Fresh from a promotion, David Essam, general manager at recruitment firm Frontline, tells us what it takes to climb the career ladder, and reveals what’s next for the fast-growing careers business, which has offices across the East Midlands, Hull and Weymouth.
Can you give me some background on your career so far, please?
Having left South East Derby College in 1999 I joined Ilkeston Coop Travel as a travel advisor.
I had some amazing times in travel and managed to visit places like Israel, Morocco, America, Australia as well as cruises around the Mediterranean as well as meeting my fiancé Lisa.
I spent nearly eight years with the business and progressed from a travel advisor up to branch manager of Wollaton and Beeston.
I made the tough decision to join sofa giants DFS after a head hunt call, again I really enjoyed by time with DFS, a great company with a magnificent training plan however it wasn’t for me.
In 2007, my Frontline career started and I haven’t looked back. People say you either love or hate recruitment, thankfully I love it.
I have now been with Frontline for nine years, starting in Nottingham as a business development executive and progressing to assistant manager and manager.
During my time as manager my team recorded record profits and staffing numbers. I was then given the opportunity to oversee a region within the business and after a recent promotion I now oversee the running of the industrial division; next step director.
To what do you attribute both your personal success and the success of the company?
For me this is simple. Success cannot be achieved on your own, you need to believe in yourself, have a team that you believe in and work as hard as possible even through the tough times.
From a child I was encouraged to learn from my mistakes, people have to make mistakes to learn and develop, I was never left alone but my own life experiences have helped me to develop teams that want to work for me and want to be successful.
It is impossible to retain 100% of your team, keep 100% of your team happy all of the time however I don’t think you will come across many people in my working life who don’t want to work for me.
I see my role in the business as a mixed one. Current and past workers see me as Mr Frontline. I will support, guide, help and manage people in the right way and do not ask my staff to do something that I cannot do – I lead by example.
How has the recruitment industry changed since you joined it?
This is a good question. From a candidate point of view we need to spend a lot more time and resource on recruiting the best people for the jobs we have available – our motto is right people, right time, right value. The excuses from some job seekers really do open your eyes, there are jobs available but unfortunately some seekers do not want them – I could write a book on excuses.
To ensure our clients are looked after and get the best possible staff we have invested heavily in a strong delivery team which I can only see this getting bigger and bigger as we grow.
Social media is growing and growing, as a business we have invested with future investment planned in new internals system which will link into Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
What is the greatest challenge for any HR manager?
My personal challenge and objective is to grow the business and maintain a happy and proven work force. This will only happen by training, investing, developing and maintaining our workforce.
I cannot give everyone everything, however what I and the business will give is total support to progress and give the staff every opportunity to develop in their roles.
Anyone can offer higher wages but I want to ensure everyone with in the business have a clear development plan and have no reason to leave for other opportunities.
Frontline is a growing business with excellent facilities in the branches; pool tables, chill out areas and a great personal benefit scheme. I firmly believe if I and the business invest the same time, care and attention into our staff like Frontline have with me the future is very bright.
How do you see Frontline progressing? What’s next for the company?
The future is exciting. The plan for the next three years is to develop a successful team within all branches to ensure we achieve our growth plans. We have plans to open new branches, continue to increase our workforce, offer our teams the best internal and external training, reward our staff for success, hard work, loyalty (on top of what we currently do) and of course maintain our loyal and healthy client base as well as welcoming new clients to Frontline.