Consultant In The Spotlight – Neil Tilley, Structural Engineering

Market Insights

Consultant In The Spotlight – Neil Tilley, Structural Engineering

Find out what it’s like working in our structural engineering recruitment team and more about the role of a recruitment consultant here. In this post Structural Engineering Consultant, Neil Tilley, shares his insights including advice for candidates, employers and recruiters.

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This month’s consultant in the spotlight is Neil Tilley, Structural Engineering Consultant. Neil joined Energi People a year ago and has become a valued member of our structural engineering desk. Below I asked Neil about his role and what it’s like working at Energi People, as well as his advice for candidates and clients in the structural engineering sector.

Jemma Kittle: What do you do at Energi People? Tell me a bit about your role

Neil Tilley: “As a consultant it is my job to find candidates, find them jobs and hopefully match great candidates with great jobs. I also spend time working with clients, building the relationship between them and Energi People. That involves getting out there, meeting people so that we’re not just voices at the end of the phone. I want to be a person that they [clients] can relate to and that they can talk to, and so meeting people and keeping that relationship going is really important. It’s also something I really like about being a consultant.

“I work in structures – structural engineering – so I’m working with the people who do the calculations and the designs of everyday buildings that we all use day-in-day-out. The people I recruit are the people who will make sure they stand up!”

JK: Before joining Energi People where did you work?

NT: “I worked at Easy Jet for five years as cabin crew. I originally thought I wanted to do something arty and started an architectural degree but realised I was having much more fun socialising than working. So I left and looked around for something else and thought – as a straight single guy – that cabin crew would be fun! After Easy Jet I did a short stint at another recruitment agency before moving to Energi People.”

JK: What do you most like about working at Energi People?

NT: “I think what I like most is the environment and the feeling within the office. There’s a real sense of everyone working together and giving each other a helping hand. There’s a great feeling of teamwork and collaboration on our desk; working together to achieve the best for our desk and the business is thoroughly rewarding. That’s what keeps me coming back everyday. It’s like working with your friends.

JK: Since joining Energi People what have your learned, how have you progressed your career?

NT: “Resilience and the ability to share. Chris Brewser and I work side-by-side together. We both have two sets of different clients but might share the same candidates. That means that I’ve got to be happy if he places a candidate with one of his clients, and he’s got to be happy if I do, because ultimately that means the desk is doing well. It’s not just about me calling the shots and making sure I hit my personal target; it’s also about working collaboratively. Therefore if I’m talking to a candidate who’s better suited to one of Chris’ clients I would sell that client into the candidate, because that’s the best thing for our desk overall.”

JK: What are the key challenges companies face when recruiting candidates in your area of expertise?

NT: “Finding the right talent is the biggest challenge for the companies we recruit for. The problem is that there are not enough people who graduated 5-6 years ago from an engineering degree who are now looking to move on. They’ve either got into a really good company and have progressed, or they’ve decided after 1-2 years that it’s not for them. So there’s a big skills shortage at that level.

“On the other hand there are too many grads for graduate roles. So we’re finding that graduates that graduated last summer still haven’t got a job, not because they’re not good enough, there’s just too many of them. It’s a saturated market.”

JK: What is the biggest challenge candidates face when looking for a new role? 

NT: “It’s probably defining what they want from their job and the place they work at. There are many differences between the consultancies we work with – from very small, boutique type firms, all the way through to the big boys that are running multi £100 million developments. Often candidates don’t know whether they want to start somewhere small and really get to grips with a project, get experience and take that further in their career; or if they want to start with a big boy and be a number, but have that name on their CV.

“Trying to work out what they want is a challenge for us, it makes it difficult to guide them to the right opportunities with different clients.”

JK: Has (and how) recruitment changed since you became a recruitment consultant?

NT: “Compared to my previous role, yes. Energi People has opened my eyes to a different side of recruitment. This is much more an environment where we’re focussed on helping people with their career goals, rather than just making money.” 

JK: What advice would you give someone thinking about becoming a recruitment consultant?

NT: “Do your research. Not every recruitment agency is the same, so maybe don’t go into the specialism that you think you should. I originally worked at an aviation recruitment agency because that was my background, I didn’t know very much about structural engineering. However the culture at Energi People is what makes the difference, it’s enabled me to transition from one industry to another and work in a great environment.

Go to as many interviews as you can, as you can only really understand the way an agency works by speaking to them.”

JK: What do you get out of being a recruitment consultant?

NT: “Money! There’s no denying it that, being in a sales or recruitment environment, that money is a motivating factor. But as I mentioned before, the satisfaction of putting someone in a job which you know will help them progress their career is great. Having that long lasting relationship where a candidate calls to let you know that they’re happy and grateful is also a buzz.”

JK: What are your plans for the future? What are your goals?

NT: “On a personal level I proposed to my girlfriend of 7 years in April and so I’m very much looking forward to our future life together as Mr and Mrs Tilley. Professionally I’m very committed to hitting senior consultant. Energi People have set up very clear progression based on achievable targets, so I should hit senior consultant this year.”

JK: How do you take your tea / coffee?

NT: “In the morning I’m a coffee person (white, no sugar) but when I get to work I like a sugary tea to pick me up around the 10 o’clock mark. Right now I’ve got a latte with a bit of flavour in it, I like a girly vanilla latte.“

JK: Are you a dunker and if so what’s the best biscuit to dunk?

NT: “You need something with a bit of structure to it, so although they’re not my favourite a Hobnob holds up well. They’re better than a digestive because with those you find half of them in your drink at the end. A ginger nut cream is my all time favourite biscuit, but not to dunk.” 

JK: What has been the highlight of your time at Energi People so far?

NT: “Definitely January. I had a really good month and got a couple of big placements and a medium sized one. That meant I hit my quarterly target in one month and that gave me a nice bit of commission. It was certainly a good way to start the year.”

JK: What do you like to do outside of work?

NT: “I used to play rugby as a flanker, but since the babies have come along I’m much more of a family man now. I like spending time with the kids at the weekend, as I don’t really get to see them as much during the week, going out with the family to eat etc.. Hopefully I’ll get back into rugby as the kids get a bit older.

JK: Who’s your office superstar? Who in the office makes a difference to your day / job? 

NT: “I couldn’t pick out one person, the desk itself is such a great hub and thriving place. We all bounce off each other and all bring different qualities to the table, and we all genuinely spur each other on to try to achieve more and do better. Jamie is a great lead, he’s got a really nice style about him, he brings the best out of us. But Jason and Chris also add really valuable input. So I can’t single out one person – the desk as a whole is the superstar.”

I hope you found this little insight into Neil’s role at Energi People interesting. If you are looking for a role as a Structural Engineer, Structural Associate, Structural Technician, Revit Technician or Structural Design Engineer he’s the person to speak to!

Energi People are also expanding, so if you would like to join our growing team please get in touch. In the first instance send your CV with a covering letter / email to me to this address – [email protected]

You can also find details of our current openings on the Energi People Hunted page here.