Chance phone call is a life changer for Matt

matt-gillibrandIt took only one phone call to help Matt Gillibrand land his dream job. In late 2015 the Mancunian was looking to move from the North West of England to the North East to be with his girlfriend, so he began sounding out Wear Valley Recruitment to help him tie down a job.

Matt visited the Bishop Auckland-based firm to discuss his options – and it transpired that his sales experience, people skills and all-round business acumen made him the perfect fit for a role at the company, launched in 2014 by experienced recruitment professional David Payne.

A few months on, Matt is revelling in a job that allows him to match permanent vacancies with suitably qualified job-hunters seeking their next big challenge. Never one to stand still, he was determined to improve his own skills and those within the company so he got involved in Newcastle University Business School’s Captured programme.

The scheme enabled him to team up with Polly Lerner, an experienced HR professional at pharmaceutical giant GSK who helped him bring more structure to the business, firm up processes and improve monitoring and reporting systems.

Matt explained: “We soon discovered that we needed to define our goals and become much more analytical. Previously we said to ourselves that we were doing well but didn’t really know how or why we were doing well. We had nothing to benchmark it on. Polly helped us to quantify the company’s performance in terms of client numbers, number of people we managed to place in jobs etc. It has given us some data to fall back on.

“Polly also encouraged us to look at ways of scaling up the business and bringing on board big players in the market. Previously perhaps we were thinking too short-term but she has taught us that it’s important to step back from the business and plan well for the future.”

Matt believes that Captured can benefit other small firms and help enthusiastic entrepreneurs keep their feet on the ground.

“I’d recommend it to people who’ve gone into business to do the thing they love,” he said. “Sometimes when you’re so passionate about your venture, that emotion can get the better of you. Captured can teach people the need to analyse, reflect and think objectively about their business.”

For further information on Wear Valley Recruitment, call 01388 664354 or visit