Rob is joined by James Reed, CEO of Reed, Britain’s biggest recruitment brand and worth over a billion pounds today. James describes how he started out in business, how Reed started and how it grew into the business and brand that it is today. If you’re looking to gain insights and advice from one of the most influential entrepreneurs and business owners, don’t miss out on this in-depth interview today. Tune in to discover how to start, grow and scale your business, how to strategically plan your business decisions, why mastering negotiation is essentials to success and why having the right mindset will help you succeed in business with the chairman of the world’s largest family-owned recruitment company, James Reed.
Take us through your journey?
I suppose I am curious about learning and I am interested in entrepreneurship. My first job was in a cemetery to earn money before I went to college, it was hard work, it was in winter and I had to level graves. It was pretty educational because it made me realise I didn’t want to do hard physical work, all my life. I then started working for Anita Roddick, she is the founder of The Body Shop with her husband Gordon, and I was really impressed by her ethos and sense of purpose because it was all about fair trade and not testing on animals, she had a really strong message and brand and I wanted to learn from her.
Do you think writing letters to people is more successful than email?
Yes, I do, when you email someone you are piling up their inbox but when you write to somebody it is very rare and it stands out more. It is a good way of preempting a job application and that’s what I did with Anita Roddick, I saw that she was having some problems, I wrote to her directly and I became caudate of one rather than a candidate of 100. Any way we can differentiate ourselves, and come across as somebody with personality and character is much stronger.
How old were you when you attended Harvard?
I was 25, it was really tough. You started your study group at 7:20 in the morning and you worked really hard, and you learned a lot. I then came back and got a job at the BBC in production, I loved that I was a trainee producer for a little bit.
You have both higher education and experience working in your family business, which one taught you the most?
What is interesting is when I went to Harvard, my Dad actually applied and came over too. He did a course for entrepreneurs. I was the first member of our family to go to university, and even though my father left school at 16 with not any O levels, he was really big on education and he learned at night school to be an accountant. The difference is when you study at a university you consider a lot of ideas and see a lot of other people’s experiences, but you’re not actually doing it yourself. It is all very well having a theory but tries and it in practice, and I have learned that since. Try and take people with you, create a moon purpose, build energy around whatever you’re doing, that is really human and that is what I learned from my father.
You have been very partly responsible for the growth of your family business, can you tell us how you grew Reed?
I think it is always important to be growing, our strategy is very simple. It is to grow organically, we haven’t grown it by acquisition. There are only two ways you can grow organically, one is through exceptional service and the other is through innovation and new ideas. If you can deliver a good service to people that they appreciate, they will come back and they will also recommend you to other people, we take that very seriously. Innovation is also a big part of our DNA. We are always looking for new ideas and we are always skint people for their ideas.
What justifies recruitment agency fees?
You can negotiate your price, but I always say, if a recruitment agent is charging your company a very low fee, where are they going to send their best candidates? There is a huge behind the scenes cost of running a recruitment agency. We spend 20 million pounds on advertising, millions on IT, we have over 3500 staff. So there’s a lot of time and investment put into that. All the best and biggest recruiters in the UK use our website. If you’re paying a big fee you should expect a really good service and a really strong shortlist and ultimately a really good hire. If you have a good recruiter alongside you who know what you’re looking for, that’s a really important relationship.
How do you probe to get the mindset of somebody and look beyond the CV?
Characters are everything in the end. You have to embark on a conversation where you can find out as much as you can. The thing that people most care about is integrity, but if you ask a bunch of school kids “what are you looking for you when you go for a job interview?” They never come up with that. There’s a really mean question in my interview book which is “where does your boss think you are right now?” So unless you have taken the time off, if your boss thinks you are with a client or working from home, that’s an issue.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Be nice to people and to try and have an idea every day.
What is the worst advice you have ever received?
To not do things that I have ignored and always turned out quite well. Or when people have told me “Be more careful” or “It won’t succeed” often they’re right but the comfort of a pessimist is being proven correct, but there is nothing better than proving them wrong.
What does the word disruptive mean to you?
I am not sure it is positive! It has become more ambivalent to me if disruption is good or bad? I think we have entrepreneurs have a duty to think about that, and maybe come up with some new ideas to address that. I love change, I love the challenge of improvement.
“Getting the right people into your organisation is game-changing”
“Some ideas have succeeded, and some have failed, but the combination of the two has led us to where we are today”
“The difference between hiring someone who is fantastic and hiring one who is a disaster can make or break a business”
ABOUT THE GUEST:
James Reed is the Chairman of REED – Britain’s biggest and best-known recruitment brand and the largest family-owned recruitment company in the world. James first joined the company in 1992 after graduating from Harvard Business School. Since then REED has become a billion-pound business and reed.co.uk – the first of its kind, established in 1995 – is the UK’s number one recruitment site. James is a regular media commentator, with TV appearances including BBC News, Sky News, BBC Radio 2 and The Apprentice. He has contributed insight to a wide range of publications including the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review and the Sunday Times. James is also a best-selling author of three books.
[Business, mindset, entrepreneur, disruptors]
ABOUT THE HOST
Rob Moore is an author of 9 business books, 5 UK bestsellers, holds 3 world records for public speaking, entrepreneur, property investor, and property educator. Author of the global bestseller “Life Leverage” Host of UK’s No.1 business podcast “Disruptors”
“If you don't risk anything, you risk everything”
Rob’s official website: https://robmoore.com/
LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/robmoore1979disruptive, disruptors, entreprenuer, business, social media, marketing, money, growth, scale, scale up, risk, property: http://www.robmoore.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.