Today marks the 17th anniversary of Recruit 121, still privately owned and 100% focussed on matching high calibre SAP experts for a multinational client base.
Shortly following the drama imposed by the millennium bug, Recruit 121 was born on the 22nd of August 2000, based from a very small office in Cardiff, affectionately known as ‘the yellow submarine’ due to its garish walls.
Our meetings were held in the local pub due to a lack of meeting rooms. We often had to call back there the next day to pick up our meeting notes! However, the dream began: Build a company we are proud to work in, with a caring attitude toward everyone it touches and be able to consistently find the needle in the haystack for its customers.
In our first year, we received 62 SAP vacancies, the first being for a Variant Configuration specialist. We converted 11 of these into successful assignments. Not bad, but when you consider we failed to fill 51, there was significant room for improvement.
Establishing operational processes, developing client relationships, building a credible candidate network whilst turning a profit was very hard, but they were equally matched with the difficulty of establishing our roles within the business, identifying our strengths and learning to work together as an effective team.
17 years on, despite our stronghold being Europe and the Middle East, we regularly trade across all continents, supporting customers in over twenty countries. In the last 12 months, we have received just short of 1100 SAP vacancies, successfully filling 372 of them.
Throughout my time, I have worked through some extremely challenging times, a number of my own making. Taking my eyes off the core business metrics, miscalculating the effect of exchange rates and poorly executing a fundamental organisational change following the recession had a tremendous impact on the business. Separating two international businesses involving the split of a long partnership and all the legalities and fiscal implications took its toll.
Whilst there were tremendous barriers to overcome, I have enjoyed every moment. Maybe not at the time, but for the opportunity that each provides to test your principles, learn new things and working closely with very talented people throughout my entire journey.
Far from taking this anniversary as a time to boast of our achievements I would like to offer a thank you to all who have contributed to this journey. Those current and previous colleagues, vendors, customers and candidates alike. We don’t always get things right, but it’s the ability to constantly keep to a principle of honesty, to go further than expected and create an environment that supports and provides an opportunity for people to develop and grow. Without this, I would not have a strong, growing business that’s managed to thrive despite the challenges. The last few years have seen significant growth and we continue with big plans for the future. If they are anything like the last 17, then I will look back with fondness once again.
Che Hookings -22 August 2017