I really enjoy working with small businesses so I hope to build on that.
“Personally, there are a few things like popping the question to my girlfriend at some point, getting a house, a dog and those kind of things…”
JK: How do you take your tea / coffee and are you a dunker?
CB: “Not a fan of coffee but tea I take with a splash of milk, builder’s tea, no sugar. In terms of dunking, I’ll dunk anything. However, throwing a bit of a curveball, I’m a Oreo and milk dunker – just putting it out there!”
JK: What has been the highlight of your time at Energi People so far?
“Bringing several small business clients into the business and developing relationships as their ‘go to’ recruiter with some of the directors in those business has been a highlight for me. In terms of targets, I was really pleased to hit my target for my quarter last October before going on holiday so I didn’t have that hanging over me while I was off! Promotions are always nice too!”
JK: What do you like to do outside of work?
CB: “I like to hang out with friends, watch movies and TV series, I’m a big foodie too. I always gravitate towards Asian food and I’m really into Camembert!. I serve it with fillet steak and bacon, sliced up so you can dip it in the melted Camembert – it’s a winner.”
Get in touch with Chris if you need support recruiting for structural engineering roles , or connect with him on LinkedIn to be the first to hear about roles he’s recruiting for.
Energi People is a high growth technical recruitment agency and we regularly new opportunities to join our expanding team. If you’re interested in technical recruitment you can also find details of our current openings on the Energi People Hunted page here.