Spotlight On: Amanda Wildman - Director, FSRL
1. Tell us about your first job...
I have worked in recruitment and talent management for over 25 years now. I completed my A Levels and went to the Oxford & County Secretarial College for a year. This was a great experience and I learnt how to type – I wanted to learn a skill at the time that would be beneficial and that would get me into a high profile organisation without a degree. At that time it was much easier to develop a career from this place. So my first job was at Baring International in their HR division. I joined them as an HR Assistant – I spent most of my time filing and typing! I soon learned after a year in this role that I wanted more and was interviewed by a small recruitment company who asked if I would be interested in joining them.
2. Why did the recruitment industry attract you initially?
Once I was approached to join the recruitment company in the City I was attracted to the opportunity of learning and building a business. The recruitment industry in a business that allows you to be very proactive and have control over your own success – I have always been driven by organisations and roles that allow autonomy and the freedom to deliver exceptional service. I loved the fact that being a recruitment consultant allowed me to be curious about people and businesses and I soon realised that matching the right talent to the right organisation would enable both to be successful. I still get very excited today about meeting new candidates and clients, and I truly see the role as a consultant in recruitment in being able to offer value to both. I learnt in my first role that if I worked in the best interests of both a candidate and client then I would be successful. I think this is what attracted me to the recruitment industry initially. I was also attracted by the fact that I could have a career in what I believe is a very diverse and exciting industry.
3. Has the industry changed since your first role? If so, how?
Yes the industry has changed but only to the extent that technology allows greater access and exposure to a wider candidate base. It has become more sophisticated and this technology has allowed organisation to invest and build their own talent pools. This has meant that it is even more important for the recruitment industry to really add value in the work that they do. Smart recruitment companies really do see this and they work hard at developing relationships with both candidates and clients over a long period of time. I would only work for a recruitment company that put this at the forefront of their business strategy. Being able to provide career guidance and become a true career ally to candidates is absolute critical in today’s market. Being able to continually demonstrate how you can add value to a client is also very important. The ability to assess the suitability to a candidate and therefore why they are a great match for a client both in the short term and longer term is where a recruitment business can offer exceptional value.
4. What is it like working alongside your former colleague, Claire, again?
I joined Four Seasons Recruitment for three reasons:
1. To work with my former colleague Claire Ashley – we previously worked together at Crone Corkill and Michael Page and after 11 years it was exciting to be given the opportunity to work alongside each other again. Claire’s values and beliefs are very aligned to mine and we both believe that whilst the industry has changed over the years successful consultants still have an appetite to provide exceptional service to both the candidate and client. We also believe that activity and hard work will ultimately make you successful and that the recruitment industry is an area where you can really make a difference to people’s lives and the success of a business.
2. I also wanted to join as I know that they have a strong brand and are experts in their field.
3. I was attracted by the culture and the flexibility and freedom that were offered by Malcolm Costello (the owner) and Claire (my former colleague and MD of the business). I wanted to combine my role as Director for FSRL with my own business as Director for Emotionally-i-Fit. Emotionally-i-Fit focuses on developing individuals and leaders whilst my role at FSRL focuses on ensuring that we get the right people in the right place at the right time for our clients. What better combination could there be?
5. What do you enjoy most about your job?
The variety and the opportunity to continue to build a great business by ensuring that we have the right strategy and team in place and that this team is providing exceptional service to our candidates, clients and each other. I strongly believe that great businesses have great people and I see it as my role to ensure that everyone at FSRL maximises their potential and performs at their best. The variety that comes from really being able to make a difference is what I enjoy the most about my job.
6. What are you looking forward to most at Four Seasons Recruitment?
Growing what is already a successful business and ensuring that everyone in the business is motivated to provide exceptional service to both candidates and clients.
7. You have two daughters; do you think they’ll follow in your footsteps?
I have two daughters who are 14 and 16. At the moment they would probably say NO WAY but I secretly believe that one of them will. My eldest daughter is passionate about music and is very focused about getting into the music industry – she is already spotting talent within this sector. My youngest daughter would like to medicine or psychology – so we shall see. I hope that I am role modelling the fact that you can be a woman in leadership and manage both a career and being a mother. I believe that you need to have a passion for what you do – I really am passionate about people and business – I have always been curious and interested in people and behaviour – it is a fascination of mine. As long as they follow their passion (and earn a living) then they will be following in my footsteps.
8. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be authentic, don’t aim for perfectionism – it doesn’t exist and will make you very unhappy, take risks, do your best and learn from your mistakes. Trust your feelings – they provide you with more information than anything else. Have fun – life is short and don’t take yourself too seriously.
9. What would you still like to achieve in your career?
Short term I would like FSRL to grow and continue to be the go-to recruitment consultancy in luxury retail. Longer term I want to grow my business alongside this and help more individuals and organisations be more emotionally intelligent.