Running to the top of the recruitment game
Philip Clarke is the manager of recruitment consultancy firm Brightwater NI and is based in Belfast. He is this week's Irish News High Flyer.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?
I stacked shelves in the local Spar. I earned £3.52 an hour and did 8 hours every Saturday.
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
I have a first-class Bsc honours degree in sport and exercise science from the University of Ulster. I also have a coaching certificate in soccer, am a qualified fitness instructor, possess a rugby refereeing badge and a first aid at work certificate – none of which I use in any way whatsoever.
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS?
A huge chunk of it comes down to being hugely competitive and having a lot of internal drive to succeed at whatever I throw myself into. I was brought up to always push myself to attain the best I could achieve and that has lived with me ever since.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF TO SOMEONE WHO HAD NEVER MET YOU?
Very objective, very focused and possibly a bit too forward for some people’s tastes – an occupational hazard. Hopefully also very honest, genuine and approachable.
TO WHOM DO YOU LOOK UP IN BUSINESS?
Nicola Hallworth is a huge role model for me. She is a regional director in a company I had previously worked for in England and has achieved huge success, whilst juggling family life and driving high-performing teams that love her to bits even though she is one of the most direct and straight-talking people I’ve met in business.
She was the first person I ever sat under in a training session and remains a huge role model for me even now.
HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF PEOPLE THAT WORK FOR YOU?
I’ve consistently found that one of the most important things you can do to get a team firing is get the culture right. When you create a team that functions as a tight unit, is bought into what they do and like their working environment, results follow.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT DOING BUSINESS IN NORTHERN IRELAND, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
On the whole, we have a culture here that favours business because we are naturally a friendly bunch (on the whole). I think sometimes though we do have a slight inclination to resist change in many areas that can also slow us down. In my scenario, the recruitment market has changed completely here from even nine months ago
and it can be a struggle to help our clients adjust their thinking when you go to the market to make a hire.
WHAT’S THE MOST REWARDING ASPECT OF YOUR JOB?
Enjoying the success of my team and being able to recognise and reward that. For me, there is nothing better than working with someone to overcome a performance issue and seeing them out the other side, overachieving on their targets and full of confidence again.
TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOURSELF
I ended up in recruitment by complete fluke. I was selling gym memberships when the regional manager from the local office of a recruitment firm enquired about joining and I ended up handling the enquiry. One thing led to another and I ended up with a new job. For anyone wondering, he did also join that gym.
WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST PASSION OUTSIDE WORK AND FAMILY?
Probably running. I’m a very keen runner (when the body allows it) and would race the 10k distance several times a year. The best time I’ve managed to do it in is 35:37 but I’ve never won a race – so that’s the goal