Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

My Strategy Was to Be in Charge of My Own Destiny; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Mike Hughes Meets Andrew Mackay - MD of Coleman James, Winner of the Small Business Award in the Northumberland and Tyneside Regional Heat

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

My Strategy Was to Be in Charge of My Own Destiny; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Mike Hughes Meets Andrew Mackay - MD of Coleman James, Winner of the Small Business Award in the Northumberland and Tyneside Regional Heat

Article excerpt

YOU get a good feeling about Coleman James as soon as you park up outside their offices.

Hoults Yard does it differently, breaking the mould and offering a new way to present your business - which is why MD Andrew Mackay fits right in.

Frustrated by the limitations of being part of large and densely structured companies, he made his move only three years ago at the age of 32 and set up his own recruitment company, focussing exclusively on clients in the construction and built environment sectors.

He had passionate views about how a company should be run and was determined to set them out clearly and assemble his own team to represent him out in the market.

It may seem like a strange observation, but recruitment companies are often very bad at recruiting, but this was different - a lesson in how to do it that soon impressed clients who wanted to be part of this new wave company embedding integrity, sector knowledge and strong long-term relationships in everything they do.

Behind him on the wall as we sit in the Coleman James boardroom are three small artworks that speak volumes about Andrew and his principles.

Two are photographs of painstakingly constructed scenes - tiny model people toiling over life-sized everyday items like a padlock the size of a car - and underneath is the explanation, that this company looks after the small firms as well as the huge corporates.

They mean a lot to Andrew, not only because of their meaning, but because they were made by his dad Brian, who Journal readers might remember from clubs like the Quay Club and restaurants like The Italian Job (now Brewdog) and the Surtees Hotel.

But dad also studied Fine Art at Newcastle University and put his talents to good use with the artwork when his son first set up the business.

The other indicator of where Andrew's heart really lies is the signed image of Sir Bobby Robson - in many eyes the unsurpassable ideal of a manager in any sector and someone who personified the word 'respect'. With his ethics and drive for success, the two men would have got on well.

"My own management stratgey was to be in charge of my own destiny because I was singing a tune that I wasn't bought into any more, one more related to a plc world which was very KPI-driven and reliant on a big client database and a brand that wasn't as strong as the companies thought they were," says Andrew.

"There was also a growing strategy of hiring younger individuals at the cheaper end of the scale, give them just enough training and then let them loose. I thought that was a damaging approach and didn't leave any room for the values that I knew had to be central to what I did.

"There was a different way of doing things in a market gap that needed a partner-led approach, so I set up Coleman James in June 2016 and it has genuinely been just as I thought it would be, with a fantastic team of 11 we have assembled here, each bringing with them some great relationships and nearly 100 years of recruitment experience between us."

Sticking to his principles by recruiting the sort of people he had always wanted to work with means that the company is already a brand and even after only three years companies across the North know what he stands for and what he can deliver.

For Andrew that comes back to that partnership model, meaning that a new relationship is planned as a long-term collaboration from the beginning with recruitment strategies perfectly aligned to each client as they grow and change their scale and goals.

His own team have embraced psychometric testing as one way of making sure they are at the very top of their own game and aren't afraid to challenge and push themselves, working together and pooling their particular talents to get the most ROI for their clients based on Coleman James' core values. …

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