Q&A with Four Seasons Managing Director, Claire Ashley

•  How did you get into recruitment?

After University I did a secretarial course and started temping for an agency in Cambridge. The agency I worked for used to send me out to lots of different exciting opportunities and I thought that my Consultant’s job seemed the most interesting and varied role I had ever seen.
She was always on the phone to me and was great at matching me to brilliant roles.
When I moved to London I saw an advert in the Evening Standard for Graduate Trainees in Recruitment, applied and was successful!
I started working for a very large High Street agency who were brilliant at training and I learnt so much. My first office was in Hammersmith and now I am back where I started!
From High Street I moved to work for a Boutique Recruitment Consultancy specialising in secretarial recruitment and I stayed there for 9 years. I then moved in to Graduate Recruitment in HR for one of my clients for a couple of years and then moved back in to recruitment consultancy for a large International recruitment firm where again I stayed for another 9 years.
Luckily nearly 5 years ago I found Four Seasons Recruitment and I have been here ever since! 

•  What do you love about the job?

This is the most amazing job because every day is different and every day you learn so much.
It is always fast paced and you have to want to build relationships and want to learn things about clients and candidates and always be asking questions.
I am really nosy and love learning new things.To interview a candidate is a huge privilege as you learn about them and when you go on a client visit you learn about different businesses. 
•  Would you recommend that job seekers consider recruitment a career of choice?

It is definitely a great job for me – it is a sales role as we are selling jobs to candidates, candidates to clients and candidates to each other for different roles.
You have to be driven by targets and achieving as much out of your day as possible – the higher your activity the higher your success – as in the more candidates you meet the more likely you are to find the perfect one for your client.
You have to be glass half full every day and always anticipate an opportunity and you have to want to be successful.
You make your own luck – it never falls in your lap.

• Given your time again, would you do anything differently?

Yes, I would have set up my own business!

•  What are your top 3 tips for being successful in recruitment?

1. Be Commercially Aware – look at what is going on around you – who is opening a new store, who wants to move jobs, read the press and think ahead – will this give me an opportunity?
2. Be Nosy – keep asking questions – want to learn and keep using your network – if you have lots of friends and colleagues then this is the job for you.
3. Get on the Phone – do not hide behind emails – it is not an influencing form of communication.