Cath Hazlewood – A Sydney success story
Many people start a recruitment career after a stint at something else first; it’s not a career that people are always made aware of whilst in education. But, if you have the right personality and mix of skills, it can provide challenges, opportunities - and fantastic rewards.
We’re used to seeking out people who haven't necessarily got recruitment on their radar. After almost 30 years in business, we recognise the attributes and qualities needed to enjoy a career in our industry, and do well. Once they are on board, we have the track record and experience to turn them into highly successful consultants.
Cath Hazlewood is a great example of someone who fell into recruitment without really knowing much about it, but has found her true calling.
Cath’s route to recruitment
Originally from Essex in the UK, Cath studied sports and physical education with a view to pursuing a career as a teacher. She studied for four years, and landed a job at an inner city London school – then discovered that she loved sport but wasn’t that keen on children! After a couple of years working as a personal trainer, many of her friends had come back from round the world trips, raving about Sydney and the lifestyle available in Australia.
Cath winning the league with her Football team in 2014
Cath decided to give it a go, and moved to Sydney in 2006. She did a number of different jobs – from lettuce picking to call-centre work – before someone suggested she try recruitment. She interviewed at a Sydney-based small IT recruitment agency with very little knowledge of IT, and practically no idea of what would be involved in the job. After landing the role, and with her Australian visa sponsorship riding on hitting her targets for the first 3 months, she threw herself into it.
‘I was just thrown in the deep end, without any training, and I found the first two weeks horrible. But I’m really competitive by nature, and I worked my backside off to quickly get to grips with the job and the IT market, and smashed my targets’
After a few months and some positive results, Cath’s confidence continued to grow, and within 18 months, she’d become one of the highest performing Resourcers within the company. She wanted to move into a client facing consulting role, but with nothing forthcoming, she decided to move on.
She then joined Apex Resource Solutions – an IT specialist recruitment consultancy - as a consultant. Once again, Cath set her sights on becoming the top performer, and worked hard to develop her candidate network and build relationships with her clients.
The Michael Bailey Associates Group took over Apex in 2012, and underwent a period of transition. Cath immediately noticed a positive change:-
‘We now had the backing of a global group, and with that came a centralised administration centre. Rather than having to spend time on admin, this was now handled centrally, leaving my colleagues and I more time to focus on our candidate and client networks’
Cath receives her Australian Citizenship
After the initial upheaval of the transition, Cath remained at our Sydney office, run by Sales Director Phil. Under his careful management, the team has become a close knit group, supporting each other and sharing successes.
‘As we work in verticals, it’s like having our own mini businesses within the company. Phil is great, gives us the freedom to develop our own areas. I take complete ownership and responsibility for my clients and candidates, and if I need any help or advice, he’s always there for support. If you do well and work hard, Phil will trust and empower you to manage your own area.’
Recruitment is generally a very KPI driven business. Some companies set strict quotas for every aspect of the role. At Michael Bailey, although Cath has targets, they are outcome driven, with minimum KPIs.
‘KPIs have their place, but in many companies, they are internally focussed, and not tied to real outcomes for clients. If I know I can save a client time and money by sending two killer resumes, then that’s what I’ll do, whereas other organisations might require a minimum of four. I don’t have to worry about hitting a KPI just to tick a box internally’
Team spirit is strong in Sydney! Recruitment is often referred to by recruiters as ‘champagne and razor blades’ because it can be full of highs and lows. Cath has learnt how to deal with the knock backs, and having a strong team behind her has helped.
‘We’ll chivvy each other up and support each other. It’s a collaboration; we’ll share advice and ideas on how to tackle a particular issue. There’s lots of banter in the office, and some great team bonding events, all of which have helped create some firm friendships; we’re not just colleagues, we’re mates’
Cath lost a bet and had to buy the whole MBA team bacon sarnies
So, what keeps Cath at Michael Bailey Associates, and what motivates her?
‘I set myself personal goals and targets; I’m really competitive, and there is always another record to beat. I like what I’m doing, I don’t want to go into management, but I want to achieve more every year. I still get a sense of achievement out of it, a buzz when I place candidates, and because pay is partly based on commission, the better I do, the more I earn too. I want to stay at the top, continuing to help people, building my network, managing my accounts and winning more business.’
To find out more about a career with us, contact our internal recruitment team.
Cath enjoying one of her Friday's off for over achieving her targets