Recruiter in the Spotlight: Graham Simonds

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Energi People Insights | Engineering News

Posted 16.08.22


An introduction

Lauren: Hi Graham! How are you today?

Graham: Yes, yes, not too bad thank you.

Lauren: Good! So, I thought I would start off this Q&A by asking about your role here at Energi People.
Graham: Well I am an Associate Director for recruitment here, which basically means my remit is very much taking the lead role on the Building Services team. We are heavily involved in the consultancy Building Services recruitment side. So, it is very much Design Engineers – Graduate up to CEO level all over the UK. We split the department so I deal with permanent, but apart from that, we have free remit right across the UK and Ireland, which are basically the areas we cover.

How do the applications you receive differ?

Lauren: That’s great. So you mentioned you recruit Graduate level up to more senior roles – how do these roles differ? Do you notice a difference in the nature of the applications, such as the use of technical jargon?

Graham: Well, if we are looking at CEO, so top level, there are very few people around. It really is a headhunting situation, where you are trying to identify particular people for a role. If you are coming down the frame so to speak, there are generally more people of the lower levels, such as graduates, where there are the most number of candidates. So, basically, you are trying to find a slot where people would fit in comfortably. Generally, the area is more important the more senior you get. If you are looking at Graduate Engineers, a lot of them are still in student accommodation, or might still be living at home and so the area is ultimately less important as they are happy to relocate – perhaps into the big city. However, when you get further up the chain to more senior/associate, people are generally fixed in terms of where they are based. They have families and mortgages so you are looking at a catchment area where they can reach, which does limit the number of people you can actually speak to about the role. It is about finding the right slot for them within a commutable distance.

Current Hot Jobs at Energi People

Lauren: Thank you, Graham. Are there any roles in particular that you would like to discuss?

Graham: Well, I think at the moment there is a strong demand all over the place really. I am particularly concentrating on the Midlands and Manchester at the moment. I have a huge need for Electrical Design Engineers in Birmingham. We have got three clients there, all of whom are very keen to get people on board. We are looking at intermediate to senior level and require people with good project design experience. It could be design and build, or consultancy, but it needs to be somebody within the Birmingham catchment area. We have got hybrid options with these companies, but we are looking at people having to get into the office for at least 2-3 days a week. They are going to have to be within that area.

In Manchester, I am looking for Mechanical and Electrical people who are intermediate to senior level with a consultancy and design background, which would be highly useful.

How would you describe the market at the moment?

Graham: The market is incredibly busy at the moment. We have quite a staff shortage in the industry at the moment. There is a strong demand, where everyone is looking for the same thing. We are in a situation which is probably as hard as I have seen it in years. The last time it was like this was just before the crash of 2007-2008. The problem we have got this time round is that a lot of European Engineers have gone home. Whether that be a culmination of the pandemic or Brexit, or both, it has limited the number of European Engineers that are over here. So, we have less of a pool to dig into. We are using some of the people coming over from Hong Kong, but I think it is a much smaller pot than the European side. What we are trying to encourage all companies to do is bring people up through the ranks and train them up, to try and get people to a higher level. It is very much a situation which is candidate-led at the moment.

What are your energising strengths as a Recruiter?

Graham: Well, I am very much a firm believer in getting as much out of the door as possible. I think it is hugely important to get CVs out in front of clients. I have always been of the mantra that if you don’t send a CV out, you are absolutely not going to get an interview from them. So, it is pretty much judging the CVs, finding the ones that are usable in any way and working them all to the max. That has always been my mantra – to make sure that all CVs are worked completely, to ensure that we have the maximum chance of getting them an interview and placing them.

Lauren: Well, you evidently have strong communication skills. It seems that this is a top priority for you.

Graham: It has to be. It is all about communicating with people. Clients are all over us at the moment. It is really just keeping the relationships with them and trying to serve them as much as possible. We don’t want to be in a situation where we are leaving clients cold with no CVs at all. So it is really about working every job to the nth degree and maximising the number of people we can get out there.

Lauren: Thank you very much, Graham.

Graham: No problem!

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