Consultant In The Spotlight – Sarah New
Find out more about our Caribbean and Americas Senior Consultant Sarah New in this interview. Here she talks about her job, working in the construction sector in the Caribbean and what it’s like to be part of the Energi People team.
Have you ever wondered who might pick up the phone when you call Energi People about a finding a job in construction engineering? We thought it would be a nice idea to feature some of our expert recruitment consultants in a new blog series, so you can get to know more about our team.
My first victim consultant is Sarah New, our Senior Consultant for the Caribbean and Americas. If you’re interested in construction opportunities in this part of the world, Sarah’s the person to speak to.
Here’s my interview with her:
Jemma Kittle: What do you do at Energi People?
Sarah New: “I am a senior recruitment consultant for Energi People, I specialise in construction professionals throughout the Caribbean, Latin America and Central America. A typical day in the office would involved spending the morning doing paperwork and speaking to candidates in the UK, and then in the afternoon and evening I’m on the phone to clients and candidates in the Caribbean or Americas – because of the time difference.”
JK: Before joining Energi People where did you work?
“I worked for a construction recruitment agency called ITS Construction, where I headed up their permanent recruitment for white collar roles. I developed that part of the business and then moved on to new challenges at Energi People.“
JK: What do you most like about working at Energi People?
“One of the best things about Energi People is the flexibility. They really appreciate your time, your outside commitments and the importance of getting some work-life balance. For example, I might take extra long lunch breaks or come in later so I can get to the yard where my horse is stabled. Naturally I make up that time at different times of the day!
“Even before Energi People introduced flexi-time at work, the senior leadership team were really happy to offer me the flexibility I needed.”
JK: Since joining Energi People what have your learned, how have you progressed your career?
“I’ve learned a lot since joining Energi, and I’ve also been promoted. One of the key areas has been business development, and I’ve brought a new desk to the business (previously they hadn’t recruited in the Caribbean before). That started when Kier’s Jamaica office contacted their Dubai office to find someone for a role in St Kitts. That’s how I started to recruit for the Caribbean and build up this part of the business.
“I spent a lot of late nights working overtime to build the desk and get where I am today!”/
JK: What are the challenges companies face when recruiting candidates in your area of expertise?
“It’s really about getting round pegs into round holes. It’s about knowing your market and your client, and then finding candidates with a great fit. It’s a bit like dating online – you read the candidate’s profile and ask yourself does that fit with the client’s profile? Then sometimes it’s about selling those candidates to the client, and explaining why they’re a great fit – the skills, value and benefits to the business.”
JK: What is the biggest challenge candidates face when looking for a new role?
“With the roles I recruit for it’s often hard for candidates because they haven’t worked in the Caribbean before. So I spend quite a bit of time explaining what the Caribbean is like to work in, that it’s not a beach holiday.
“I think the Caribbean is one of the hardest countries for construction professionals to work in. Whereas in Dubai, Hong Kong and other countries you’ve got everything you need, in the Caribbean some of the islands may not even have a supermarket. People fly to Miami to go shopping, so it’s very different.
“I need to make sure that when candidates turn up on these islands they know what they’re getting into.”
JK: What advice would you give someone thinking about becoming a recruitment consultant?
“If you think that recruitment is 9 to 5 you need to have a rethink! I would also say that you only get out what you put in. You need to aware of your surroundings and be a strong person – you could be in a room with 20-30 other consultants all on the phone talking loudly, so you need a mentality that you’re the only person in the room so you can focus on what you’re doing.
“You need to be a little bit selfish to focus on your work, and be self-motivated, but you also need to be able to communicate and get on with everyone. In the ‘playground’ you have a chat and a laugh, but when you’re back at your desk you need to think about yourself. If you get caught up in office banter, you’re not going to earn any money or bring any benefits to the business.”
JK: What do you get out of being a recruitment consultant?
“I’m very fortunate because I get to travel to the Caribbean every six months for two weeks at a time. Although some people might think I’m taking a holiday, it’s far from it. I visit about six different locations in two weeks and have over twenty meetings during that time.
“But it’s great because I get to see the world, talk to people from all over the globe every day, which I love.”
JK: What are your plans for the future?
“I would like to see myself in four years time setting up an office overseas, I think there’s more to life than sitting in one place. If you’re in a position to do it, I think you have to take the opportunity with both hands.
“Luckily Energi People – Alex, Nick and James – are really supportive and I know they will help me get to where I want to be. Having someone behind you 100% makes a massive difference.“
JK: How do you take your tea?
“I have my tea with a Yorkshire teabag, got to be strong, with a little bit of milk and no sugar.”
JK: Are you a dunker?
“I’m definitely a dunker, which is really annoying because you lose half the biscuit in the bottom of the mug.”
JK: What has been the highlight of your time at Energi People so far?
“I’ve been given ‘Consultant of the Quarter’ twice in the two years I’ve been with Energi, and I also got given a massive bottle of Moet for business development. Travelling to the Caribbean is another big thing for me.
“I’ve also arranged a charity event for the Hurricane Appeal last year. It was great how much the team in the office pulled together and made it a great success.”
JK: What do you like to do outside of work?
“I have a horse and like to compete. I used to do show jumping but have now quietened down in my old age(?) and like to do dressage. I also like going out to eat once a month somewhere nice, with good vegetarian food: although I’m trying not to go out too much as I’m saving to buy a house.”
JK: Who’s your office superstar?
“My office superstar would have to be James because he’s so understanding and flexible. There have been many times I’ve had to shoot off to the vets with the horse or dog, or sort out the car, and he understands. He respects me and I respect him, he knows that I will make up the time and go above and beyond.
“Marcia, Hannah and Jemma also make a difference to me. We go out on our Costa runs and have a giggle, have a moan, put the world to rights, shake it off in the car park and then come back in to the office ready to crack on with the rest of the day.”
I hope you found this little insight into Sarah’s working life interesting. If you are looking for a construction role in the Caribbean or Americas, she’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 at this address – [email protected]
You can also find details of our current openings on the Energi People Hunted page here.